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Hey all, I, Murdock, am back from the dead (after about a year of no posting and little SR playing at all....). Anyway, Im starting a new campaign with a few people new to the game. One guy wants to play a character based off Charles Bronson from the "Death Wish" movies, with no cyber, and no magic. Im using BeCKS for char generation, and am desiring tips and comments on how to make this guy an effective tank. Thanks for your help!
I... am desiring tips and comments on how to make this guy an effective tank. Thanks for your help!

solution: don't use BeCKS.

Edges are going to be your friend on this one. Off the top of my head, Pain Resistance, Lightning Reflexes, possibly Adrenaline Surge if you want to put up with the drawbacks, Toughness, Quick Healer, Bonus/Exceptional Attibute are some of the ones you may want to consider. Since they're not getting any cyber/bio or adept powers, you might want to cut them some fairly large leeway when it comes to buying edges otherwise they'll always be outclassed. And shotguns always seem to work well for characters like these - although that may just be my personal experience. smile.gif
Omer Joel
I don't have much experience with BeCKS, but overall you could get quite a big combat machine (if you want to power-game) or even better, a fixer (for a less combat powerful but socially ultra-powerful character) without cyber or magic. If you want to go for the Metahuman approach, use an Ork or Troll (an Ork is a good compromise, if you don't want to stick out physically); even a breeder (i.e. Human) could get quite a combat monster with high attributes (not only physical; a high willpower will help you defend against spells and will contribute to your combat pool, and with no cyber, you want a VERY big one smile.gif), and een more importantly, skills (6 in your weapon of choice and Unarmed/Brawling/martial arts, good "support" skills that fit your concept and "street-wise" skills as good ettiquete-street (sp) and approprite knowledge skills). Go for qulity gear; with no cyber or magic,you'll probably have atleast a decent budget to start with.
bonus attribute pt (body) and exceptional attribute (body) brings your starting body to 8 for a human. the high pain tolerance edge is so very, very worth buying at only 2 pts/box; quick healer is also insanely cheap at the same price. max out your points by taking bio-rejection (5 pts). compulsive (killing gangsters) and/or vindictive would also fit the character, as might combat monster and maybe bad reputation.
Actually, mfb, I thought you could raise attributes up to 2 beyond the normal racial max initially too. There is still a restriction in the chargen rules, however, stating that you can't put more than 6 points into any single attribute.
The easiest solution?
Buy a metric asston of skills. One of the players in my current game made an elven pistol-slinger, demolitions & electronics expert. She also doubled as the face for a long time, though these days we tend to trade off to keep people on their toes.

She has at least twice as many skillpoints as I do, and I don't think there's much of anything she can do that she can't do at least as well or better than my PC. She was also, at least for a long stretch of it, the most deadly of us at range.

Skills, man. It's all in the skills.
For a fairly well rounded character using 123 BPs, 5 edges + 5 flaws total 6:

Dwarf or Ork = 5 BPs

Biorejection is a given, an uncommon Allergy (or Phobia) at severe, Cursed Karma (sucks, but the points are good...), 2 flaws for a total of at least 4 points to flesh out the character. Magic Resistance 4, Ambidexterity IV, High Pain Tolerance 2 OR Aptitude(Pistols/melee weapon) OR Perceptive, Will to Live 3, Bonus Attribute. = 2 BPs

31 Attribute points (30+1) = 60 BPs
Dwarf: B 6, Q 6, S 6, C 5, I 6, W 6
Ork: B 7, Q 5, S 7, C 4, I 5, W 6

46 points for skills = 46 BPs
Pistols, Electronics, Electronics B/R, Etiquette, Stealth, Athletics, melee weapon skill, another suitable offensive skill(rifles, or martial art, for instance), Small Unit Tactics (vital to keep that initiative/combat pool up), Computer(Search Operations)...

30 or 25 points for knowledge skills + 9 or 7 for languages = 0 BPs
Choose wisely here, depending on the background and style of the character, and the type of campaign.

90,000 = 10 BPs
Basic gear; good armor, firearms with lasersight and good RC (mag scopes for long range weapons), smoke grenades, flashpaks, tools, biotech and survival gear - maybe some combat drug for the really desperate situations. Contacts!
Speak to the GM and have him cut you some breaks. If you have no cyber, bioware or magic you will be at a huge disadvantage under any character creation system currently in use.

I had a PC play a guy like this once before, he was someone who wasn't awakened and who would never use cyber or bio under any circumstances. I cut him a bunch of breaks on stat points, edges and skill points.

