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Our group doesn't really get its PK or character death on, but it is kind of nice to have backup characters in the wing of any game. Reasoning -

1. It always keeps the player guessing. If you have a character on the sidelines then a GM does not have to cheat the dice if a character just becomes hamburger, because of the rolls. It also makes the players more cautious (if needed) as they know their characters are not immortal.

2. Allows for players to create more then just one character with more then one stick. You can bring out the more stealthy character, or the crazy cyber sammie for a different run.

3. Players can then chose to mingle what character they want to play and or put a character in the background if they do not RP the character well (guilty of this one.) It also allows for better RP and different character interaction and if a character can be played out it makes for a way for different players to not get stuck just playing one type of character. Someone might want to play a mage, but are now pigeon holed to play the hacker, or street sam.

4. Gives the game more flexibility in ways that the players can pick and chose who they want, but also allow the GM to create a team as suited for a specific run. Also it allows some NPC usage of characters in the wing to help the party. For instance say you try to make a hacker and find out that the matrix rules are totally broken and stupid, but have luckily made a combat rigger mage (or something) suddenly the hacker becomes a valuable tool for the GM to use as an NPC as the "hacker" is trusted by the party (so you don't have to shove an NPC hacker down their mouths) while at the same time bypassing the matrix w/o having to make some random stuff up.

For example I had a rigger general/face who has now become an NPC and is now the contact that they go to, to help build most of their electronics and high end weapons.
I play at the same table as MasterofM. We haven't yet had a full PC death (though we've had one saved by burning Edge). If we do, then the story isn't stuck with a new-to-team character saying "Hi, we just met and we're outlaws but trust me anyways!", and the surviving PCs saying "Sure, stranger, we immediately trust you, which is a totally normal feeling for people who are grieving a fallen teammate and have just been deeply reminded that they're in a dangerous business."

I started with a troll rigger PC, my first ever Shadowrun character. After a while I figured I knew the game well enough to try an Awakened character. My new mage PC was introduced in a session in which the Johnson hired two separate teams, and my mage and MasterofM's rigger/smuggler were on team B. Later on, the main party hired team B, and I moved the mage to the "foreground" and the troll rigger to the "background", and now he's off doing other stuff away from the party... but if the mage gets geeked, I can re-introduce the troll rigger with a bit more story continuity.
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