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> Which Edition Has The Best Build Variety?
Asshimar
post May 28 2021, 11:37 PM
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Hey all, long-time reader, first-time poster here.
Recently I've gotten involved in a few Shadowrun LC's- and then very rapidly gotten uninvolved with them, if you catch my meaning. Super cheesy rulings in favor of mod characters, 1000+ karma differences on runs, Prime characters crashing milk runs, GM favoritism, etc. The usual stuff you get in publicly-listed games, right? But there is one issue I've run into, consistently, that has really stood out to me. 5e's (they're always 5e) chargen is so tight and the "best" options are so blindingly obvious that every single 5e character I run across in these is one of:

-Full Cyberlimb Soak Sammy
-Psych-Addict Self-Buff Übermage
-Perfect Time/I Am The Firewall Decker
-Social Infiltrator With Sleeping Tiger/That One Jumpsuit + Electrochrome
-Burnout Adept with exactly 1.00 point of essence in 'ware

With only minor cosmetic differences between them. So, I arrive at the question: Is there a Shadowrun edition which runs counter to this trend? One where not only are there a variety of niches to specialize in, but a number of ways to become competent in those roles?
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Kagetenshi
post May 29 2021, 06:17 AM
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Having been successful in expunging my memories of SR4 I’m only familiar with SR1-3, and have only been seriously involved in repeated chargen in SR3, but you could do a lot with it. Some examples off the top of my head:

Had someone make a Riggerdeckermageface once. Only the face part was stand-out effective, but the other parts were done acceptably and the player was excellent at identifying and using synergies as they arose.

Riggers had options, but the range of vehicles and drones (together with the design rules) meant that you could probably make half a dozen Riggers with identical charsheets except the vehicle/drone list and have them play entirely differently.

Adepts had melee varieties, ranged varieties, infiltration varieties, utility varieties, and plenty of room for creative options—once had someone make a Troll adept with Missile Mastery to chuck rocks with roughly Assault Cannon Power and plenty of dice to stage, plus Smashing Blow for instant ammo from any nearby hard surface. Turned out Smashing Blow was also great for bypassing… well, a very large chunk of ordinary building layouts.

Mages had options too—made a combat mage once with no combat spells, using Foreboding for area denial, Hot Potato to disarm opposition, and Gecko Crawl to blitz along the ceiling and lay into things with a shotgun-mounted bayonet.

The main role I can’t think of options for is Deckers, but they tended to be easier to build as Decker/Somethings anyway, so you still got to play around with the Something.

~J
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bannockburn
post May 29 2021, 07:55 AM
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I really can't speak for which system has the most variety, but IMO true Karma build systems (read: BeCKS in SR3, and Runner's Companion in SR4, with minor tweaks) encourage broadly set up characters more than BP systems, which reward (hyper-) specialization, especially in organized play.

That said, and even with my dislike of 5E, I don't really think it's the edition's fault which characters you encountered. The same could have happened in every other edition. Cookie cutter builds were always a topic in Shadowrun forums. The environment you describe of encountering (although I'm not quite sure what "LC" means - Living Campaigns?) is one where the kind of players that gravitate towards such builds thrive.

Furthermore, there are always certain autopicks, depending on edition. In SR3 it was dikoted anything, in SR4 form fitting body armor (continuing the trend from SR3), and adepts with 1 point of ware have basically always been effective and are a good choice that actually fits pretty well into a world where (light) cyberware is the norm rather than something exotic.
My point here is: these strictly superior choices are usually glaringly obvious and thus you encounter them often.

My personal preference is SR4 karma gen with free knowledge skill points as in BP build, and free contact points based on Charisma (no rating 6 contacts at creation, and generally no more than rating 7 total). It leads to interesting characters that have comparable power levels to specialized BP builds while still allowing the flexibility to take flavor skills. Yes, it can be abused, but the people I play with don't because we had that talk, and character creation does not happen in a vacuum.

Edit: Oh, and welcome to the forum!
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Kagetenshi
post May 29 2021, 12:19 PM
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QUOTE (bannockburn @ May 29 2021, 03:55 AM) *
I really can't speak for which system has the most variety, but IMO true Karma build systems (read: BeCKS in SR3, and Runner's Companion in SR4, with minor tweaks) encourage broadly set up characters more than BP systems, which reward (hyper-) specialization, especially in organized play.