My suggestions would be:

1) Let him purchase Edges at half cost, allow him to take ones you might normally monitor closely such as aptitudes (he'll never center or have a smartlink) and ambidexterity. Let him get a whole bunch of exceptional attributes if he likes (recommend it perhaps!)

2) Give him some free attribute points, enough to have him in the 5-7 range for most stats anyway. He'll need it to survive.

3) Give him some bonus skill points, that way he'll have an area of excellence where he can sometimes outperform the stronger, tougher, faster guys around him.

4) Make him friends with the mage... he'll probably need the healing, especially if he's going to be a hero!

We had a guy in a campaign once long ago like this, he had aptitudes in a bunch of firearms skills, unarmed combat and computing. After enough karma he was a bit of a beast (B8, Q9, S8, C6, I8, W8), Unarmed Combat 10, Edged Weapons 8 (Katana 12) and the like. Of course his team-mates were always going to be a step ahead (magic, cyber, etc.) but he could hold his own! Especially with Karma Pool 20+!!!

Go for it, should be interesting!
Be sure he has intimidation 6, and maybe let him have an aptitude for it.

But... you cant be a tank in shadowrun without magic or tech enhancements. Your relevant stats will always be far lower than somone who does. You can be a tank for a regular guy, but thats it.
Herald of Verjigorm
Was bioware forbidden in this character concept?
I have a player following this route... I allow money for karma, so while your street sam is out spending his millions on the latest wires, the Tank is getting skills. and while having an augmented body has advantages, he'll come out way on top skill wise in the end. as he has nothing else to spend his karma and money on.

the PC is a rapper who wants to "keep it real" and still be a gangsta, has the best car, the best regualr gear, 7-8 contacts... he's more of a face than a tank, but the restriction is the same. good gear and lots of bought karma will tip the balance when it comes to karma pool also.

-Mike R.
I have to wonder at all the people that are suggesting 'giving him a break' or 'bonus points' to various things. Cybered/Magic-capable characters have to pay for their advantages, so in effect this character is already receiving bonus points, etc. That is the whole point of the way the chargen system is developed.

It's the player's choice to make a character like this, with the limitations set out. I don't think he should be treated any different than any other player who has a character in the same game.
I agree. There's also the significant benefit of being able to pass through security as an unaugmented mundane. That can be huge.

I can see the urge to give him bonuses in other types of games, though. In a mostly combat game this sort of character will fall behind. My current campaign, for example, is a cathartic all-asskicking departure from normal SR. This sort of character would become a grease spot in the first session. He would never be a bad enough dude to rescue the president. wink.gif
When everything is said and done, though, characters without magic/cyberware/bioware have the ability to put their energies into becoming a specialist such as few others are able. Skills (as noted), gear, stats (also as noted), and creative ideas are at LEAST as powerful as any other advantage that can be gained elsewhere. Play it right, give the player lots of opportunities to shine, and you'll have a star.
You won't ever be as tough as an awakened or cybered character with a mundane. If you want to play an unaugmented mundane, play to such a character's strengths - be a techie, a face, or a sniper/guerilla fighter. Actually, considering the points you will have with no magic and low resources, you could be all three.

But I agree with Fortune and Zazen that such a character shouldn't get any special breaks. Not only is it unfair, but it breaks the whole cyberpunk premise - becoming superhuman but trading in your humanity to do so. What's the point if you can just play a normal human with extra advantages? In fact, being inferior to awakened and cybered characters should be part of the roleplaying for such a character! He is the average Joe, who has to outsmart or outmaneuver the supermen.

By the way, I will go against the grain and say that the unaugmented mundane's skills don't balance out a sammie or adept's advantages. Both the sammie and the adept may not have a similar breadth of skills, but they will both have 6's in the skills that matter most, and will improve, skill-wise, at about the same rate as the unaugmented character. The sammie doesn't need to spend Karma, just nuyen, on new 'ware, and might even buy skills cheaper if he has things like muscle toner or a mnemonic enhancer. The sammie also has access to things like reflex recorders, or enhanced articulation, which give extra dice, or things like smartlinks and microscopic vision, which lower TN's. The adept has to juggle skill improvement with initiation, but can start out with improved ability: 6 - a lethal advantage in many situations. Even as a Jack of all Trades, an unaugmented mundane can be overshadowed by a sammie with skillwires: 6 and CED: 6.
eh. most gm's will ignore the 6-point limit when it comes to the exceptional attribute edge--by 'ignore', i of course mean 'forget about'. it's too weird; every other edge in the book is potentially useful right out of the starting gate, whereas exceptional attribute is suddenly only useful after earning 12 karma or more.
QUOTE (Glyph)
Even as a Jack of all Trades, an unaugmented mundane can be overshadowed by a sammie with skillwires: 6 and CED: 6.

