Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: So you want to be a smuggler
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Starting out a campaign in the Pacific Rim, near and in the Philippines mostly during the 2063 revolution, and I need some advice on the proper means of smuggling.

Vehicle ideas for transportation for instance. The SR4 book has a small sampling but someone in my group has a ragged Rigger 3 I can look at. He's not that familiar with the needs of the illegal import/export biz so I figure at least some of you guys would know.

Campaign-wise I'm allowed a personal vehicle out of my own BP, half the cost of another vehicle to share with a partner in crime, and one total freebie within reason.

For my personal ride I've settled on an off-road motorcycle, the Growler or its 2063 equivalent.

But beyond that... well I bow to your experience. Are the small boats worth it like Miami Vice? Should I favour the hovercrafts, and just which are designed to be used on water for extended periods?

My character's a mage with illusion and manipulation spells so I may be able to do some magical legerdemain.

For the feel of all the characters mix Han Solo and Chewie with the Black Lagoon anime.

Rotbart van Dainig
Don't make the same mistake as the Smuggler Archetype - get Stealth Skills. nyahnyah.gif
Physical Mask WILL become handy, improved masking is a primary goal (requires access to Street Magic and two initiations).

The choice of transportation depends on the volume of smuggling goods you have in mind. Larger freights require a good hacker to fake documents, smaller transports can count on avoidance.
Smugglers, IMO, need TONS of contacts. You gotta know everyone to bribe. Stealth is much, much, much easier if no one is looking in your direction, know what I mean?
Good points all.

Do I really need the Stealth skill group if I have Improved Invisibility? Possibly with a Sustaining Focus. Could I get by with just Infiltration?

I'm thinking more in terms of smuggling arms and ammo than drugs and such. Specifically AKs for the Huk.
It really depends on how your GM understands smuggling to be in that region, and what kind of scale you are loking at.

If you want to do real smuggling, ie moving in creates and crates of AKs into a warzone, you're going to need a HELL of a lot more than a tiny spell and infiltration skill. Japanese warships guarding the waters - looking to blow specifically YOU up - are not going to be impressed by one spell. As soon as you try to smuggle by anyone remotely using any mage or spirit backup, your invisibility spell is not going to help you at all. You'll probably be using spirits, using concealment and accident/storm/etc to create diversions while you slip past sensor nets.

And in order to do that, your group is going to need solid legwork to discover weaknesses in the sensor net (contacts/social skills), hackers to muck up sensors and fighters to cover your retreat when things get nasty, as well as fight off pirates/rivals.

My first piece of advice is to try and feel your GM out. GMs are all over the map when it comes to smuggling. Especially if they don't have a copy of Target: Smuggler Havens.

And even that doesn't normalize things. What I'm saying is that some GMs might make little boats a deathtrap because they really have a hard time evading trouble if you're detected and aereal drones/cap ships are deployed. On the other hand they may shut down anything else because a small boat can blend into traffic and get through security that no other vehicle can. And if you do get caught they'll just send a pair of drones you can shoot down.

So feel them out. If you don't get a clear indication I'd pick vehicles you think would be fun for you, my personal picks would be.

T-bird. These are what the really hotshot smugglers of the SR setting use. They are the Millenium Flacons of shadowrun. Kind of even look like it too. Capable of vertical take off and landing, respectable cargo space, heavily armored (and usually heavily armed), and to top it all off they're able to outrun anything except a jet fighter.

I'd get mine watersealed if I were you.

THe trouble with T-birds is the pricetag. In SR3 a cheap one, with a pile of cost modifiers making them about as unreliable as the Millenium Falcon, could get under the 1 million nuyen price tag. In SR4 you're generally capped at 250,000 and there just isn't a way to make that happen, unless you sweet talk the GM.

Next up the amphibious Tilt wing aircraft. In effect this is a poor mans T-bird, as it can do most of the same things. I'm pretty sure you can get something via custom rules in rigger 3 to fit your budget. Or just tell the GM what you roughly want it to do and ask them to make something that fits your price tag. GMs love doing that, they won't feel you're being munchy, and since they made it they may be less likely to blow it up. biggrin.gif

Otherwise a sub might be fun. You can't afford a real sub, but the minis are in your range. And subs can be fun, and are actually probably the best at getting somewhere undetected, just make sure your sub can get deep enough to put a couple thermoclines between themselves and surface ships so you don't show up on active sonar. And make sure it's at least up to repelling oceanic paracritters. I doubt many GMs could resist having a megaloden come after you at some point.