In SR3 the default chargens didn’t so much reward specialization as they punished dabbling, since marginal costs are constant at chargen and increasing thereafter (so someone with 6BP/6 Skill Points looking to eventually have two skills at 6 has 30 karma to go if they start with 6-0, while allocating 3-3 leaves them with 44 left to go). More or less the only reasons to have a skill at less than 6 but more than 0 involved linked attributes below 6 or leftover skill points/BP.

QUOTE
Furthermore, there are always certain autopicks, depending on edition. In SR3 it was dikoted anything

Nah. Dikote was expensive and didn’t give enough in return most of the time—you only saw it (admittedly universally) on bladed weapons and AVS Ally Spirits.

~J
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bannockburn
post May 29 2021, 01:50 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ May 29 2021, 02:19 PM) *
In SR3 the default chargens didn’t so much reward specialization as they punished dabbling [...]

That's just another way of saying it encouraging specialization (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
But I see we're basically on the same page. This is the reason why I don't like character creation ressources that do not correspond to later in-game advancement.

QUOTE
Nah. Dikote was expensive and didn’t give enough in return most of the time—you only saw it (admittedly universally) on bladed weapons and AVS Ally Spirits.

YMMV, of course. It was a bit exaggerated, but how expensive Dikote really is depends heavily on payouts at your table. But yes, blades were the main application, because it was simply so good for very little expense in comparison. I am honestly glad that it's gone the way of the dodo, but it's just been replaced by the next NERPS. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Asshimar
post May 29 2021, 11:12 PM
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QUOTE (bannockburn @ May 29 2021, 02:55 AM) *
(although I'm not quite sure what "LC" means - Living Campaigns?)

Right on the money. The biggest reason I'm asking is because I've debating starting my own- 900-1000 karma (or 800 starting + 100-200 in-play, depends on the ed), pure episodic, zero progression. Keep everything fair and even so the poor kids can learn what a decent game looks like before getting thrown into the grinder like I did.

QUOTE (bannockburn @ May 29 2021, 02:55 AM) *
Edit: Oh, and welcome to the forum!

Thanks, always nice to find some fellow grognards in these trying times.
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pbangarth
post May 30 2021, 02:59 AM
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I've played SR1 to 4. My sense is each system has had certain builds to which the rules were predisposed. So, I don't think I can answer your question directly.

Indirectly, I found SR4 to have many options I had not tried in earlier versions. Successful (in that they survived until the campaign didn't) PCs of mine in SR4 included a dispossessed sheep farmer and his Attuned border collie taking revenge on the Man; a Valkyrie Free Spirit with amnesia who was persona non grata back in Valhalla because she was too non-violent; an archaeologist in the shadows to find the underworld boss who destroyed his academic career and had him framed for murder; a young Québecois girl with full-body cyber-limbs running from the corp that wanted the parts back; a Voudun magician (in a higher karma karmagen game) for whom Squinky drew an awesome portrait; and ( a more 'ideal' build) an ork who shot fast and drove faster.

The only major stream I didn't explore was decker/hacker, possibly because too many years as a computer programmer had given me enough of that world.

Stogie and Jake -- farmer and his dog
Bryneir -- Valkyrie
Professor -- the archaeologist
Sept de Neuf -- the cyber girl
Uncle Zola -- Voudun magician
Quick Willie -- guns and wheels
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Iduno
post May 31 2021, 11:31 PM
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Fourth seems to have the most of what you *can* do, although mages are by far the best. 3 karma for a new spell that you're already great at casting is huge compared to Sams who can't afford to accept a beta wired 3 for free because it would cost hundreds of thousands of nuyen to get the essence for it (Unless they already had wired 3 somehow). But that's a Shadowrun problem in general, not with just one edition. Although 4th is the first to make spells almost impossible to resist (which I think is a math error going from 3rd to 4th, your will used to be the TN to hit you with a spell, so 6 was a great defense). You also don't have to buy spells at a particular force anymore, which makes them massively cheaper.

