Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: New to Shadowrun
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Hi guys,

I'm kinda new to SR, I know the basics but I have no idea of how to make a good character, what is important for a character and what not, etc. I googled a bit, but didn't found any guides/handbooks or something similiar on how to make useful chars, how to optimize in SR4 or just what spells/powers are good and what suck. Can someone help me here with links or answers?

btw: I'm using the Karma system for making a char, so anything for good BP/Karma-propotion is not applicable.
Ok, what're you gotta tell us is what you're looking to play, the second step is to find a way for your class to get initiative passes, the third step is to decide what you want to play.
I think his(Tr011s) first Step should be telling us what he wants to play (Race,Profession,Awakened or not,Cybered, other preferances)
than we should check for Merits & Flaws
and He should proceed from thereon

with one Dance after the other
Yeah, I was trying to emphasize the what to play aspect through repetition. Maybe more repetition is in order.
I thought of a human (I like that part) with global fame as a music artist (so he starts with Global Fame + Daily Job). So he needs a sleep regulator to fulfill the needed time/week in as little time as possible. To get some ini passes I thought of buying a Synaptic Regulator (rating 2) at start. For combat, I thought of a hybrid of using spells (via Magican) and guns (Agi 5 + pistols & guns 4 with specialization). So I end up at 13 dices (agi 5 skill 4 specialization 2 smartgun 2) on attacking and 8 (rea 6 synaptic regulator 2) for evading attacks. The magic part starts at 4 (so it isn't very expensive), drops to 2 (due to Synaptic regulator and Sleep regulator) so I have some essence free for additional upgrades and can easily enhance my Magic-Score. Problem is: I have no idea what spells are useful, how useful foci are (since they can break on AoEs IIRC) and if I should use summons (don't know much about them and generally dislike them, maybe because I don't know enough about them). Also, I got no idea if it makes sense to sustain spells without foci. (there's a cool drug that reduces the penalty to -1, but a penalty to ALL DICES?)

I quite finished the build and can post it if you want, but I think of making the character completly new. I would generally love to play an Edge-character or a Mystic-Adept, but the problem with an Edge-char is if he would die and you spend Edge to let him survive, you have to pay mass Karma to gain the Edge back. The problem with a mystic adept is, he looks like he could do two things, but can't do anything of both if you don't build them REALLY carefully.

//just a notice btw: I maxed Reaction to 6 because my GM rules that you have to pay for AUGMENTED attributes not the natural value, so augmenting before maxing out is not a good idea.
Welcome to the board and the game!

Asking dumpshock a broad question about how to build characters isn't likely to give too much useful information, or give you so much information as to not be of any use smile.gif

A good start is to figure out what do you want your character to do, what are your fellow runners doing, and also let us know what books you have.

Any case, I'll give a few points of generic advice. The first is the read the books. They're large, but they help. Specifically the core rulebook(sometimes known as the BBB, or big black/blue book), has a lot of good information in it, both about mechanics and setting, and even if you are not, for example, playing a magician, you should know a bit about the magic system because it will impact your character.

Assuming you are playing shadowrunners, there are a few things you should know, some people might disagree with some of these points, but starting out especially these are all good things to keep in mind.

First, your character should be the best in the party at something. This could be hacking, shooting, social interactions, sneaking, magic, or anything really, but there should be some specialty you bring to the party that gives you a unique role.

Second, don't over specialize. While occasionally it can be interesting to play a character who can only do one thing well, usually you want your character to have a variety of things they can do. While you don't need to be a jack of all trades, unless your group is particularly large, you can't rely on having a specialist in every field that may come up, some everyone branching out a bit can help cover your bases. Also you never know when you may need someone to open a maglock or fast-talk when the person who would normally do it is unconscious/dead/missing.

Third, your character should be decent in combat. Shadowrunners, regardless of their specialty, tend to get into fights, and you need to be able to survive these fights even if you are not the combat specilist in your group. Generally speaking, you should be able to get at least 2 Initiative Passes to be decent in combat, and and least 3 if combat is one of your main focuses. This also generally means you should have some good offensive abilities as well. Typically being skilled in Automatics or Longarms, or having magic abilities is enough for most characters(Pistols, while very useful(see below), are not always enough firepower and shouldn't be your only offensive option unless you are really really good with them).

Fourth, your character should have some out of combat utility. Most campaigns are not all combat all the time, and in some games combat may not come up every session(our team only gets in a major fight ever few sessions), so you don't want to sit around bored because the only thing you know how to do is shoot people.

Fifth, unless you have a really good reason not to have them, always make sure you have the follow 4 skills at a decent rating: Pistols, Perception, Infiltration, and Etiquette. You don't have to have a high rank in them, but you should be proficient. Infiltration is important because Shadowrunners usually are doing illegal things, and can't expect to survive if they can't hide from security/police. Besides, suprise is the single biggest advantage you can get in combat. Perception helps you notice alarms, traps, and helps prevent you from being suprised, Etiquette helps prevent you from pissing off important people and screwing up your faces rolls, and Pistols is important because you never know when a fight may break out, and while not very powerful, pistols are cheap, concealable, generally legal and socially acceptable, and still lethal when need be.