But maybe little boats and things are more your speed. Also if it's short ranged land based smuggling that's something else entirely. Also note that many of the hovercrafts can operate on the water and on land. Actually any hovercraft can do both if the land/water is flat enough. I'd strongly advise amphibious capabilities again. If the seas get rough you want to be able to just set down in the water and kick on the outboard. But don't forget that on land the things can't handle sharp inclines.
Solomon Greene
Don't overlook the helicopter option, either. A good 'copter can carry tons of cargo, give you the option of vertical take-off and landing and has pretty decent range. The only problem with most cargo choppers is that they are fragile or at best have a big weakness due to the rotors.

The Dragon (I think I'm remembering right - double rotor helicopter? Dragoon, maybe? I'm at work and bookless) has been mentioned as a capable smuggling vehicle.
Helicopters are of course the classic runner vehicle. With the Stallion probably being the most likely vehicle to see a group of PCs flying around in since at least second edition.

And the Dragon got a nice relative speed boost in SR4, so if your GM doesn't like using rigger 3 or making up their own vehicles you'd be able to actually outrun a lot.

Also I forget what its rigger 3 endurance is. But real world double props can have 1000 mile or slightly better ranges. Which is plenty for operations where you're staying in and around the Philippines.

Oh and I guess if your GM is a stickler for SR4 availibilities/rules and such you could run into trouble with a tilt wing. The SR4 book puts availibility at 16 (easy to get in game, but can't have at chargen typically), also the SR4 book only gives stats for helicopter mode though you could just use the Cessnas numbers for Airplane mode. You shouldn't have any troubles if you can use rigger 3 though.

Honestly choppers are used so much it just seems booring for a smuggling campaign to me. sleepy.gif
I could bribe and blackmail to get a T-bird I think. However, it really wouldn't fit in with the 'low level' feel of the campaign I think. Besides, knowing my GM even if I can get one doesn't mean I'll get to keep it for long.

The Ares Dragon's a cargo copter and it is what I was looking at but its pricetag is a bit but it should have enough range and flexibility to make shipments. The problem is of course that it's way too visible, by that I mean if someone sees a machine like that where they're not supposed to be it's going to raise alarms fast.

For Choppers the Hughes WK-2 and the Ares TR55C also appear to be doable. They're common enough, but again since this is occupational forces of Japan in the Philippines they may just stand out.

There was another option, the single engine craft. Way less cargo space and load capacity, but they're apparently commonplace as air taxis:

The Dornier Europa or the Fiat-Fokker Cloud Nine, something similar should be available in the Hong Kong region.

The problem is landing them.

I'm looking mainly to run guns and we may be able to pool the resources of four people together, so something in the ~1,000,000 nY range should be doable. But again nothing too fancy.

Subs... now that has some promise.

A lot to think about.
There are several basic smuggling options:
  • Speed Magic can do great things. Specifically, if you can summon a Force 5 spirit with movement you can multiply the speed of your vehicle by 5 times. That means that you can take a Cessna 172 from Phnom Penh Cambodia to Yangon Burma in 27 minutes. If that's not enough time for intervening groups of blockaders to respond, then you're going to get your cargo to destination.
  • Corruption Bribery, contacts, and Alter Memory can all get someone to mark your shipment as already approved even if it hasn't been. Remember that Alter Memory is essentially only effective when you are alone with another person because other people in a group will be able to tell that you are casting spells.
  • Camouflage: Big There's a lot of legitimate mercantile traffic and nation states don't even have the authority to stop or check the contents of shipments under the auspices of extraterritorial megacorps like Shiawase or Ares. If you can successfully convince people that you're megacorporate property, only pirates will mess with you.
  • Camouflage: Small Civillians travel all the time and rarely have anything really worth taking from the standpoint of a government or major corporation. Civillians get only a cursory run-down from customs. If you can convince them that you are not a terrorist, you can bring whatever valuable microchips you want inside some shoddy video recorder.
  • Complete Invisibility If they don't know that you're crossing the border at all, they won't do anything about it no matter what you look like. Concealment is the best bet here as it subtracts from dicepools of all kinds of sensors. Unfortunately, anything you do magically to make yourself harder to see on the physical makes you easier to see on the astral. Know the border you're crossing, as some places have Watcher Patrols and lighting yourself up like a christmas tree on the astral is actually counter-productive to stealth.