But fourth was designed for higher-level play and a lot of freedom in builds, so you could make most weird concepts work. I can't think of very many superheroes that nobody suggested builds for, let alone pretty reasonable characters.
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Tecumseh
post Jun 1 2021, 07:14 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ May 29 2021, 07:59 PM) *
Successful (in that they survived until the campaign didn't) PCs of mine in SR4 included a dispossessed sheep farmer and his Attuned border collie taking revenge on the Man

HEY! That campaign lasted 4 YEARS. Don't tell me that campaign didn't survive. We completed its arc.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jun 3 2021, 04:49 PM
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QUOTE (Asshimar @ May 29 2021, 01:37 AM) *
With only minor cosmetic differences between them. So, I arrive at the question: Is there a Shadowrun edition which runs counter to this trend? One where not only are there a variety of niches to specialize in, but a number of ways to become competent in those roles?

Pretty much ever edition before 5E - since 5E essentially killed tech & ware as viable options.

Peak options (as well as peak micromanagement) would be 3E - in fact, there were so many option people got lost and in the end, channeling mages were the thing of the day. Though having rules for designing nuclear aircraft carriers with PPCs was kind of nice.
Options used in actual play? I would say 4E. It intended to consolidate 3E, which was a logical choice... though maybe not a radical enough one.
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pbangarth
post Jun 3 2021, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE (Tecumseh @ Jun 1 2021, 02:14 PM) *
HEY! That campaign lasted 4 YEARS. Don't tell me that campaign didn't survive. We completed its arc.

True, though other players came and went. It was indeed one of the longest for me here on DS. And the campaign was ideally suited for my PC and his little buddy. Thanks for the fun.

As an aside, I now have my own border collie with whom I am training to herd sheep.

Hmmm. Life imitating art?
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Stahlseele
post Jun 3 2021, 09:38 PM
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in SR3, cyberlimbs were . . Bad . . yes, with the capital B.
There were some shenanigans you could pull with Riggers and Deckers for built in Decks, but that was about the use of them.

All in all, SR3 really punished you for starting a non specialist.
It was so much easier to broaden ones horizons in game than it was to excell at something one had a passing familiarity with.
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Cabral
post Jun 8 2021, 01:22 AM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jun 3 2021, 11:49 AM) *
Pretty much ever edition before 5E - since 5E essentially killed tech & ware as viable options.

I liked 5E's handling of Mystic Adepts if you added a house rule that you had to raise Mage and Adept magic ratings separately. I felt it finally put them in an appropriate place.

I was always torn between 4A and 5E, myself. I ran a few games with tweaked 5E and I may run a tweaked 4A next instead, if I run something.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jun 8 2021, 12:45 PM
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Sure, that's 5E in a nutshell - "If you add a house rule to 'Make Tech Great Again'" - it's what leads to the OPs observation. (Otherwise it's why the Sam goes for soak and Riggers fade into oblivion)

They kind of realized that giving Mysads full magic for both powers as well as magic wasn't too smart and reversed it in 6E. (Like Limits or MARKs.)

Personally, I'm more of a 2E kind of guy when it comes to what were called Physical Magicians back then:
QUOTE (Pysical Magicians (Optional Rule) @ Awakenings)
Gamemasters may wish to limit physical magicians to non-player characters.

I felt that put them in an appropriate place.
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Glyph
post Jun 13 2021, 05:51 AM
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I think SR4 had the most viable options for play as far as variety goes. SR5 comes close but hit too many of the exotic (and augmented) types a bit too hard with the nerf bat. One thing SR5 did do well was to make humans competitive against other metatypes again (seriously, in character creation threads, how often did you hear "make him an orc"?). But I would consider seeing only a few builds a problem with the players, not the system. Even min-maxing, there are so many ways to min-max in the game, and even for the same types of characters.
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KCKitsune
post Jun 29 2021, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jun 8 2021, 07:45 AM) *
Personally, I'm more of a 2E kind of guy when it comes to what were called Physical Magicians back then

