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Hi there. First post on dumpshock, having just recently got the shadowrun rulebook.

Now, to my problem: While I am perfectly capable of making Shadowrun characters (its easy enough, all you need in time and the rulebook), I'm going to be GMing, not playing, and my players don't have time and the rulebook... I could puppy-walk them each through character generation, but if I do that I can kiss goodbye to a playing session.

Thus, I enquire if there are any ways to speed up character generation in 4th edition Shadowrun? Any templates or anything that people use?
I could build templates myself, but I'd rather not repeat work somebody else has done.

Oh, and gear... that's going to be a pain, shopping for stuff off the long lists. Thus I ask if there are any fan-made "package" listings anywhere, or if there aren't, what sorts of packages of gear I should be working up myself?

Many thanks in advance smile.gif
It does not get faster than handing out archtypes. And honestly, giving your players enough information to make meaningful design decisions will cost you a session, minimum. It´s better to play a bit, and permit the (ex)change of characters at a later date.

Welcome to DS!

Community Project on Archtypes
Prime Mover
It's always nice to have multiple copies of your main rule book for any game. If the game takes off, take up a group wide collection for second copy. Can always use the templates in the book until you become more familiar. ( and I know many don't like the templates in bbb) Tables in back of the other core rulebooks if you have them for all gear,vehicles etc...

You could also if you have the free time make up about five templates to show variations. Sammie,hacker,caster,adept and one mix and match. Let them get familiar with the rules and if you can't get extra BBB's might have to loan copy out so players can work up a character on there own time?

Last resort, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and spend a whole game day putting things together and teaching some basic rules.
Thanks for the responses!

Its not the rules that are the problem. While my players are new, they pick up rules very quickly... its mostly the fact that character creation involves going through shopping lists of skills and gear.

Of course, that list of pregen characters will be a big help! Although I think I'd "undo" them a little, to allow for some customisation (at the very least, to let players pick a different metahuman type)

I've also been discussing this matter with folks on, and jointly came up with an idea re gear. Characters pick the items that are "essential" for their role, and thereafter roll Knowledge skill checks to have retroactively thought to have brought along any given item. The likelyhood of thinking of needing the item determines the Threshold ("Just likely is it that you thought to bring a complete encyclopaedia Brittanica into the middle of the Australian outback... I'd say that's a Threshold 8, chum") , while the maximum value of the item is determined by how many ranks you have of the Flash Gear quality. What do you think?
Personally, I dislike your houserule, simply because I am a gear whore. I lovingly and painstakingly comb through the gear portion everytime I make a character (and then have to relovingly and painstakingly comb through when I forget lifestyle/fake SIN/some other essential piece). However, the rule is quick and dirty, so it'll make creation that much more streamlined. I would go ahead and make them buy it as a skill depending on how broad you wanted to make it and of course they couldn't use it for certain gear like Cyberware, Vehicles/Drones, Weapons/Explosives (your choice on these, but I would make them choose these on their own), and Magical equipment (no pulling Arcane Labs and Lodge Materials out of your backside you know). If you leave it in the realm of knowledge skills, don't let them use their freebie knowledge skills on it. I know I'd just take a 6 and specialization in it so I would be unlikely to be caught with my pants down if you did. It'd kind of be a no brainer because there's nothing to fear if you've got the gear. By making that 6 cost them 12 build, they paid a good bit to make sure they had their hoops covered, and I think it's a fair trade off. Of course, your game man. As long as you all have fun, who can say you're doing it wrong. Also, make it limited by Threshold (based on rarity of item) and if it has a rating assigned at it, they get a Rating 1 for meeting the threshold, then each hit they achieve beyond the threshold raises the Rating by 1. If you allow them to use it for high value itmes, you could make it equivalent to meet Threshold = 5,000 nuyen.gif value and each hit beyong threshold increases it 2,500 - 5,000 nuyen.gif more. Just a thought to cut back on the, "Ooooo look, I have a Rating 6 Agent on my tricked out com with 6 attack and analyze."
Too bad for your players!

Personally, I think one of the most FUN aspects of Shadowrun is the insane amount of customization available.

It's FUN to spend an hour shopping for your gear and carefully choosing spells/cyberware/drones/guns/hacking programs!

