We are starting a new SR4 campaign after a hiatus of almost 18 months of no gaming at all. Now I must admit that even I (the GM) am having a bit of a problem helping the PCs develop their characters. So far, the ones that have submitted their characters to me have all left huge blanks, mostly in gear. While I am trying to figure it out, I would greatly appreciate it if any of you guys could help out.

We are using 1000 karma points to build each character, with the use of the SR4A, RC, Augmented, Unwired, Street Magic, and Arsenal books only. This is technically a street-level game, since a few of the PCs prefer "professional" type runners, it tilts more towards the "pink-mohawk" than the "black trenchcoat" (only 4 PCs will be making "black trenchcoat" type characters). No riggers need apply since every PC wants to have his/her own ride. No tacnets and stuff like that for most of the PCs except maybe Velvet and Steel (who are the only PCs that want to begin the game knowing each other).

Most of the players are into the role-playing aspect so they don't really feel the need to maximize out on dice pools. (Except possibly the Zip-Gun player).

House Rules:
Each PC starts off with free contact points equal to twice the natural charisma of the character.

Bambi (Bambi); Female Troll
A hard-core rocker, Bambi grew up in the Seattle Metroplex, drifting from place to place, living from gig to gig, still you can’t always rely on being able to bang on some skins to feed yourself, so what’s a girl to do to keep alive? It was an easy step to begin running in the shadows, at first just a few bodyguard gigs, then later on a couple of snatch and grabs, pretty soon you get deeper and deeper into the mire, and you learn more than you bargained for. Eventually Bambi had some ‘ware installed, just to keep up with the SOTA, but it costs nuyen to keep current, and so it spirals downwards.
[ Spoiler ]

Charles Huntingdon (Dancer); Male Human
Charles Huntingdon was born a gifted athlete, but that doesn’t mean squat when it comes to competing against enhanced players, without magic and with a sensitive system all he ever became was an “almost was”. Still he tried, he worked hard to maximize his natural gifts and to earn the nuyen needed for those expensive bio-ware that would at least help him stay even. There isn’t much legal work that he can do, so he works as a physical education teacher at Rhodendron Conservatory at day and runs the shadows at night. At least it’s enough to keep his wife and daughter sheltered and fed, and someday, maybe he’ll make that big score so that they can all be comfortable.
[ Spoiler ]

Real Name Unknown (Files); Male Human
Little is known about the runner called Files, his is an accomplished infiltrator and a passable hacker, with some combat skills. Still, that’s all the cred he really needs to run in the shadows.
[ Spoiler ]

Taira Kenji (Honshu); Male Human
A member of the Koga ninja clan, Kenji was sent by his superiors on a mission in Seattle. The mission is to keep track of the actions of the various Yakuza families there. Of course, the best way to learn of their actions is to insinuate himself into the shadows of the underworld, so as to not have to join any of the Yakuza families, Kenji decided that running in the shadows is the best possible cover.
[ Spoiler ]

Patrick O’ Flannigan (Padre); Male Human
Father Patrick O’ Flannigan always believed in God and in helping his fellow man, Of course that belief was tempered by an inordinate amount of resentment against the long-ears for kicking his family out of Eire, still, God provides. Imagine his surprise when he found out that he could heal and more than that, he could ward his flock from evil that came from outside. Of course, so many members of his congregation were tempted by need, and what was so wrong about helping them out. That short step led to many more steps down into the shadows, of course Father O’ Flannigan justified his actions “God helps those who help themselves” and “Even in the darkness, souls need to be saved”, after all, if those bastards in their corporate palaces wouldn’t help the poor, it was obviously the duty of those that could to ensure that some of the necessities would drift down where it would help his flock.
[ Spoiler ]

Raymond (Zip-Gun); Male Ork
Abandoned in the Redmond Barrens, Raymond grew up on the streets, which isn’t all that easy when you are homely, even for an ork. Still that was no big deal, Zip-Gun was pretty strong and fast and tough, that counts for a lot more than being pretty or smart, at least that’s how the Crimson Crush saw it. His childhood had been spent as a gofer for the gang, until he grew up strong enough to earn his colors and his new name, Zip-Gun, because he loves the feel of fully automatic fire. Eventually he clawed his up, however instead of challenging for a leadership position, he became involved in running in the shadows, oh well, what the fuck, it was a better living than scrounging in the streets. Besides, Zip-Gun is only 16 years old, still have lots of time before kicking the bucket.
[ Spoiler ]

3 other players gave me their character bios but no character design yet:

Aloysius Steele (Steel); Male Ork
Staff Sergeant Aloysius Steele, UCASMC, was a go-getter, a marine lifer, enlisted young and climbed up the ranks and into Force Recon where he seemed to have found his niche in life. Still 10 years in the UCASMC is a pretty long time to an ork, not that Sergeant Steele regrets that in any way, in fact, if it weren’t for that last black ops that got his company pretty much wiped out, he’d probably still be in the UCASMC. Whatever the reasons that the powers-that-be sent his company into that hell-hole, it was probably also the reason why they were left out in the cold, those that survived the fight against those CalFree assholes were mostly wiped out when the friggin waters came in. If it weren’t for that unauthorized pick-up by that Ares wageslave, Steele would have also died with his buddies there. Still his loyalty to the Corps was pretty much destroyed, and he wasn’t getting any younger, 27 was pretty much the prime of his life. A couple of years of reconstructive surgery left him more metal than flesh, that’s okay, enough time to pay back Vetter for saving his life, enough time to find out why his company was sacrificed, enough time to get revenge.

Valerie Vetter (Velvet); Female Elf
Valerie Vetter was born to an Ares corporate family, she grew up in corporate schools and went to work as a specialist for Ares Macrotechnology, her specialty was intercorporate negotiation and persuasion. After years of toiling she finally made it to the big leagues, a special assistant to a senior VP for Ares Arms, which is when it all went to drek. She was told to “persuade” the UCASMC that a recon mission into CalFree was part of its duties, that returning California to the Union would result in promotions all around. So she did her job, and while watching the vid-feed of the mission, while watching dozens of men and women die from the fighting that she was responsible for, she snapped, Valerie couldn’t go through with it, she emailed a packet containing all the information she knew up the chain of command, directly towards Damien Knight, at the same time she used her considerable skills to convince a maverick pilot to fly her down to San Francisco in a Ares TransSky that she arranged to “lose” to pilot in return for his services. They were only able to rescue a few survivors from the flood before heading back up to Seattle, she spent the last remnants of her collection of favors owed by paying for their hospitalization, and helping them back on their feet. Of course, once her bosses found out about it, she was kicked out of the corporation. That’s okay, Valerie knew how to survive in the shadows, after all, she had spent enough time hiring runners, she could probably survive as a runner.

Arthur Rotibi (Mal-Juju); Male Wakayambi Elf
An immigrant from Nigeria, Arthur Rotibi is one of the few Wakayambi to leave the African veldt to practice his craft elsewhere. It is possible that he is in fact not of sound mind, still, considering how rare magic is in the shadows, why refuse the services of a magician just because he could … maybe … be insane?