I think they could be used in game, but NOT be cheaper than a full mage.
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Kren Cooper
post Jul 4 2021, 02:58 PM
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Not sure I can really comment on which edition has the best build variety – I started playing 3rd, and we looked at the direction 4th went in and decided it wasn’t for us – so that’s all I’ve ever really seen.
But, I certainly think the BP rules from the SR3 Companion are really good, and allow a lot of very flexible build options. So I thought it might be worth going through the list of characters we’ve created for various campaigns and games, noting down the essence and seeing just how wide a variety of feasible and playable characters we’ve come up with…

Smuggler game – our Tuesday night game that I do the writeup on:
1. Kai: Social phys-ad smuggler, Charismatic and quick, good negotiations and first aid, average combat with a good skill in archery.
2. Aswon: Tribal combat phys-ad hunter, played as a sharpshooter. Ex mercenary with demolitions, small unit tactics and merc background skills, with quickened tattoos for combat sense and gecko crawl.
3. Shimazu: Phys-ad bodyguard specialising in melee, strong physical stats and average mental, spent half his starting adept points on quick strike for a devastating alpha damage attack.
4. Tads: Tribal shaman with strong mental stats and average physical, good spellcasting and summoning, along with strong enchanting skills. Lots of tribal background skills, and her spells focus on defensive buffs / boosts for the team, rather than combat.
5. Marius: Rigger child prodigy fleeing from SK. A chunk of investment in his VCR2, and with very high intelligence (including edges to boost this), with vehicle design / maintenance and electronic skills to provide tech ability to the team. Has average combat skills so he can at least hold his own in a gunfight.
6. Hunter: Infiltration combat spy. Lots of cyber and bioware to boost his utility, counter the penalties for being an ork and to provide extra senses / capabilities – things like extra eyes in hidden pop-up compartments so he can look around corners. Good combat skills and computer use for hacking / intel gathering, and a very strong range of background skills to give lots of breadth.

Flame – my Wednesday night game with my World of Warcraft guildies (our guild is called Ebon Flame)
7. Murphy McLean: Ork security guard with his stolen armoured valuables truck. Good spread of combat and driving skills, and a background in police, insurance, security and other similar skills (and played by a Dutch guy doing an Cockney accent, which gets all kinds of fun at times…)
8. Adam King: Disgraced Doc-Wagon HTR employee, great first aid and medical skills, heavy weapons from manning the door guns and some negotiation skills for tense standoffs. Despite having the biggest gun, he’s a pacifist, so it’s mainly for show or after the bad guys have indicated that violence is the only answer…
9. Nick Mercer: Breaking and Entering Phys-ad. With stats that are all decidedly average, and a good range of skills, again all of which are average, Nick is just another guy off the street, pretty bland and unremarkable. However his B&E skills are really helped by his broad splashes of phys-ad powers for leaping, falling, hiding, camo, extra senses, and magical senses.
10. Octavia Westbrook: Magical security freelancer. An aspected sorcerer with no truck for spirits, she’s got pretty average stats, but strong skills around magical security, background, threats and bodyguard/politics. Her sorcery and enchanting skills are only just above average, and otherwise she’s got a broad range of skills without excelling in any one thing. Spell wise she’s a good magical healer, has minor boosted reflexes, can throw acid bolts, protect people with armour, confuse a mob and blast spirits, giving her a reasonably wide range of powers.

