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Ten Suns
Hey, Dumpshockers,

We’re getting ready to play SR4 in the crazy, hyper-saturated media environment that is LA, and I’m stoked at the prospect of playing my first character who’s 1) a troll, and 2) not magically active (not a mage, really). I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, though, so I thought I’d ask ye oracles of Dumpshock to hammer on him until he breaks.

The game, like all of ours, is starting at closer to street level – 350 BP instead of 400.

The character – let’s call him Nestor for the moment – is a Mestizo troll born in Aztlan whose family came to LA as a small child. He’s conflicted in his attitudes toward Aztlan, which he recognizes has severe problems but takes national and ethnic pride in nonetheless (think IRA). In his community, he’s known as a local tough guy with a creative side; he makes overtly Mexican-style art like painted woodcarvings and, in particular, tattoos (his “official? job). He has close ties to La Emme that probably stem from his both tattoo work and his amateurish shadowrunning.

Personality-wise, I see him as very concerned with his masculinity, but at the same time both gentle and gentlemanly. He’s the kind of guy who tries to do what needs to be done for others, but refuses to become a complete pragmatist in his personal habits.

Some points:

As the last character getting built, Nestor is gonna have to have the potential to become a combat powerhouse. We’ve got a sneaky/athletic adept, a mage of unspecified tradition (I’m crossing my fingers for Santeria), a pure hacker, a social adept, and a guy who basically wants the skillset of CJ from San Andreas.

I don’t know if it matters how strong he is, but he’s got to be tough. In the crappy performance art group that is also our shadowrunning team (that’s LA for you), his role will largely be Jackass-style stunts of human endurance.

I want him to be an Edge monkey.

I’d like him to have a secondary area of competence, but concept-wise, I’m a little hard-pressed to figure out what to do. The only thing I know is needed is somebody who can deal with underwater stuff (important for LA). Any ideas what a good secondary or tertiary area would be, given the character background, would be much appreciated.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

BOD 8
AGI 4
STR 6
REA 3
WIL 3
LOG 2
CHA 3
INT 4
(170 BP)

Edge 5
(40 BP)

Race: Troll (40 BP) (ouch)

Active Skills (flying by the seat of my pants here)
Heavy Weapons: 4
Unarmed: 3
Athletics Skill Group: 3
Perception: 3
Dodge: 3
Diving: 1
Artisan: 1 (Tattooing: 3)
Con: 1

(78 BP)


Knowledge Skills:
History (Central America):
LA Gangs (Aztlan/Hispanic gangs):


Contacts:
Mexican mafioso: 4/5
Fixer: 3/2
(14 BP)

Qualities:
Bilingual (I saw this on the Hacker build thread – can anybody tell me where it’s from?) (5)
SINner (criminal record): +10
Spirit Bane: +10 (I’m working out the details with my GM; this is a nice way to hang onto some of those magic-oriented plots I’m so used to)

(-15 BP)

Remaining for Gear: 23 BP (115,000) (wow, I wish it were more than this)
I’ve got no idea what ‘ware is appropriate, vital, etc.; I could REALLY use suggestions! I just don’t know that I don’t want skillwires.

Anybody game to help breathe some life into Nestor’s heavily tattooed frame?

EDIT: Wow. Way to double-post your first post, me. Could somebody trash the other one for me?
Tiger Eyes
You might consider a contact within Los Angeles Ardientes (Burning Angels) which are an Aztech/Anasazi allied gang--and one of the dominant gangs in the LA area, instead of the Mexican Mafioso. They're probably better connected and certainly more prominent in the media and culture of LA.

Bilingual is from Runners Companion - it lets you pick two languages as (N). I'd guess you'd probably pick Aztlaner Spanish & English?

For a second area of competence, consider buffing up your knowledge skills and becoming the guy who just knows everything about LA, specifically the underworld - you've got gangs already. How about adding in a few more: LA Neighborhoods, Organized Crime (LA), Media Corps, Water Routes, Fixers (LA), Drug Scene (LA)... etc, etc.