According to the latest errata, the CED: 6 has bit the big one, thankfully! biggrin.gif
If you want to keep within the rules as written, possibly with a bit of rules bending on drugs...and you want to be able to stand toe to toe with the Street Samurai in a fight...

Prioritize attributes, then skills, take any meta, then resource. Max out body and willpower.

Go read the section in M&M on drugs.

Take the Natural Immunity(3) flaw for Kamikaze, Jazz, Cram, and Nitro. If you can't afford the 12 points for them all, prioritize the edges in that order. You may want to add more of the drugs, but those are the major initiative boostes. The important line in Natural Immunity is the words 'Ill effects'. One could interpret it referring to ill effects to mean that beneficial effects still accur. The 1 point edge that boosts your body by 1 for the purposes of resisting toxins or drugs is very useful in this case too. You can either take just one drug per combat or dope yourself to the gills with them all at once. In an emergency, you can take another hit and pray you don't get addicted. Obviously, being a dwarf makes the drug-strategy much more effective.

Don't forget the Night Vision merit.

Drug yourself silly on Anabolic Steroids, also in M&M. They cut the karma cost of raising your body to 1/4 and strength to 1/2, round up. You'll be arm wrestling trolls in no time, if you aren't one already. Be warned though, boosting your body means you can use drugs without risk less and less often.

For weapons, pick Shotguns, SMGs, or Impact Weapons. A sawed-off Defiance T-250 has the same conceal as most heavy pistols, so you've still got concealability when neccessary. For when fighting gets rough though, you'll want to pack a Spas-22. Yeah, it comes with a useless Smartlink-2, but it has 1 RC that no other shotgun can have. Slap shock pads and a Gas Vent IV on it and you have the 6 RC you need. The top mount goes to a Low Light/Thermal/Mag 3 combo, the bottom mount to an extended range laser sight. The laser sight can be swapped out for you wearing smart goggles and go to a grenade launcher or other underbarrel goody.

If you go the SMG route, you have a new best friend - Tracers. See, when beyond short range, every 3 rounds you fire gives you -1 TN. Put a laser sight on it too, as they are cumulative. Depending on how nice your GM is, you may be able to mount a scope too and frequently be firing with TNs lower than the tricked out Sammy. Since tracers only work at ranges beyond short, you may sometimes BACK AWAY from your enemies in order to be more accurate.

If you go the Impact Weapons route, get the Ranger-X Bow and Bow Accessory Mount, throw a Mag 3/Extended Laser/Thermal scope on it and get low-light from the Night Vision merit. You are now doing (Strength+4)M Impact damage once per turn. Your strength should, obviously, be very high if you're using this, such as from being a Troll who uses tons of steroids.

Skills...Pick the ones that people frequently forget, like Interrogation and Intimidation. You'd be surprised how often they're forgotten by PCs that need them for their concept.

Equipment, there's nothing particulairly special for the idea of a no-cyber no-bio char that you need to buy.
Thanks for the tips guys, just to clear some things up... I am the GM and no, the guy doesnt want bioware either. Im afraid mike (the player) is gonna have a rude awakening when even though he has several combat skills at 6, the first sammie with wires is gonna get him simply because he goes before, after, and again after his character in one combat round nyahnyah.gif
I'm totally against giving a guy who chooses this path any "breaks". But, there are a few suggested rules that can be ignored. The most important is the aptitude edge. Let a character take aptitude in a couple areas (he still has to pay the points of course), and don't worry about combat skills. Cutting his target number from 4 to 3 still doesn't equal an SGL.
I'd suggest specializing in melee. At least that way you don't get hosed by your lack of reaction boosts.
A guy with a strength of 8, aptitude:Clubs, and both the weapon and the off hand weapon skill will get to roll 9 dice without combat pool, against a TN of 3 and do 8m stun. That's pretty good, right? You could do the same with edged weapons and do more damage, but clubs walk right through metal detectors smile.gif And a non magic/cyber guy is all about being inconspicuous, right?
I disagree entirely. The character design system is geared totally towards characters who have cyber/bioware or are awakened (or some combination thereof.)

The only way you could really argue otherwise would be in the case of someone who takes maxed out skills and attributes at creation and slams in cyber/bio after a few runs. Even in this unlikely scenario you end up losing out - unless your GM hands out a million nuyen worth of surgery-cost-and-street-index free cyberware after a couple of months of play.