Black Trenchcoat – campaign we were playing alternate Fridays until Covid hit (one of the players does not get on with online RP, so this is on hold until we can get RL meetups again).
11. Hu: Tiger shapeshifter. Impulsive child banished from his magical group for being too unstable, he tends to get the team into a lot of trouble. Limited skills from his bestial upbringing, he’s mainly a combat character but trying to develop his “mystical side” and learn self control.
12. Vern Beastdeck: Magical sinner, forced to doing jobs on the side to support his family after a horrific accident saw him in hoc to the mafia for their medical bills. Typical caster stats and with a mix of heal/invisibility/levitate defence or utility spells and lightning/stun offensive magic, he’s an enchanter that’s been forced out into more dangerous situations than he’s used to, but with a wealth of skills around his enchanting/talismongering/blacksmithing/rituals, and good aura-reading / diagnostic abilities.
13. Swot: A former policeman who’s on the wrong side of the line now, fairly average stats all around, with a wide range of just above average skills – negotiation, combat, computer, first aid, stealth, driving – an experienced beat cop who’s done a little bit of everything. Hates the fact that he’s the most “competent” combat character in the group and best negotiator, as that makes him the point man…
14. Ugly: A rigger based in *very* loose terms on Popeye, he’s got a girl (Olivia) that he is constantly trying to woo – running the shadows to be able to afford her expensive presents. A really wide range of skills all at rating 1-2 makes him not very good at an awful lot, but willing to cheerfully give it a go and have it end up in fire and destruction… The team rigger, he’s as haphazard here as he is with his other skills, driving a repurposed garbage truck around with a smell generator to stop people wanting to get too close to the hidden smuggler compartments.
15. Deanna: A magical tracker looking for paracritters and strange creatures. Loosely based on the Mord Sith style characters from Legend of the Seeker, she’s got a ‘pain stick’ with Agony cast on it, a penchant for leather catsuits, a daytime job as a Dominatrix as a cover story, and pretty average stats and skills all around. Spells include Alter memory, Mind Probe, Detect Lie and Bind to allow interrogations of subjects and then clearing up the evidence of her secret magical society.

High Stakes – campaign we started again pre-covid, that had to go on hold. Worked with each of the players independently to make them all physical mages, and stared the campaign with the recruitment speech from the FBI agents, letting them know they were to hunt down magical threats and keep society as a whole safe. It was going to be an X-Files style game, with them taking down covens and cabals, hunting toxics and recovering corrupted magical doohickeys…
16. Erica Ramnemark: Doctor with aptitude for Biotech edge, lots of medical skills and anthropology/archaeology background, with splashes of folklore, legends and linguistics. Weak in combat and uses stun weapons only, and uses Aikido as a defensive martial art to abide by her total pacifist nature.
17. Steve Emmott: Merc thrill seeker, mostly unaware of his powers (mostly focussed on the phys-ad skills), with a range of tactical skills covering combat, demo, driving, martial arts and small unit tactics at a slightly above average level. His spells were all things that worked like a phys-ad, being able to be rationalised as “experience” such as Combat Sense and powers like Quick draw
18. Nehar Patel: Bollywood stunt-man, he has above average (but not maxed) stats, lots of physical skills like diving, horse riding, stage fighting and hang-gliding that can be turned to more nefarious uses. Phys-ad skills augmented that with mystic armour, great leap and free fall and boosted body attribute, while his magical skills were a huge range of spells all at force 1 – but things that would work ok unopposed, such as Gecko Crawl, Fashion, Stealth, Fast, Levitate etc.
19. Nicola Webb: University researcher with a potential to emulate Lara Croft. Lots of academic skills about atlantis legends, anthropology, druidic sites and such like, backed up with some survival, etiquette, negotiation and research skills. Combat skills were limited to launched weapons, using a grenade launcher for laying down smoke or stun grenades (to avoid damaging dig sites or artefacts). This character also had a good bunch of F1 spells such as create food/water, catalogue, clairvoyance and other “investigation” powers.

Irregular Partings – occasional Sunday game (I was running the same game / missions as Black Trenchcoat, just a completely different bunch of players – alas, another victim of Covid)
20. Twinkle: Troll miner from Chile, a combat based troll with an intense dislike for children and a cruel streak a mile wide. Cyber and bioware to mostly increase durability / decrease damage while working in dangerous mines makes her a tough cookie in combat, but her typically weak mental stats makes her vulnerable to magic. Above average physical stats (though not maxed out, or even that high for a troll) and a range of combat skills including long range heavy weapons and her combat shotgun. Oh, and she loves bird watching, and has a number of skills related to spotting and caring for wildlife.
21. Sonyc: A road racer, he was the teams driver and obsessed with tinkering with his ride, and living by the law of the highway (never mess with a man’s wheels, never leave him stranded, and several others that put a crimp on the teams style a number of times). A firm fan of Electronic Dance Music, if the planning went on too long, he turned the music up until nobody could speak, indicating he’d run out of patience… Pretty average stats and skills, he relied heavily on his VCR3 and vehicle/drones to get the job done.
22. Jesse: A swamp shaman from Louisiana, she was a competent mage/shaman who specialised in growing her own weed and other magical plants that would get you nearly as high as she was! Above average magical skills and etiquette, poor combat skills and excellent at cooking Gumbo and skinning critters, her Gator totem gave her a few high force combat spells, and some lower force survival skills to make do with.
23. Dirk Turbine: Oh, how to describe Dirk. Imagine a mental patient that was convinced he was the lead protagonist from an 80s Saturday afternoon tv show. But he changed personality every few days. With his body stuffed full of enough defensive cyberwear like dermal sheathing and bone lacing that he could just charge the bad guys in hand to hand and just about get away with it. A whole raft of fake IDs, wardrobe changes and accessories to supplement his chosen persona, he was excellent with Kung fu and SMGs (but only gel rounds, as good guys don’t execute people, even if they’re bad), and then a whole raft of general runner skills at rating 3. And of course, the background skill of “80s TV Tropes”…

