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emo samurai
I have a character in mind; he's a Dragon shaman named Shen who was born in the PRC right around the time it disintigrated. He was born with a very Zen sort of outlook on life and healing powers. People came from miles around to partake of his wisdom and healing.

Then the government caught him and locked him up, because the Chinese government is like that. He stayed there until Lung appeared and claimed the neighbouring Sacred Mountain and the land around it as his territory. Shen escaped in the aftermath and managed to run all the way to Seattle. Before, he was very Buddha; now, he's more like Fu Manchu or something.

He's very charismatic, as befits a shaman, and very logical, as befits a dragon shaman. His affect can shift as needed, cunning and hidden within a deliberately ominous magical shadow one moment and postmodern and silly the next. He has contacts the world over and knows how to manipulate gangers, Triads, drug dealers, and terrorists to his inscrutable ends.
emo samurai
What? No doomed attempts to stifle my creativity?
QUOTE (emo samurai @ Feb 9 2006, 08:22 PM)
What? No random attempts to stifle my creativity?

Everything you are doing is bad. You are a terrible person, and I think you smell like poo. smile.gif

Seriously, though, it sounds like an interesting concept for a character. I'm interested to see what happens when you post the character sheet. Then all of your ideas will be torn apart and everyone will tell you how to make your character, tear up your character sheet, call you silly names, and dance on the tattered remains of your soul. But we do it because we love you. biggrin.gif

edit: Ha-ha, I caught your edit with my quote. nyahnyah.gif
emo samurai
Random isn't such a bad word; doomed is just better.
What cyber ware are you going to give him?
QUOTE (emo samurai @ Feb 9 2006, 04:22 PM)
What? No {random/doomed} attempts to stifle my creativity?

That'd be like trying to stifle a brush fire with gasoline. cool.gif
The background is workable. Personally, I'd like to see a lot more flesh to it if it were a PC in a game I was running. As it is now, it's kind of sketchy. Sketchy can work, out in the end, though.
emo samurai
Do you mean that there isn't enough background?
Keep in mind that I mostly play online of late and that online character backgrounds tend to be quite verbose. There are two major points in the background where a little bit more detail would be good. The prison arrest is good. Why did he really get arrested? Did he do something to draw attention? Did someone betray him? Did he learn something from it?

Secondly, at the end you talk about how he knows how to manipulate various criminal elements. Where did he learn those skills? Did he have a teacher? Did he work his way up in one for a bit before breaking off to be an independant agent?
emo samurai
1. The PRC is generally anti-magic, isn't it? And they also wanted to study him. His magic empowered him, and communist governments don't tend to like that.

2. The Triad sounds good. He'll figure out how to undo his "betray us and die" tattoo and run away at the age of 15. He'll also be an elf, which will make him awesome.
What if you had him as a sort of 'evil master' beforehand? He was this magic guy, slowly enslaving the countryside through a few throw-away heals, illusions, and control manipulations. Only the timely intervention of the People's Army saved the farmland around his house from becoming his vile demesne. Now he's back, and he's got plans...
emo samurai
Dude, I'm the LAST person who'd want to portray them in a positive light. Plus, I wanna be good...
I like the background and would allow it in our campaign. Disappointed?

What you would need to develop is his place in the seattle underworld/shadows, as it makes tying your character into the gameworld much easier. A shared area of living with other characters (the Redmond Barrens in our case) might be a good idea too.

As for the character bashing, bring on the stats nyahnyah.gif wink.gif
Personaly I'm not superfond of the backgroud there...bit too much "i'm superpowerful and can do anything"...but it does fit in with the rest of your stuff.

To me it just doesn't mesh together well...especialy the last part...

Shen escaped in the aftermath and managed to run all the way to Seattle. Before, he was very Buddha; now, he's more like Fu Manchu or something.

All harmony and now evil villian with a equaly odd moustache?


He has contacts the world over and knows how to manipulate gangers, Triads, drug dealers, and terrorists to his inscrutable ends.

Where the hell did he learn to do this? Why would he learn to do this if he followed zen or buddha? How did he get all these contacts world wide?

Course if you're going for the I was super powerful, and then was captured and oppressed for it, but then i escaped and became more powerful and angry...i suppose it works...
... why would you run the shadows is another question.
I could understand a campaign based on this kind of character's background, but I can't see how this guy could be a shadowrunner...
emo samurai
Here's my explanation for the character. As a child, he was precociously wise and had all the healing mojo. He was vernerated for the sometimes comforting, sometimes unsettling, but almost always true spiritual aphorisms he regularly came up with and tailored to each person's history. Something to note is that he was very secular; he cared nothing for the superficial norms which tend to become the very religions they were meant to merely represent. He was very much the embodiment of Zen. This, of course, pissed off the PRC, which is very anti-religious.