QUOTE (sunnyside)

T-bird. These are what the really hotshot smugglers of the SRsetting use. They are the Millenium Flacons of shadowrun. Kind of even look like it too. Capable of vertical take off and landing, respectable cargo space, heavily armored (and usually heavily armed), and to top it all off they're able to outrun anything except a jet fighter.

T-bird range is insanely short. You pretty much can't even be over the horizion without having many barrels of jet fuel and several to many minutes to refuel. And it's a combat vehicle, which means they will be willing to immediately go to massive deadly force, like PBWs or orbital lasers. There is a reason why people don't try to smuggle stuff using Mig 23s.
Frank(inadvertently) gives a great example of what I mean by "feel out your GM"

The first time you tell your GM that the mage summons a spirit and now your tilt wing does Mack 3 there will probably be a look of shock on his face if he'd never thought of it before, especially if you spring it mid adventure to outrun his careful trap. This will be followed by them flipping through the rulebook and staring at it for a while. And then the wheels will be turning. After all every world power has spirits, and probably has research into them, so it's just stupid that your team is the only group in the world doing this. And what other effects might it have? So your gameworld will now be morphing and adjusting around you. You'd want to know ahead of time what will come out.

Likely outcomes:

House rule: You can't use movement on vehicles and such things. Or general redo of movement, which is a weird power in the first place.

Threatens you into wanting your own house rule: GM points out that from now on all well funded corp/japanese missles do 180DV because of the massive velocity increase. Corps will start off with standard modern day high speed missles, and use spirits to accelerate them to mach 24. Which will vaporize your vehicle and the entire party on impact. If the party says. "We just want to play it RAW" consider yourselves dead. Probably in the next five minutes. Because that mach 24 missle will be on you so fast he will give you a massive penalty on your surprise roll and therefore you won't get to even dodge.

"Light" house rules: He says something like the movement power doesn't actually increase your momentum it just folds space or teleports you or something. Whatever. So weapons aren't any better. It's just that some vehicles have them and some don't. However using it regularly will draw lots of attention to you, and everyone else uses it too now. Also it's standard procedure to knock the spirit providing the power out via astral combat.

"Reality hurts" interpritation. Rules the increase velocity causes all sorts of problems. For example if your plane hits a flock of seagulls at mach 3 you're in deep stuff. Similarly missles can't guide themselves, weird wind sheer effects cause bullets to go off target. Any jet engine will stall out/flame out instantly due to air velocity going through it, lift gets ridiculous so airplanes of any kind have all sorts of trouble. Land vehicles have to make crash tests all the time, because they're going way way to fast. People on foot have to roll dodge to avoid high speed trees. Etc Etc Etc. This relegates the power to special circumstances.

Also under "feeling the GM out" you may want to know how often spirits are used in blockades. It could be that if you are ever detected you'll be swarmed by 20 force 4's. Everyone handles this a little differently.

EDIT: @ kzt. I'd need to look it up but I do remember that range is an issue with those things. Though I think it's fine in the Philippines, as they also have the ability to carry large amounts of fuel, and the typical ranges aren't that long.

Regardless the T-bird is unavoidable when talking about smuggling in SR fiction. For example I think on the official site the only smuggling related story is.

Ditto smuggler havens. Ditto many novels.

Some reasons for this are that T-birds are NOT exlusivly a military vehicle. At least in previous editions it was clear that corps had them. They're just a really nice courier vehicle. Like a helicopter but they'll get there faster and they're a lot more likely to make it in one piece.

Secondly their standard operating regime is Nape of Earth. Making them hard to detect with radar or sonar. Particularily above land that is sparsely populated.

Still I will admit they tend to raise eyebrows in urban areas if magic isn't used to conceal them.
One other thing for the Smuggler mage. Vehicle mask in Street Magic is very necessary.
Well my GM just got back to me on the budget; seems it's relatively unlimited though still comparably "small time". Meaning we can get a handful of vehicles for free but will have to make something like a T-bird a long term goal if it's at all possible.

The campaign will put us in the middle of the rebellion so eventually corp assets will be available to us; one way or the other.

As for movement, I don't think I can get away with multiplying speeds by that amount. It's damned interesting and even if magic would hold a vessel structurally together while under Movement you sure would be lighting up someone's radar.

I was thinking of something a bit more subtle. Like a Sailboat with an Air Spirit blowing mildly on it, not to the point of even doubling its speed but to make sure that its sails are always full no matter the direction you're facing.

Also, the assumption is that the traffic around the Philippines is heavy, far heavier than today. So hiding in plain sight could work as there'd be plenty of boats and ships and choppers and personal fliers going to and fro.