And last but certainly not least – Pink Mohawk. Our Friday night drop in game started about 5 years ago, where people could bring their min-maxed freaks and concepts in for silly, over the top, flamboyant and cinematic adventures with much reduced (but not eliminated) consequences.
24. Adillah: Phys-add with weak physical skills and strong charisma, but attribute boost (strength) and killing hands for a surprise knock-out punch potential. Child like body and physique, dancing skills and some social engineering skills she was an infiltrator / intelligence gathering spy for the underworld.
25. Arturo: Californian rigger turned air-cab taxi driver, great driving skills with adequate combat, average stats and a VCR/skillwires combo that let him drive and load up a mission package as needed.
26. Brad: Typical Jock, hocky fan and regular dad, driven into the shadows by an attack on his family. Pretty average stats apart from high intelligence, he was a cyber-implant surgeon turned organ-legger.
27. Carl Reese: A doctor who went down the bioware route, seeing how far we could augment a character with no cyber at all. Crack shot with a pistol and wielded a mean knife, he had combat pool for days and edges to give him an exceptional quickness attribute – making him ultra quick in a combat situation and somewhat durable with a platelet factory and a good stack of armour.
28. Cypher: A mob courier with hidden body compartment, strong physical skills and ok mental stats. Good combat coverage with a HK227 and Predator III, his phys-ad improves reflexes and movement skills made him nice and quick and he had a huge range of underworld background skills about various scams, rings and techniques.
29. Frenchy: A drone rigger who also liked to get stuck in with his favourite wrench into close combat, he had a cyber taser hand for a surprise finishing move along with his alpha grade VCR2 and a bunch of combat drones. Great drone repair / computer skills to keep his fleet in operation, along with mechanical arm operation for things like bomb defusing – or planting. Top notch gunnery skill for adding remote fire support to the team.
30. Gerhadt: A gaia based shaman with a wide range of utility spells and no combat ability, taking advantage of elven charisma to make a good summoner and use his spirits for combat power. Lots of background skills about border crossing, smuggling, gangs, and police/airport/military procedures to help with getting from A to B quietly.
31. Dudley Durdsley: Another “mental” character, was convinced he was Harry Potter, the chosen one, and Death Eaters were out to get him. All his spells were named after in-universe effects, and spirits were Patronus related. Entirely average physical skills, strong mental, optimised for spellcasting and summoning, he mostly went down the casting route with his magic wand (geas/fetish) a twirling. All his spells were force 5 (the chosen one wouldn’t learn a weak spell…)
32. Jeff Jimbries: One of the NPC bouncers for the runners club, this guy was an absolute wanker, and widely despised by the PCs – but hard as nails. Aptitude for combat (and yes, it’s unbalancing!) he was a max physical stats ork with toughness, bonus quickness and combat monster to tip him over the edge. High brawling skill and otherwise some average stealth/athletics and biotech meant he was a one trick pony really – front line fighter. With a mnemonic enhancer 3 though, he had background skills out the wazoo, and learnt a huge number over the campaign. With bone lacing, dermal sheathing, platelet factory, reaction enhancer and superthyroids he was a physical monster and the perfect doorman to stop trouble.
33. Jinx: A Tir elf mage, she had weak physical and strong mental stats, no range or melee combat ability and relied on her magic for everything – stun balls, trid phantasm and physical barriers mostly. Probably a “typical” or “cookie cutter” mage specialist, she was a fairly generic mage compared to many of the others.
34. Linda Carter: A stunt-woman made redundant from the trids by increasing use of illusions, shes got great quickness and her phys-ad powers centres around reaction and driving ability, with a few other boosts. Widely skilled in most transport types and with background specialisations in stunt driving for each of them, along with sacrificing a point of magic for some enhanced articulation to make her physical driving really sing.