His imprisonment lasted for about a year, until the part where Lung takes over a mountain. He escaped and was quickly scouted out by a Triad, whose incense master couldn't wait to tattoo him with an "obey us or die" spell. This lasted about a year, until he managed to dispel the damn thing and kill the incense master and ascend to his postion. Now THIS is where he learned to manipulate people with fear and ingenuity. He tired of this after about 5 years, when he decided to fake his own death and set out on his own; being still SOMEWHAT enlightened, he didn't take to ruling over others with fear very well.

He now believes in the power and duty of each individual to discover truth for himself; even though he used to look back on his days as a messiah with nostalgia, his time as an incense master has taught him the dangers of blind faith. Which is why he is a shadowrunner; he's very independence-oriented and self-guided. His affiliations with the groups he uses are cursory and business-oriented; he never treats them as anything more. He spends all his money on food, preferably natural, training, and magical supplies.
Sort of like Crying Freeman, then.

The outline is good but it would be nice if you gave more detail about the time leading up to his arrest and on his bitter catharsis as an unwilling triad lackey. Who were the people in his life? What were his relationships like? Did he have any magical training? What event or series of events led to his arrest? What was his experience in prision like? He he treated well and given three meals a day? Was a tortured regulary. Did the other inmates buttrape him or was he held is solitary confinment? How did the triad find him? What were his duties during his unwilling internship? What vile and horrific acts transformed his outlook so much? How exactly did he dispell the tatoo and kill his former master?
emo samurai
What I think I'll do is have his village be peaceful until a massive, if gradual, Triad incursion that takes place over the course of several years. They'll see him as a threat to their political power, kill his family and network of people loyal to him, and capture him at the age of 15. The costs of recruiting him unwillingly will be seen as small compared to the power that can be gained from him. I'll skip the PRC; they're too boring.

He'll have had magical training by their incense master and get taught the basics of how to do the basic recruitment stuff. This'll form the basis of the tattoo-undoing skills that enable him to betray the incense master. In his confrontation with the incense master, the incense master will confess to Shen that he was in much the same situation as Shen was, but the tattoo was upgraded by a much more powerful magician before the incense master was able to figure out how to dispel it. In fact, he deliberately made the tattoo easy to dispel and put him on the tattoo job so that Shen could have a fighting chance in breaking it. All the degradations that Shen suffered over the years were given out unwillingly, and in the final confrontation, it is unclear whether it is Shen who kills his master, his master's enchantment, or himself. He'll skip the part where he becomes incense master and run away.

A large part of this character will be angst over the fact that his tormenter was in fact the very man who empathized with his situation the most. He has no idea whether he should be glad of the man's death or to avenge it by somehow taking on the undoubtedly nigh-omnipotent mage who tattoed him.
that last revision is pretty good ES. Sounds like a decent character.
emo samurai
I'll post stats tomorrow.
I agree with Lagomorph that the last revision is pretty good.

Just a note on the stats, though. If your campaign uses a lot of house rules, you might want to mention any that apply (such as starting with more than 400 build points, or having a higher maximum Availability cap, etc.). Otherwise, you will get a lot of replies correcting "errors" that might simply be your campaign's house rules.
I like the moral angst angle. Nice idea.
emo samurai
I'm hoping that whatever GM I make this for will allow more than 200 BP for stats. It's hard to find things to spend the BP on, even for a mage. Perhaps especially for a mage; after his 6 magic and magician edge, that's 120 BP to spend on clothes.
Crusher Bob
Magic and edge do not count towards the 200 bp limit.

Also, you will need lots of skills, which will eat up at least 80bp.
emo samurai
I think, with his unique background, more than 35 points of flaws are needed.
emo samurai
Here's my tentative character sheet. He still has some extra build points above 400; advice on cutting those down would be welcome.

[ Spoiler ]

How do I get rid of that last 59 BP? And how much would being hated by the Yellow Lotus count if they REALLY want to kill you?
I was going to suggest using skill groups, but I think you must already have done so, otherwise your skills would cost 220 instead of 180. Too bad - at first glance, I thought I could save you 40 points really quickly. smile.gif

I would say, if you are stuck in a 400 build point campaign, that you will need to do some very painful paring down to make the character fit.