This guy is going to be limited forever if he's made a choice never to take cyber/bio. If the only incentive to do so is a purely roleplaying one then most players are eventually going to look around them and start wondering what the point of their character is.

Cut the guy a break, you know it makes sense!
Moonstone Spider
On the one hand I agree that a good Role-playing design should get a roll-playing bonus, a player shouldn't be heavily penalized for his concept.

On the other hand from a role-playing perspective it kind of screws up the gaming world to have a guy with no superhuman abilities able to take on people with those abilities. Of course comic books have Batman. . .
As an NPC, no problem, the GM can keep him safe =) However as a PC, a guy with no cyber, no bio, no magic really is a tribute to the movie, since it's faily certain this character HAS a death wish, that is if he walks around "mixing it up" with sams and mages.

I don't think playing a norm with "special considerations" is any different than playing a physad or sam.

If I could slam 30 BPs into edges I bet I would have no problem making a kick ass character. There are enough variety of edges to make him or her pretty well rounded, in fact. That character would have a hard time being the "best" at something, besides a Face, but could be a helluva Jack-of-all-Trades.

I guess thats my suggestion for character concept....
If I could slam 30 BPs into edges I bet I would have no problem making a kick ass character.
But legally, you really can't. A player may choose a maximum of 5 edges and five flaws where the point value difference between them cannot exceed 6. Prevents a lot of that.
BitBasher Posted on Jan 27 2004, 09:05 PM
If I could slam 30 BPs into edges I bet I would have no problem making a kick ass character. 

But legally, you really can't. A player may choose a maximum of 5 edges and five flaws where the point value difference between them cannot exceed 6. Prevents a lot of that. 

I agree. Thats my point. If you allow a "norm" player to cram all those edges and flaws in--as some have suggested--to "balance" or "not over punish", that character is no longer, by definition, "norm". Quite the contrary, he or she would be "extraordinary".
I just gave an example of how a non-cybered guy can compete in melee. Now, add some armor and good social skills, and maybe a mage who's nice enough to learn tatoo magic and you're set biggrin.gif
But legally, you really can't. A player may choose a maximum of 5 edges and five flaws where the point value difference between them cannot exceed 6. Prevents a lot of that.

You're almost correct. Maximum of 5 edges and flaws...except the exact wording in the part on buying Edges and Flaws is...

QUOTE ("Pg 16 Shadowrun Companion")

We recommend allowing no more than 6 Building Points to be gained or spent in this manner

If everything in SR was phrased in such a way as to be a recommendation, the argument that will inevitably be brought out be someone that the books are nothing but books of suggestions would be valid. Except they aren't all phrased like that, just that one and a handful of others that I know exist but can't think of right now.
Herald of Verjigorm
That line is specifically to prevent some characters like one I met. Had about 10 light, obscure allergies; 4 excessively improbably phobias; incompetence in most knowledge skills; and pumped all the points into attributes and skills.
Looking in the SR3 rulebook we have 'The Investigator' without magic or cyber, 'The Face' with no offensive cyber whatsoever, and 'The Sprawl Ganger' with cyber that could easily be replaced with non-invasive abilities (Toughness for the dermal plating and a punch dagger for the hand blade) so I for one don't think the rules are made solely for creating mages or cybermonsters...

Forgive me for the comic-book reference, but another, workable possibility might be for the PC in question to wear some form of Mil-Spec armor --a full suit, that is--with or without external cybernetic assistance (that is, a powered exoskeleton) built into the suit.

The result would be a powered suit of armor similar to the MARVEL COMICS GROUP character, IRON MAN, or any of the various comic book or science-fiction characters which are similar in concept (the battlesuited infantrymen in Robert A. Heinlein's STARSHIP TROOPERS--the 1959 novel, or the 1999 cartoon it inspired (ROUGHNECKS--STARSHIP TROOPERS CHRONICLES), that is, not the 1997 film by Paul Verhoeven, which has nothing in common with the book except the title, the enemy ("Bugs"), and several character names), for example, are but two of the concepts that come to my mind.

Such an individual would have the added advantage of not looking like a 'runner when he wasn't in the armor, and as long as the suit incorporated the appropriate technology to disguise him while he was wearing it (some means of altering his voice, for instance), he'd be pretty much home free as long as he kept the suit hidden in an easily-accessible area that couldn't be traced directly to him.

Just my 0.02 Nuyen, as the saying goes. wink.gif

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