But to each his own! Hopefully your players enjoy the game.
You also might want to consider picking up the PDF of the BBB and Arsenal if you can swing it. What I did (even though my group of 5 has 4 BBB's) was print out a character creation folio for everyone which contains pp72-88 (the chargen chapter), 110-111 (Skill lists) and 172-199 from Arsenal (the compiled gear list). This puts all the raw numbers right in front of you. If you need to look up something specific then you haul out the book but I find it cuts the length of time that I spend rolling up a character down by a significant amount just by cutting back on the page flipping. The gear list even tells you what page to find the full writeup of any particular toy on so it's even easier to find.

It also means that if you have 1 BBB among a group it's a lot easier to swap it around as needed rather than having each person spend 20 minutes to an hour clinging to it as they try and generate a character while everyone else stares off into space.
COuple things.

First to get them up to speed you can e-mail them the link to the quickstart rules.

Gotta give them kudos for making those.

Next you don't have to lose a session making characters if these people are your friends.

Tell them to read the quickstart rules and think about what sort of char they might like to be. Then get together one on one to make a character.

It'll use up some time, but it's fun, especially for them. And it'll make them more invested in their character.
Thanks again for all the responses, guys!

Drogos: yeah, I'll admit, the gear whore in me gets a little funny at the mention of that rule idea. And one of my players looooooooooooves gear shopping, so I probably won't use it anyway.

Imperialus: Ah, that's a good idea, there. *adds Arsenal to shopping list*

sunnyside: I admire any game system that has quickstart rules.
QUOTE (Zartes @ Jul 29 2008, 07:45 PM) *
mperialus: Ah, that's a good idea, there. *adds Arsenal to shopping list*

Basically the only things you still need the books for then are spell/adept power selection and cyber/bioware shopping. I don't bother printing them out because it starts to really up the page count of my 'quick' chargen folio.
Suggestion for you...

Give the players a set of pre-generated character, and work up a storyline involving those characters for a few game sessions...

Then kill them. Brutally.

Then let the players make up their own characters, and pick up the game from there, with the new PCs either following up on what the dead characters were working on, or investingating their deaths, or something.

Fun for you, fun for the players (maybe), and lets you teach them the game, lets you set up an interesting story (potentially).

You could always just download Daegaan's SR4 character generator. It does all the calculations for you. It may not have all the gear (which you can program in quite easily... just take time), but it makes characters REALLY quickly.
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jul 30 2008, 03:14 PM) *
You could always just download Daegaan's SR4 character generator. It does all the calculations for you. It may not have all the gear (which you can program in quite easily... just take time), but it makes characters REALLY quickly.

Oooo... now that is damned handy. Many thanks!
Just a suggestion: Use the pregenerated characters from Catalyst's free-to-download start-up encounter. They're on pdf and come with the picture from the rulebook, so they all look brilliant. In addition, there are two more sample characters available elsewhere on the website. They'll have some choice (which character do I most want to play?) and you'll save a lot of time. Your players will learn the game and decide what they like so that they can create something more personal next time around.

If you really wanted to box clever, you could actually run the scenario (it's set in a Stuffer Shack): it's a one-off encounter and, if they like their character, they can keep it. Alternatively, they can swap for another or generate one themselves. Your prepared run wouldn't be compromised by people switching characters half way through either.

In short, exchange pretty presentation for character generation (see what I did there? It rhymes...) rotate.gif
QUOTE (Zartes @ Jul 30 2008, 12:58 AM) *
Oooo... now that is damned handy. Many thanks!

You are quite welcome.

I use that program to make all sorts of characters. Hell there was a thread that we had a while ago about Sexual Fetishes and I made my cyber kitty sex slave/bodyguard. It was freaky, but cool in a sick sort of way.
QUOTE (Zartes @ Jul 29 2008, 11:58 PM) *
Oooo... now that is damned handy. Many thanks!

IIRC it doesn't have support for Augmentation/Street Magic though with cuts down on it's usefulness significantly.

I might suggest checking out It's not as pretty but it works well and has some extra beanies like a Build Points vs. Karma analysis for the powergamer in the group.
It has SM, not Augmentation or Arsenal. But it is able to have items dropped in. The only difficult part is dropping essence costs for...bah, quality leapt from my brain, but the one that reduces a type of ware by 10% essence cost (but you can account for that as well with the program).
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