I just wish there was a Turn to Goo-like spell for objects. You're shipping slurry? Ugh, get the hell outta here!

"Light" house rules: He says something like the movement power doesn't actually increase your momentum it just folds space or teleports you or something. Whatever. So weapons aren't any better. It's just that some vehicles have them and some don't. However using it regularly will draw lots of attention to you, and everyone else uses it too now. Also it's standard procedure to knock the spirit providing the power out via astral combat.

This isn't even a house rules interpretation. Movement has never increased the damage of weapons. It just gets you from point A to point B in less time. So no super missiles or movemented bullets from sniper rifles.

You use up less fuel (because you're running the engine for less time), and you get there faster. That's it. Having it do anything else (such as increasing impact damage) is a house rule that is extremely fucking dangerous.

You might want to ask him(possibly leading him a little) what vehicles are considered common. For example maybe amphibious tilt wings are common. Or maybe amphibious planes are common (I would expect that in the Philippines) and the tilt version is less common but can blend in until it goes to chopper mode.

If your GM considers it easy to get from here to there with ships you could get a larger slow ship. And then have ground vehicles land to do that part of the job (this is also what a sub might have to do. Tow the ground vehicles and cargo with floats behind it and then have them go up on a beach somewhere in the night).

EDIT @Frank. Hmmmmm I forgot in SR4 ramming damage stops going up after 200 meters per turn, which is what the super missle would be based off. Something with body 2 or 3 going at ~5000 meters per combat turn. So technically the mach 24 missle wouldn't work, except for surprise and vastly increase range. Although it does seem silly that increased velocity stops affecting ramming damage.

Still it looks like two wrongs have made a right after all.
Oh how I wish Shadowrun had Technical Readouts like CBT...

My current plan I'm going to propose is to take a less hardcore approach to smuggling. For example, a River Commander or a Swordsman would be a pleasure boat for hire; tourists and such go on board. The "shipping" company would have a Sendako Marlin too, also for hire, and a pair of Nightrunners for escort duty.

All of which could traverse the seas well enough and would allow for more seaborne... ventures. However this would limit us all to sea bound vessels, so I think we gotta settle for the Marlin with a pair of Nightrunners. Then maybe a Cessna or an affordable Tilt-wing/Rotor.

Then of course we'd get access to ground vehicles which aren't going to be ours. Plus our own personal vehicles which would be the only ones that would cost BP.

I take it Vehicle Mask is like Physical Mask for vehicles? I haven't spent too much time with Street Magic.

Is there any way to not make the vessel stand out astrally?

Now, I might as well try to figure out WHAT to smuggle besides just AKs.


Oh to clarify things a bit the campaign takes place after the recall of Japanese troops from the Philippines. So security isn't as tight as it used to be but it's been replaced by corp mercs.

Hence the relative openness here.
so wait... what's wrong with the hovercraft again? the one that is designed for commercial uses such as delivery vehicles, but can also be converted for passengers and such iirc?
Not much really, I may buy it for my character actually. It's got plenty of room and such, and I don't know if it'd stand out in the seaways between Hong Kong and the Philippines.

In fact, it's probably preferred since they'll be going in rivers and such. The Marlin, the hover truck, and the two Nightrunners would be flexible enough.

Do such hovercraft go on the open ocean to head out to other countries?
well, it's not an extremely large vehicle or anything... i mean, it's got a body attribute in the same range as a delivery van... which i take as a rough indicator that it probably has a similar size to said delivery van. so, i figure about the size of one of those U-haul moving trucks that are the smallest size (of U-haul, that is)... so i dunno, 25-30 feet long, about 10 feet wide (maybe 12? i dunno) and about 10 feet high (including wheels etc on the truck, so including the skirt on the hovercraft i guess)

i don't see that exactly going across the ocean... but if you were considering a sailing ship, i don't see how this would be any less capable of travelling from island to island than that at least =)
A local asset probably. A sailboat or maybe the River Commander would unload somewhere with the hovercraft nearby.

In fact, the GMC Everglades would be able to take the cargo of the River Commander plus whatever else is tucked inside the other vessels.

Nothing too fancy... I like it.

Probably something we'd use instead of a normal wheeled van as our shadowrunning ride.

Now to convince the other players and the GM!

I think of it kinda like

Thouhg maybe using something more like a small jet engine than the fan. Looks like they're passibly oceanworthy in fair weather. However I would make sure yours was sealed so if you do end up rolling in the water you don't sink. Such as if you get caught out in a storm.