Let's see - lose the conjuring group and just take binding: 3 and summoning: 4 (a good spell can be as effective as banishing), drop assensing and perception down to 3 (you have a nice high Intuition), drop the pilot ground craft skill, lose the astral chameleon quality, reduce contacts down to the 20 "free" points, and lose 2 spells (maybe Detect Truth and one of the combat spells).

That's just one of many possible ways to go - you just need to fine-tune the character until you are satisified that you have kept the essentials. Keep in mind that you can improve a lot of things after you start earning karma.
Let the bashing begin...

-no elf, if it isnīt a must-have
-body 3
-magic 4. absolutly enough
-influence-group at 3, should be enough with that charisma

60pts. There. And a present. Look up how knowledge skills are bought. Hint: Free points are 1pt=+1

Oh, the bashing part.
No hunted-flaw so far. And more than +35 altogether isnīt even allowed. It would be worth more points, and you should bring along another character sheet. Knowledge 6 about them + bad history + they get to have an initate group = not good.

Your contacts are very loyal. Apart from not doing you any good, why are they? I.e. the fixer would be very reliable out of a professional context, but for the same reason also personally detached.
Drop Str down to 1. You're not a melee character; you don't need it.

You have too many attributes at 5- you're only allowed 2, you have 3. Drop Logic down to 2 or 3. 2 will save you 30 bp.

Drop the Sorcery and Conjuring skill groups to get the Spellcasting, Counterspelling, Conjuring, and Binding skills. This will save you 16 bp.

Drop 20 bp worth of flaws- you're over the 35 bp limit.

Drop the Influence group down 2 points- you don't really need it that high, you're a shaman, not a face.

Dodge sucks- get rid of it entirely, or replace it with Gymnastics.
Every background is (or should be) unique ! smile.gif

By the way a few details that may be useful :
shaolin martial arts are linked to boudhism, and triad are very tightly bound to them in chinese history.
The other major philosophy is taoism (think crouching tiger hidden dragon - kind of), more linked to tai chi chuan, pa gua chang, xing ii chuan
A cross over between boudhism and taoism appeared and is cold shan (means spirit) or shen, and became zen in japan

As a DM I wouldn't allow a 6 in a chinese philosophy knowledge without any skill in chinese literacy.
Crusher Bob
It's skills that are limited to 2 at 5 or 1 at 6, attributes are what the traffic will bear (and the 200 point cap total).
and only 1 at natural max. Also, you only have 1 fake license? I'm sure you can burn some BP by purchasing one for everythingt hat will need it (you need a license for spellcasting, i know, what about for the individual spells though?

Also I'm not so sure about the qualities, i read as a range of +- 35 points, but thats me.
No, attributes are limited to 2 at 5 or 1 at 6, just like skills are.
according to who nick?

QUOTE (SR4 p.73)

Players may not spend more than half their total BP on physical and mental attributes... Also, characters cannont have more than one atribute at thier natural maximum. THis measure prevents overspending in attributes and ensuresa that characters are well rounded.

emo samurai
Are you saying that being hunted by the Triad should be more than 10 BP? I aggree; they REALLY hate him. The consiglieri likes him because Shen's been doing a lot of consulting work for him in the past in their tangles with the Triad, and Shen's proactively taken about half of what he would be paid for his work in return for information on the status of the evil supermage who bound his master and contacts. The consiglieri is very Uncle Enzo. Leggy Starlitz is one of those contacts, and he works pretty closely with the mob. This is why he knows lots of Italian. Roboninja1337 is there just for information, also one of those contacts. Any ideas for other contacts? And I aggree that banishing is useless for my character, he has manaball, which will inevitably cause much, much less drain.

I'm reducing strength to 1 and moving one willpower point to charisma. That's 10 saved points. Then I'm getting rid of ritual and banishing, saving 26 total. I'm also reducing assensing and perception by 1 each, that's 34 total. I'm getting rid of the social skill group and reducing it to etiquette 4 and leadership 3, saving 46 points. He's not one for negotiating money, and having another person play Fu Manchu will actually help cover my guy's ass. He'll also use his air spirit to fly around, so driving's useless for personal business. That's 62 points. I'm getting rid of of Scorched and Sensitive system; that's 42 points total. I'm reducing Leggy Starlitz to 2 loyalty, increasing Juan Giovanni's loyalty to 4, and reducing Timothy Hunter and roboninja's loyalties to 2. That's a whopping 4 points, 48 total. I'll also get rid of my mentor spirit; he just isn't the type to have one.That's 53 points total. Astral chameleon's useful and fits his personality; I won't get rid of that. Should I just get rid of the blogger? It seems the consiglieri will handle all the information himself at his level of loyalty. That would be another 4 points I could spend on equipment. But if the Triad thing pans out and I'm allowed to have 65 points of flaws with Scorched and Sensitive system, then I'm 83 points off, so I'm 24 points in the green. Hee hee!!!