As for 'ware... just make sure it's flashy. wink.gif If you're into woodcarving, you might make yourself a mask to wear during your runs, as your signature style.
Glyph
Pretty good character, actually, solid both conceptually and numbers-wise.

For suggestions on cyberware/bioware, here is one possible layout

Cyberware:
> Cybereyes II with Flare Compensation, Smartlink, Thermographic Vision, and Vision Magnification
> Internal Air Tank [Alphaware]
> OXSYS Cybergill [Alphaware]
> Ultrasound Sensor headware
> Wired Reflexes: 2

Bioware:
> Biotattoos
> Muscle Augmentation: 1
> Muscle Toner: 2

Essense: 2.00
Remaining Resources: 37,700 nuyen.gif

It's a relatively cheap assortment of 'ware that buffs him up enough to be effective in combat, and also lets him function underwater (you could easily afford cyberfins, but I didn't think it was worth taking his Essense below that 2.0 mark).
Cthulhudreams
By not taking skillwires you are effectively gimping yourself. Skillwires are the biggest thing a street sammie brings to the table - you need an explosives expert? Acrobat? Fighter pilot? Skillwires puts it all one trip to amazon.com away.

Now, you can definately vote no on doing that, but I obviously strongly recommend them.

Secondly, as your not a driver, you don't need the dodge, athelics AND unarmed combat. Drop Dodge, put 12 BP into MORE MONIES

err, actually you don't have infilitration or any social skills. I'd advocate 1 level of infilitration, 1 level of negoitation or another social skill (equitte), and 4 BPs for gear.
Ten Suns
QUOTE (Tiger Eyes @ Nov 14 2008, 09:56 PM) *
You might consider a contact within Los Angeles Ardientes (Burning Angels) which are an Aztech/Anasazi allied gang--and one of the dominant gangs in the LA area, instead of the Mexican Mafioso. They're probably better connected and certainly more prominent in the media and culture of LA.


This sounds perfect. I know the GM wants to use my character as a vehicle for introducing La Emme into the game, but this way they can be an adversary rather than a resource, if need be.

QUOTE
Bilingual is from Runners Companion - it lets you pick two languages as (N). I'd guess you'd probably pick Aztlaner Spanish & English?


You guess correctly!

QUOTE
For a second area of competence, consider buffing up your knowledge skills and becoming the guy who just knows everything about LA, specifically the underworld - you've got gangs already. How about adding in a few more: LA Neighborhoods, Organized Crime (LA), Media Corps, Water Routes, Fixers (LA), Drug Scene (LA)... etc, etc.


I kinda did that in Seattle with my last character, so I want to give somebody else part of the glory. I probably should pick up "LA Neighborhoods," though. I was thinking about running a neighborhood blog on troll-accessible businesses.

QUOTE
As for 'ware... just make sure it's flashy. wink.gif If you're into woodcarving, you might make yourself a mask to wear during your runs, as your signature style.


What 'ware is flashy? I'm a little behind on that front.
Tiger Eyes
If you go with Glyph's very good suggestions, you could certainly get cybereyes that are flashy - pick a weird color, or some cool effect like making them glow when you want, or have small ads scrolling across them... wink.gif Also, the bio-tattoos are a great suggestion for an LA want-to-attract-a-fan-base runner.
Glyph
I missed it myself, but Cthulhudreams is right about not needing dodge. You have gymnastics: 3, from the athletics skill group, for dodging ranged combat. You have blocking, from unarmed combat: 3, for melee defense. The dodge: 3 skill is redundant.
Ten Suns
QUOTE (Glyph @ Nov 14 2008, 10:20 PM) *
Pretty good character, actually, solid both conceptually and numbers-wise.

It's a relatively cheap assortment of 'ware that buffs him up enough to be effective in combat, and also lets him function underwater (you could easily afford cyberfins, but I didn't think it was worth taking his Essense below that 2.0 mark).


This sounds like a pretty sweet set, thanks! I see the appeal of that Enhanced Articulation, but I might make that a goal to save up for in game.