Still the hovercrafts primary enemy is a slope.

Rigger 3 I think actually has a specific rule as to what slope you can handle.
has some real world info.

As for the philippines a topographical map is at

So you can see there are some nice lowlands around some rivers that the hovertruck would probably deal with just fine more or less. However there are plenty of mountains and those probably have roads designed for cars but that a hovercraft simply can't handle.

Hmmm, If you have other vehicles you could tow the thing. up the higher slopes.
The hardest thing to smuggle past is Spirits. There are several ways to neutralize spirits without disrupting them, which I'll skip from this since it isnt about smuggling.

When you are in a high-sec area you'll want to know if you're being tailed. Thats shadowing skill BUT when driving you use the LOWER of either Piloting_Skill+Reaction or Intuition+Shadowing. You'll need both skills high to notice the tail. A mystic adept with improved ability: shadowing might have an edge both at tailing others and avoiding tails. Note that with drones you could be tailing the person tailing you...

Secondly, you will eventually need to hide your vehicle from prying eyes without the use of magic. After all, it only takes 4 watchers very spread out in the astral to see a glowing car beaconing from a roadside stand of trees and screw up your run. Infiltration is limited by your skill in piloting the vehicle as well.

Lastly, your hacker may be the supreme person for breaking into a node and grabbing payday but his codeslinger, home ground, and specializations that allow him to be the cream-of-the-crop may not by even close to what a similarly focused character in Electronics Warfare could do to detect and jam those trying to dteect the smuggler.

A few tricks:

1. Spirits of Man with Innate Spell: Interference.
2. Detect [Object] specified as Detect [Sensors]. Worthless in a city but in the country or at altitude can even detect Sensor RFID tags. [Since detection spells dont require LOS] Also good for detecting rigged vehicles and drones. Ever seen a rigged vehicle the rigger couldnt see out of? Bingo. smile.gif
3. Catalog spell. That way you can tell what your hauling relatively quickly. Dictate to an agent and have the agent compare it to a list of legality ratings so you know at an instant WHAT crates need hidden the most.
4. The Astral Static spell. When harassed by astrals, spirits, spells, spirit powers, it doesn't discriminate. Get enough hits with it and the area affected is damped from anything magical.
5. Consider having an unarmed infiltration. It really miffs guards with Detect Gun, etc.
Thanks for the pointers! My mage will be the secondary wheelman, we have a primary rigger that'll be overseeing everything technical. So my character's responsibility is on the magical/astral front.

But he'll still need all these Stealth/Vehicle skills which you guys thankfully alerted me to.

Ifyou could give pointers to mess about with Spirits I'd be even more obliged.

My previous experience amounts to killing a whole lot with a Street Sam so the nuances of magic and spirits are kind of lost to me.
How many players are in the group? How many NPCs are you thinking of adding to the team? This matters quite a bit for how broad you have to be.

Another defense against spirits is wards. You can make those yourself and the FAQ says you can cast them on vehicle. Note that this lights you up in astral though.

However if you're posing as a legitamite something this isn't really a problem, because warded vehicles are pretty common. Since vehicles are small any hedge mage and most physical adepts can toss out four wards a day that'll last weeks. When you're dealing with the magic 2 kind of people you can probably maintain a force 2 ward on a vehicle for 20 nuyen a week. Higher end magic 5 type people probably charge the text's 100 nuyen an hour for private users (amounts to a salary for them of 200,000+ a year). However their wards should last three weeks, so you're still only looking at ~170 nuyen a week to maintain that level 5 ward. Which isn't that much compared to the cost of gas for a courier operation. And some level of ward would almost be criminal not to have on something like a passenger airplane.

A ward keeps spirits/mages from just poking their noses in your stuff. It also makes it harder for things to use their search power on you, which can be very very important.

There'll be 4 players plus a GM which is the group that usually stays after a CBT session. There may be 2 more players that drop in every now and then; they'll be part of the NPC group that'll tag along. These wouldn't be anymore than 4 more at most, two of whom would be semi-PCs.

The characters so far:

Rigger/Hacker - Ork, deals with the technical stuff. Primary wheelman, also mechanic, and drone rigger. Does online transactions.

Mage/Face - My character's human. Vast skill repository of nefariousness; mediocre really. No combat spells to start things off. Secondary wheelman, primary face, totes heavy weaponry and automatics.

Since he wasn't going to be throwing Manaballs and such I figure a Grenade Launcher with Burst Fire with an Airburst Link would work wonders. I know I'm spreading my points around but it's nice to have lots to do.