35. Mike Hunt: Corporate security mage with all his stats about average, and a wide skill list, nothing over rating 4 – but giving him lots and lots of points to be just above average in an awful lot of things. In his spell list it was much the same – massive number of Force 3-4 spells, relying on utility or lots of successes to ramp up the effects.
36. Nicole: Goth Canadian Rigger – in the order of importance… cyber enhanced with max reactions, a dermal sheath to boost durability and a VCR2, with strong combat skills, background skills in logging operations, cooking crystal meth and hotwiring vehicles. Fortunately she had a bit of fast talk, computers and electronics as well to try and dig herself out of trouble with.
37. Ruprick Chomley-Smythe: Consumate blagger, English conman and addict. Average physical stats for an ork but pumped charisma to buck the common trend. Math SPU to work out the odds, body compartment to hide stuff picked from pockets, toxin extractor to keep working while drinking or doing drugs, with social engineering, lots of high society type skills, the finest Tres chic clothing and some English antique firearms with an average level of skill.
38. Skidmark (Lelsey Markus Batholemue): Ork Rigger with a fairly even mix of attributes, great electronics warfare, stealth(surveillance) and a VCR2 allowed him to pilot his watcher drones about and gather intel if required, making use of his Vehicle Empathy skill and his social contacts along with a custom edge “Connected (Drones)” reducing the availability numbers for some hardware. Rest of his skills were in the 2-4 range, and an esoteric mix of background skills – History(Yorkshire), Theme Bars (Seattle) and Powerlifting for example…
39. Stavros: Troll phys-ad, egotist. Very high strength and body, boosted quickness and poor-average mental stats. Sacrificed a point of magic for paired spurs and some reaction enhancement, then lots of points in improved ability (Cyber-combat), some mystic armour and pain resistance. He was ALL about the melee, using a two handed strike to boost the strength even further. Very much a one trick pony really, he also did have archery/thrown and centering – along with Greek mythology as a background, styling himself after several different gods. Also played like an absolute self-absorbed shallow cretin. My how some of the characters hated babysitting him!
40. Tyler Mae: Based on a “Dark Angel” style concept, it was a high/boosted quickness build with all the other stats at just above average, child like / friendly face edges, concealed pistols and all about sneaking and parkour, electronics hacking and lockpicking, with background skills nearly all around hacking and B&E. Weak and vulnerable if surprised, but if she was in position and broadcasting on her battletac, she could buff the rest of the team considerably.
41. Ursula: A bear shaman with high mental stats and average physicals, built with a mnemonic enhancer, tech school and college education, and loads of background skills boosted to useful levels. Lots of health spells to take advantage of the totem bonus, she was not combat orientated, but again had good defence buffs – illusions, phantasms, shape earth at a high enough force to morph concrete etc.
42. Valentine: Another spy/infiltrator style character, with lots of cyber for gathering intel (like the gas spectrometer, internal comms, expanded senses etc), great fast talk and pistol skill, and then a big handful of average skills, and lots of background skills at 3-4 to give a broad base to use or default to. Tailored pheromones helped with the charisma skills, but his stats other than intelligence were all pretty average.
43. Boris: Dwarf sniper with bad suits and worse aftershave – had high physical stats and average mental, great specialisations in his chosen weapons and then a bunch of other useful stuff at middling levels, along with some skillwires for mission specific stuff. Lots of background skills at average levels again, with plenty of stuff about the Vory.
44. Brother: A Catholic priest full mage, with pretty average stats, a combat shotgun and the knowledge that god was on his side. Instead of elementals he summoned “angels” (we swapped spirits in, but gave them all biblical themes, and they very much had their own ideas on what he should be doing). Conjuring, sorcery and centering were all high, as was divining and shotguns, with a smattering of other skills such as Prayer, Oration and Soup Kitchen operations.
45. Dakarai: Wakayambi Elf with *awful* minimum physical stats and strong mental stats – and a player who hated having to make “smoggy day” tests… He was all about the mind control / Mesmer style spells, backed up by a stable of earth elementals.