Now that I think about it, I suppose internal vision systems (rather than goggles) would be really important for a character that does dives. I bet the goggles don't hold up too well underwater.
Ten Suns
QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Nov 14 2008, 11:30 PM) *
By not taking skillwires you are effectively gimping yourself. Skillwires are the biggest thing a street sammie brings to the table - you need an explosives expert? Acrobat? Fighter pilot? Skillwires puts it all one trip to amazon.com away.

Now, you can definately vote no on doing that, but I obviously strongly recommend them.


Yeah, yeah, I know. I don't know why it is that I have such an adverse reaction to skillwires. I guess they mess with the excitement of individual characters for me or something. But you'd better believe that I'd have them in a second if they existed in RL.

QUOTE
Secondly, as your not a driver, you don't need the dodge, athelics AND unarmed combat. Drop Dodge, put 12 BP into MORE MONIES

err, actually you don't have infilitration or any social skills. I'd advocate 1 level of infilitration, 1 level of negoitation or another social skill (equitte), and 4 BPs for gear.


Awesome, thanks. More money and/or basic human competence for me. I might shift one more point out of Perception and use that for money as well, depending on whether there's anything left I really want.
Ten Suns
QUOTE (Glyph @ Nov 15 2008, 12:05 AM) *
I missed it myself, but Cthulhudreams is right about not needing dodge. You have gymnastics: 3, from the athletics skill group, for dodging ranged combat. You have blocking, from unarmed combat: 3, for melee defense. The dodge: 3 skill is redundant.


I...did not know that. That's gonna make things a lot easier.

What do you guys think about Heavy Weapons as a primary destruction skill? I took it because I thought it sounded cool, not because I really know how to use it. smile.gif
Cthulhudreams
Weapon skills are a tough call, you can use pretty much whatever you want.

I use automatics on non combat characters. It is almost always the better because it works with both concealable SMGs through to automatic assault rifles for 'big guns required' moments.

However, your're making a character who lives by his firearms and melee combat capability, and for that, you're quite badly designed.

For example, for street samurai, I almost always go with a melee weapon (monowhips) and long arms, because the sniper rifles are extremely effective in 'big guns moments (argueably the best weapons in the game with APDS), and the monowhips is 100% concealable for moments when something low profile is required.

Your guy isn't great because he's okay for 'big guns' - an LMG or grenade launcher will sort out the men from the mice pretty fast - but what does he do when he cannot take a grenade launcher with him?

Punch people? For 3p damage? A holdout pistol does more damage.

And he's got another real bind - wired reflexes are illegal and show up on cheap cyberware scanners. Now, you're going to take a fake license, but you are always going to be super suspicious, never low profile.

Now, thats a fairly fundamental design flaw - but its a 'street level' game, so you might be able to get away with it. However, I'd strongly recommend dropping unarmed combat and taking exotic melee weapon and buying a monowhip.

Edit: Please note, I'm stomping all over your flavour concerns with my optimization notes, its your job to understand where your requirements for a balance between effectiveness and flavour is, and move towards that, I'm just highlighting purely mechanical issues with your character.

Also, I'm naturally pushing you towards biosammie concepts.
Glyph
If he gets that muscle augmentation: 1 and a pair of hardliner gloves, he'll be doing 5P damage, which isn't bad for a character who will likely only use unarmed combat in bar fights or when caught in close combat situations.

Heavy weapons is pretty versatile. You can use pistol-sized grenade launchers with flash-bangs or smoke grenades for (comparatively) low-key encounters, or upgrade to high explosive grenades, or a machine gun, for more serious encounters. Optionally, you could spend the 3 skill points that you have saved to get another ranged skill such as pistols.

I wouldn't worry too much about the wired reflexes - fake ID and fake licenses are the norm for runners, and any decent sammie probably breaks several laws just by existing. I like bioware myself, but I'm not sure too much high-grade stuff belongs in a low-level, 350 BP game.
Cthulhudreams
You're probably right. Good point about the hardliner gloves, definately recommend them, rounds you about a bit.
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