"Bruce" - A walking cliche, hand to hand adept specialist. Backup astral combatant with the astral perception stuff. Primary infiltrator and medic.

Sam(antha) - Has contacts with black market firearms suppliers and any gear we may need. Has a 'fascination' with guns. Crazy-Ass-Bitch in other words. Also a gunner.

The other two are as of yet undecided. One is going to be a Combat Mage for sure, however. And we could use a secondary Hacker/Rigger.

The NPCs are of the "guerilla" archetype; automatics, lots of perception and stealth, vehicle handling. They're meant really as guards, we're not to rely on them.

And I suspect they may have Huk/Masaru affiliations as they're apparently both filipinos.

All the characters had a few points in Stealth, Athletics, and one type of firearm.

So you may be the only magical support huh?

Sounds like you've mostly picked your char. Make sure your assensing rolls are solid though. You may need to know what's out there. And you and the adept may be the only ones with a chance at it. And it doesn't sound like the adepts good at that.

I'd advise making sure you can build up a nice supply of bonded spirits (have the right stats for summoning and resisting the drain, maybe a focus or something). The reason is when smuggling trouble can be big and you'll need to deal with it.

Also you may occasionally need to track back a made who has a spirit trailing you. And only your spirits will be able to affect their material body. You hope that doesn't come up though.

And yeah make sure you have any spell mentioned in this thread.

Maybe also influence.

Oh and the face thing is important. Really it'd be better if you had a specialist. Fast talking security could be absolutly huge. You may have a high charisma for spirits. So that's go well with the social skills. But a social adept could be really useful.

If you must be the face maybe play a female? Could help.
I can never roleplay a female well. Honestly. I've tried from AD&D and so on and I've never been able to be convincing as a female.

Which in all honesty is okay with me.

But yeah, the points cost is driving me a little batty. I have Conjuring and Sorcery, Pilot Ground Craft/Watercraft, Gunnery, Heavy Weapons and Automatics (I think I can drop one of those), plus all the other fun stuff like Athletics, Stealth, Dodge and Perception, etc.

Then there's Astral Combat and the spells... I've had to go full-on 35 negative qualities just to fit it all in and I still don't have enough for reliable contacts.

I think our Sam could double as a Face, in which case I'll put minor points in to back up and handle other things.

We tried to build in redundancy with our choices and originally I was going to play a less... violently inclined Mage who had the points for it. But since he's driving, shooting, casting, summoning, etc., he may be a bit pressed to keep it all up.

No wonder he's moderately addicted. To what I don't know yet.
QUOTE (Marwynn @ Jul 9 2007, 01:49 PM)
I just wish there was a Turn to Goo-like spell for objects. You're shipping slurry? Ugh, get the hell outta here!


When I read this, I started envisioning a freighter that gets stopped for inspection and all it contains are barrels upon barrels with toxic labels on them and if one is opened all the inspector sees is goo. In fact, it's a people smuggling operation... or a slave ship, etc...

A rather easy transport really, the passengers can't complain. You can tell an intervening party, sure take the damn toxic materials if they really want them, no skin off your back, taunt the eco radicals that if they sink the ship it's their fault (then again, you probably can't reason with them... then again, they may be toxics).
Here's my character so far. I haven't finished up the knowledges/languages yet.

He has about 14,500 nY left to spend on gear. The tilt-wing aircraft, a tourist passenger craft, is not his nor the group's--the smuggling is done on the side to start off with.

It caters to the middle-management types for the corporate world; sailing, low level flying, even off-road biking. And the Philippine islands are sort of a guilty pleasure for many.

At least that's the initial plan.

Critiques would be appreciated.

[ Spoiler ]

i would pick a different negative quality over criminal SINner.

the last thing you need as a smuggler is extra attention when you're crossing borders.
You may be right there. I think Spirit Bane might work out, seeing as how my character may be one of two characters that can deal with Spirits.