The Fu Manchu thing will be something he does for the actual face of the party; his only real social skills will be the ones that served him as a messiah. I think I might get rid of his mentor spirit; he was never the type of person to have one, even while he was reading people and solving their existential crises.

and you should bring along another character sheet.

Why? Because I'll die?
emo samurai
Here's my revision.

[ Spoiler ]

And if the GM has a 4x Charisma starting contacts rule, then I'm 24 in the green! That'll rule so much!
I preferred last version, this one seems very min/maxed :

- min for str and agi - but with 3 in gymnastic ? (doesn't make no sense) except that gymnastic can be used to dodge ....
- almost max-1 for all magi attributes,
- banishing is very logical for someone with both binding and conjuring, no ritual (not so strange)
- no astral combat at all
(yes I know astral combat and banishing are not efficient in sr4 canons rules)
- incompetent in hacking and cybercombat ? you must be kiding ? why not add quantic physic, exotic weapon "implanted axe" and a few others to have no other flaws left ?

That begins really to look like building a power gamer without any logic. At least I see it like that.
He is so much interested in his branch of religion (kind of zen ?) and is world wide one of the best in that area, without knowing any part of chinese history, literacy (he hasn't rode lao tse, gong fu tse, tchang tse, yi king ??? )
c'mon !

bpwise that come's close to perfection.

For the flaw: triad, a dm should give it's price - either for 10 or 20, player choice.
QUOTE (emo samurai @ Feb 13 2006, 01:56 AM)
And how much would being hated by the Yellow Lotus count if they REALLY want to kill you?

Oh, you mean REALLY want. Not just a casual murderous intent, but they actually mean it? Like, they'd be frowning the whole time?
emo samurai
He was magically active and had his logic and intuition 5 practically from birth. His charisma's there mostly because he's an elf, which helped his whole "Asian Mystery Messiah" angle. He grew up in pretty much a religious and ideological vacuum, since it was the PRC, and learned to dislike organized religion from an early age after seeing the insincerity of the state-supported churches and the sometimes rabid fanaticism of the secret ones. He was more like a really good psychologist, philosopher, and local healer than a cleric, but those two things came together to make him sort of a living buddha in the eyes of the people. And yes, the whole incompetence thing doesn't exactly make sense, but if you don't pick skills you don't use, then how would you become incompetent in the ones you do? Maybe I'll make him incompetent at con and negotiation; those seem to be rather unbecoming of a person as guileless and good as he is. Or banishing and ritual magic; more on that later.

As for his philosophy, he has a sort of naive-mind approach to everything, trying his best to dispense with prejudice and bias when viewing things. His lack of ideology and mentor spirit only supports this. This ties in to his view of ritual magic; he just can't do it; in his mind, it's fraught with too much of the logical railroading and posturing that he just can't get his head around.

Banishing I could say is because he can't simply view spirits as malignant beings to be destroyed. For the first 15 years of his life, spirits were a wonderful force of life and happiness. He's too good at reading and understanding them to be able to just destroy them like that; he feels everything they do, or at least thinks he does. The one time he tried to banish a spirit was when his master forced him to; the method shown to him required that he interface with and feel the spirit's essence before he scattered it. This, of course, did not go over very well with him.

Also, I might get rid of Leadership and replace it with Instruction; that fits with his whole teenage messiah thing.

Since he wasn't exposed to cars until he was 20 and was able to fly around in an air spirit, he didn't have what was to him an inane urge to learn to drive once he crossed the Pacific.

Oh, you mean REALLY want. Not just a casual murderous intent, but they actually mean it? Like, they'd be frowning the whole time?

Yes. They'd be frowning the whole time, and they'd be gesturing wildly, too. But seriously, how hard would they try? They've already killed this guy's family, and they've been trying to kill The Family for years to no avail, especially since Shen started consulting for them. Hopefully, they don't know he's there yet.

Your character will die. Early. Hunted: They are motivated, they follow your movements with only slight delay, they have the ressouces to kill you. And they need to kill you for your knowledge alone, history aside.
Hunted is a deadly flaw if your GM is any good, and he needs to approve a custom flaw for this one, so he should take note.
Still to many flaws by far. Notoriety should start at about -4 (hunted, technologically very unaware, +spirit bane. dangerous for any friend).