46. Duke: Troll with average stats (for a troll) all round, VCR1 and Wires 1 to make him fairly flexible and average skills in a couple of weapons, bounty hunting, brawling, electronics, tracking etc – part of a pair of bounty hunter characters.
47. Jawa: Dwarf with average/strong stats, as is fairly typical for a mage. Focussed a lot on combat spells, all at reasonable force, and nearly always cast at D (catchphrase was ‘go big or go home’). Other than conjuring/sorcery, all the other skills were just above average.
48. Kiwi: A drone rigger with splash of combat shotguns, he had some great EW skills, average in everything else and a love of rugby. Good Willpower for handling the dumpshock, he had a fleet of cheap and somewhat disposable drones to run with.
49. Lynx: An art thief cat-burglar build, with boosted quickness and tailored pheromones, lots of negotiations, athletics, stealth, lockpicking, acting and forgery. Another character with stun weapons only that wouldn’t kill deliberately.
50. Mico Running Bear: Tribal gambler run out of Las Vegas due to gambling debts… average stats with a cerebral booster to help the intelligence along, with lots of headware to help with the gambling. He ended up being a decker/electronics specialist when he wasn’t punching stuff with his spur.
51. Nikolai: A really weird mix character – pretty much maxed out all his stats (mental and physical) using cyber and bioware, but had only two skills – Athletics and Assault rifle. *Everything* else was on chip, via skillwires and a jukebox.
52. Pete Tong: Troll melee specialist, with a bunch of cyber to boost his physical stats. Ended up with strength 15 punches, but glowed like a Christmas tree thanks to the superthyroid / troll combo, and was often target #1 from the bad guys. Not that skilled and a bit of a one trick pony from having to pump so many points into the stats.
53. Roflstomp: A dwarf rigger with an anthroform robot who did most of his actual “running” while he stayed safe in the van (or at least that was the plan). Pretty average stats with boosted intelligence and willpower, to go with his VCR2. Lots of strong skills around drone operations, build repair, electronics and a wide range of background skills. The robot (Ticktok) was a big troll sized armoured beast with netgun, combat shield and could mount machine guns when required.
54. Woody: An Elf phys-ad gunslinger, high quickness with average stats otherwise. Specialised in his chosen pistol, a few other average skills, improved pistols phys-ad skills and everything else put into initiative boosts, aiming to go faster, go often, all through combat. With a body of 3 though, he proved not to be too durable.
55. Swoop: Owl shapeshifter with good charisma and intelligence, and otherwise average human stats. Skill limited thanks to Shapeshifte and Mage costs, the player used a whole bunch of lower force spells to boost / augment skills and work out clever solutions to issues rather than brute force. After getting chanelling metamagic though, brute force did become an occasional fallback option. 😊
56. Talonixa: Drake, entirely average metahuman stats, not much better in drake form. Skills were all average as well, with Sorcery 4 being the highest… Magically focussed on debuff spells like blindness, cripple limb etc, with initiation they focussed on masking metamagics and hiding.
57. Tide: Elf Leviathan Shaman, average/strong stats, but had a whole bunch of average level active skills – generally 4 being the highest for sorcery/conjuring, apart from a 5 in swimming to fit the motif. Spells leant towards water based utility – control pack (fish), oxygenate, shapechange, shape water, steam etc.
58. Tiny: Another of the bouncer characters, this was a big soppy troll built around high body/strength and lower other stats. Cyber included foot anchors which along with the strength and recoil mods allowed use of a HV rifle for heavy fire support. Otherwise a troll armed with a halberd generally helped melee situations out, and average skills in computer, electronics, stealth, athletics etc kept him somewhat useful on runs.
59. Winger: Heavily cybered human experiment a la robocop, from Renraku. We had a special chart full of side effects for his experimental 5D6 initiative boosting ‘ware. Great physical and better than average mental stats, with a good range of above average skills kept him useful even without the experimental ware.


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