What do you think of the skills? Or the spell selection?
1) dump the driving skills. a better backup would be to have a rating 3 pilot installed on the vehicle. similarly, i would dump the gunnery skill... again, use a pilot program for better results. gunnery is fine, but you shouldn't need to operate vehicle mounted guns, because the drone pilot can handle that quite nicely (in fact, if you were to invest in a rating 4 pilot and autosoft, and a response chip at rating 4, and a maneuver autosoft 4 in each area you were supposed to be the backup driver for, i would say you'd have a much more skilled backup driver, generally speaking). if your group is determined to have a secondary meat pilot, probably the sammy would be the better choice, imo... even if he has to rely on skillwires! (and if the sammy doesn't have skillwires, then he's missing something... )

2) boost the spellcasting skill, again imo. add in a few more spells... for example, with your dependance on mechanical objects, fix will do wonderful wonderful things for you. i might also consider magic fingers, personally, but there's plenty of good choices (hush, for example, will make it easier to sneak around)

3) this is more just a point in support... people may suggest you don't take the conjuring group, and instead just take summoning and binding. this is because *normally* you can just manabolt a spirit, and not need to worry about banishing. you don't have manabolt, stunbolt, or any other bolt for that matter. keep banishing around, you may need it wink.gif

now, i doubt you're really gonna follow all that advice... (no matter how good it is from a min/max perspective)... but, if you do, might i suggest you kill two birds with one stone? get yourself a talismonger contact, and smuggle magical supplies. if you do this (and if you follow the suggestions above) you may also wish to consider boosting your survival skill a bit, picking up some appropriate gathering skills (knowledge skills, iirc... zoology, geology, etc) and adding enchanting into your skillset somewhere.

i would also tell the rest of your group to have something smuggling related... honestly, are you the only person who's looking at smuggling contacts? that's just silly. if they are anything more than hired muscle, they should have a few contacts themselves, otherwise what is it that makes them a smuggler?

as for negative qualities, you might consider an allergy. i would also hesitate to take bad luck... that can literally get your character killed instantly. i would instead consider, perhaps, gremlins? certainly, it is similar in it's own way to bad luck (which keeps the theme of your character) without being a death sentence... but that's just me. incidentally, you aren't showing your magician positive quality anywhere wink.gif

now then, if you still have BPs left over, you might consider the mentor spirit quality... always nice to get a bit of help in that department. you may instead wish to consider focused concentration, or boosting your drain attributes. you may even wish to consider picking up some light cyber (dropping your magic to 4 isn't nearly as bad as it sounds, in your case... limiting yourself to 4 hits isn't generally that bad, and since you don't rely on combat spells for offense... and it's not like you were going to bind anything much bigger than force 4, especially with that bad luck negative quality you were considering...)

also, if you intend to keep your contacts being those two, i would bump the loyalty down 1 to increase connection rating. your basic street level fixer and fence have connection ratings of 3. at rating 2, you're looking at someone who is barely above a nobody (gang members who have no special rank within the gang) (the best example of a rating 1 connection i've ever seen was for a gang campaign, and it was a homeless guy who would buy beer for underaged gang members =P )

but that's just me.
Thanks I'm definitely gonna look over the skills there. I'm definitely going to recommend the installation of an autopilot on both the watercraft and the plane. But I'll need to ride around with an offroad motorbike so I'll keep 1 point there.

If I have that installed will it respond to my commands? Because I was actually thinking my character could be more of the tourist guide while he's flying in some corporates on a weekend tour to a beach resort.

The Sammy does have Skillwires so we could buy her the autosofts I think.

We all have smuggling contacts with just a handful of more standard shadowrunning contacts. Could be a bit more balanced if we can use the 2 part timers' contacts too.

Now, smuggling magical supplies... that's an angle I hadn't actually thought about!

I'll be going back to the chargen with that, thanks Jaid!

And thank you all again for helping out with this quirky stuff.
Alright I'm also in the "drop the low level pilot/heavy/gun skills" camp. Level 1 is just enough skill to get yourself into trouble. And level 1 dodge is really fairly pointless. Well I suppose maybe since you don't have any H2H skills. If anything consider unarmed 1 instead.

Remember you're the only mage, and I don't know how much you can count on the adept in the astral. If anyone gets to make an assensing roll it's you. And if you blow it, that's it. So I'd get some more points there and in spellcasting. And maybe having at least one combat spell would be good.

As for flaws.

Instead of using ones from the book consider asking your GM to come up with some for you.

Frankly I don't like that flaws are typically things people take for extra BP and then try to minimize. They really don't add to the game.