I dislike body 4 + strength 1.

I dislike gymnastics in place of dodge. PG concept except for characters who stress physical ability.

I personally dislike magic 5, but that is yours to decide. A benign person will never learn "control toughts".

I like the new contacts better, except for "The Coven" wich you have to "buy" kid by kid. Else do Mafia (loyality 4, conection 6) and be a don yourself.
emo samurai
You just don't like how the coven's just a group contact and not a single one? That sounds reasonable. How would I make a magical group contact from character creation and not have the talismonger introduce me to it or something?

Hmm.... why's 5 magic bad? And I guess that control thoughts is bad; I'll replace it with a "compassion" spell that will make sense for someone who reads people on a regular basis. And I'm not kidding.

Maybe I will get rid of the Hunted: Triad. 10 points will be if they don't know where he is; 20 points is if they do.

And is 2 strength good enough?
A Strength of 2 means that a leather jacket or ordinary armored clothing are about the only things that you can wear without suffering penalties - which is still better than a Strength of 1.

But when you only have 400 points, and can only spend half of them on Attributes, you have to have a low stat somewhere, unless you want to be average or slightly better across the board. And that wouldn't fit your character concept at all.

So I would say a Strength of 2 isn't good, but it's probably the best you can do for an awakened face type. Just be aware that your character is better at sniping with his magic, and dealing with social situations, than he will be in face-to-face combat (which most runners try to avoid anyways - but it still happens).

As far as the Coven, SR4 doesn't have rules for groups as contacts (one of the few things I miss from previous editions was the ability to buy a gang or tribe as a "contact"). But all you need to do is buy a Coven member as a contact, and you will have more or less the same thing.
emo samurai
My character's going to need a diverse magical group for long-term magical development. And did SR3 have rules for free contacts through charisma?

Also, the amount of armor one can wear is based on body; I can wear up to a cushy 8 points of armor, and that's assuming I don't summon a spirit to provide another 10 points.
QUOTE (emo samurai)
My character's going to need a diverse magical group for long-term magical development. And did SR3 have rules for free contacts through charisma?

SR3 had three levels of contacts. Level 1 was about loyalty 1 or 2, level 2 was about loyalty 3 or 4, level 3 was about loyalty 5 or 6.

You started off with 2 level 1 contacts for free. You could buy more contacts with starting money.

Level 1 cost 5000
Level 2 cost 10000
Level 3 cost 100000 (I think, I never knew anyone who bought one of those)
emo samurai
It had nothing to do with charisma? I guess it makes sense. And how would those convert to SR4? Cyberware's, like, 15% of what it was in SR2. Would the level 3 contact be 3 BP?
I have no idea. I'd just wing it.
emo samurai
Fine, I'll use the SR4 contacts rules. But I still really, really want the 4xCharisma contact points.
It may not be official, but there's nothing stopping your GM from using it as a house rule, either.

My bad on Body vs. Strength on armor encumbrance - I must have been skimming the pages too fast and misread it.

I like SR4's contacts better - they are more detailed (you buy connection and loyalty), and they aren't tied directly to resources any longer (you can have a poor character with good contacts). As I said, the only thing missing is being able to have a gang, tribe, or other group as a contact.

Personally, if I house ruled it, I would make it like skill groups - 2.5 times the normal cost to get - so, for example, a tribe with connection: 3 and loyalty: 1 would cost 10 points.
emo samurai
So you could be a mafia don starting out with only 30 BP. That's is crazy... crazy enough to work or get you killed. I haven't figured out which one yet.
I donīt know where the charisma*4 thingy comes from. A houserule you heard of? (Curious)

I donīt like the balancing issue of group contacts. Buy one kid, decide on the "contact value" of the other kids, and be done. Initiatory groups are just a nice touch, so far. (Hope it stays that way, ruleswise)

"Control thoughts" is just about the worst think you can do to the mind of a person. Compassion is also manipulation of the mind, but has a "for the greater good" touch.

Magic 5 is bad in my opinion because at that point the mundanes have pretty much already lost the fight. Your success limit is above the number of successes anyone can reasonably reach with willpower+spell defense (will3+spell defense 4 wonīt do anything against a manabolt 5 from a competent mage).

If you are hunted, the know where you are, or will know soon. Else they are just an enemy and not worth points at all. As you have to many disadvantages anyway...

Strength 2 is better, of course. Now you are just weak instead of crippled. Still to weak to support a body 4-character in full gear doing flip-flops to avoid an attack.
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