For example if I was the GM your flaws might looks something more like:

Moderate addiction: Cram (-10BP) (from being a smuggler too long)
Sucker for the ladies (-10BP) Your character can't resist spending time with/picking up women. Additionally you can't seem to say no to them. -1 to -9 die to any opposed social test with a female, depending on how attractive they are if they are between 16 and 45 (human years), -6 being for your average female. The same modifiers apply to a willpower +logic test to resist picking up/spending time with women if the opportunity presents itself. Women will tend to figure out that you have this flaw quickly.
Cursed luck: (-15BP). Before the session the GM should set a timer (preferably randomly) and conceal it. When the timer goes off something goes wrong for the character in whatever endevor he is currently persuing. For example if they are in combat a sword attack, in addition to regular damage, may cause a limb to go flying. If they are sneaking around an urban environment they may suddenly be grabbed by a large troll in the ally with them who says. "You are Purdy, I'm going to make you squeal like a pig". This should not outright kill the character, nor particularily hinder the other members of the party if it can be helped. Additionally try not to have it take up a significant amount of game time.

See to me those would be a lot more fun. I've got a feeling most GMs would like to come up with stuff like that if given the option. Maybe your GM would enjoy those for all I know.
QUOTE (sunnyside)
Cursed luck: (-15BP). Before the session the GM should set a timer (preferably randomly) and conceal it. When the timer goes off something goes wrong for the character in whatever endevor he is currently persuing. For example if they are in combat a sword attack, in addition to regular damage, may cause a limb to go flying. [snip...] This should not outright kill the character, nor particularily hinder the other members of the party if it can be helped. Additionally try not to have it take up a significant amount of game time.

what world are you from that having your limb chopped off in the middle of a swordfight isn't going to be lethal in 9 out of 10 situations?

anyways, strictly speaking a motorbike has a pilot rating, and can therefore take commands, so you could theoretically ride that.

as far as assensing, i don't think you need to worry about it all that much... spirits are naturally fairly good at assensing. not saying you should dump it, just saying it's not the end of the world if you don't have it insanely high, imo.
Okay this is my 15th full revision of my "Mage". But this time, he's a Mystic Adept.

Upon further consultation with the boys and girls they've okayed my character's transition from an "everymage" to the Face-Mage. He doesn't have the most reliable of contacts, after all who trusts a gun runner?, but he's slick when he's not bumbling.

My GM's okay with Bad Luck. Won't turn it into a killing quality since that'd just be silly. But deals turning sour? Inappropriate coughing due to his uncommon allergy being present for no reason? Etc.

No one in the group has an edge over 3 since we're mostly human and the last time my Sammy was just too awesome with it.

I don't recall which skill or quality a Mystic Adept needs to perceive astrally so I put it in there.

Some points are still free here and there.

I've taken a lot of the suggestions here by the way. He may not have the survival/tracking skills necessary but one of the other fellers will so if I have to harvest anything it'll be doable.

[ Spoiler ]

Still incomplete, lacking Knowledge and Language skills until it gets fleshed out.

I was also thinking of casting Mana Static and Interference together or at least in the same area as a getaway.

And I decided that having Manabolt would be prudent. There may be times where I not be allowed to have any guns around, even concealed, so I figure one all purpose damage spell should work out.


Oh, and his adept powers! I thought it'd be cheaper to go this route by boosting his physical stats. He doesn't manifest a lot of offensive spells, just Manabolt, so I figure his innate magic makes him better at other stuff. Even if he has a rather pathetic Pistol skill.

By my count he could go from 5 dice plus 1 to 6 for Semi-Auto pistols by boosting Agility (have I got that right?) and so on.
Just to make sure you know. You can target spells though a number of those enhancements. Anything digital stops you from being able to cast a spell through it. You've gotta have the origional photons hitting your retinas.

So you can see in thermo. That's fine, it's a good idea. It's just that if it's totally dark in a room and you can only see someone with thermo you won't be able to bolt them.

Oh and you know that in the errata attribute boost is a simple action. I don't think that makes it bad. Just wanted to make sure you knew.

I don't think that body boosting will be all that useful. Maybe put a point into kinesthetics(sp?) or something to help your facing.

Also mystic adepts have to spend a power point to gain access to astral space (I.e. it isn't a quality it's something you'd get instead of all those boosts).

Ahh that's what it was, thanks. I free up that Astral Sight BP at least and I'm down another Magic Point.

I was vaguely familiar with the Magic LOS rules. More or less: you can only cast something that is directly observed without electronics. So the Mage goggles are okay since it's a lens attached to a fiber optic cable but with a -3 dicepool mod. The rest are just there for the Predator's Smartlink.

I hope I didn't forget to add the Smartlink.

The other route was a Magician who had Magic 6 but used implants. Didn't like that as much as this guy.

Oh well, plenty of time still. Thanks again.
you need an assaying kit, iirc, for collecting enchanting supplies... a shop even would be a good idea, imo, for processing them...
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012