Sixth, invest in armor. A simple armored vest will dramatically increase your survivability, knocking an average of 2 damage form every attack you take(and when you usually only have around 10 health, that's a big deal. An Armored vest is even concealable and completely legal.\

Seventh, understand melee combat before you specialize in it. While melee combat is useful at times, it's generally quiet, and doesn't get the same attention guns do, it also kinda sucks. Apart from the fact that melee attacks do less damage than guns on average(unless you're a troll), the simple fact that a ranged attack is a simple action while a melee attack is a complex action makes guns just better...which makes sense. You have to invest a ton of resources into your character to even make melee a viable option when compared to ranged combat, and unless you are an adept I don't think melee will ever be a better option than ranged(and even then, you can make a gunslinger adept way better than a melee adept). If you must play melee as your primary roll, play a troll(or at least an orc), be an adept, and either use unarmed combat or two weapons. This isn't to say don't have any melee ability on your character, just don't make it your primary focus unless you know what your getting into.

Finally, and most important, talk to your GM about the type of game you guys are going to run. Don't make a team that specializes in corporate B&E runs when they are planning on making this a street level gang war campaign(or something like that). If your GM mentions a skill or ability your team should have, make sure someone has it, and if there is something your GM would rather not bother with(riggers and technomancers are often targets of GM ire, for different reasons), don't play it, or at least make a deal with your GM first.
Ok, Magic of two is a waste of points for combat. You'd have to overcast to even get noticed and would be incapable of doing harm. Plus, Drain stats have to be considered. Utility spells you'd be ok with, getting Magic Fingers or other utility stuff. I don't think that it's worth it to spend tons of points on Magician and spells and magic if you're not going to be able to use them right off the bat. You've hit the mystic adept issue, but using cyber. You've hit the point where you're a reasonable fighter, with a secondary in magic, but it's going to be an up hill battle to become a decent mage, but till then you can shoot things. With the dice pools you have, don't sustain without foci. You don't want to take those penalties. You may in fact want to swap synaptic for the Increase Reflexes spell and an R2 sustaining focus. That'd free up some essence and put magic back into the combat levels. It's all your call, but if you want to have a combo of guns and magic, the magic is going to need to be high enough to rival the guns.
So You want to play Karl Combatmage wink.gif
You'd better only Run in Cal Free !

with a Dance in the Spotlight
Thanks for that huge introduction. I think my mates are going to be one Hacker (with Lockpicking), one Bomb/Gun-specialist (who will change his char probably very soon) and one, who will probably something with combat/face-focus (he plays this usualy, but I'm not sure if he plays it again). Basically, I shouldn't play a second Hacker, but everything else is pretty open atm. I think guns should be one thing I wanna be good at, but not the only one (regardless what the second thing is gonna be). Btw, the books we used are Augmentation, Street Magic, Unwired, Runner's Companion, Arsenal and the Core Book (IIRC).

If I get this right, to get the +ini passes via spell, you need: A foci with 30k cost (lvl3) and the spell increased reflexes with a roll of Magic+Spellcasting. But it only gives Ini and ini passes, not reaction?? That sounds pretty cheap, compared to the Adept power or the implant.

Another little question: Is Nerve Strike (from Street Magic) a valid melee plan vs. humanoids? If yes: would an Adept with Nerve Strike + focus on guns + Improved Reflexes + high Edge be a useful character in combat? (strike vs. melee humanoids, guns vs. everything else, attribute boost + edge to max out agility on the go)

To the Karl Kombatmage: I thought first about getting guns + combat spells for flashy combats, but are there other ways for casters to be useful in combat (like in DnD the buffing/debuffing/controlling-wizards?). I think Healing could be very useful for the party, I assume noone else will be able to heal reliably.

Something else, I didn't find the rules how your foci can get destroyed by AoE spells, but I heard about this (happened in another game to our caster) and I would like to know how you can save yourself against this (don't like to see thousands of nuyen and douzens of karma broken in pieces).
Seriously Mike
QUOTE (Tr011 @ Oct 20 2011, 08:13 AM) *
I thought of a human (I like that part) with global fame as a music artist (so he starts with Global Fame + Daily Job). (...) For combat, I thought of a hybrid of using spells (via Magican)

Truly, truly outrageous.
I'd strongly advise to check beforehand with both the GM and the other players that the muisic star with global fame concept will fit. Most shadowrunner do their best to stay under the radar, which makes hanging around some papparazi-fodder a very bad idea in their books. One other big problem with having a global fame and day job is that it's likely that the job will take your character far from the rest of the team - it's hard to do a run in Seattle when your Muzakorp contract sends you make a serie of concerts in Japan...

If your character has a worldwide fame and is working for a corp, it means the parent corp will keep a close on eye on him and probably take a very dim view of having their investement exposing itself to danger and scandal. Since they're probably the one installing whatever cyber or bioware you're packing, expect some sort of monitoring to be slipped into the mix...

Of course, some concepts can get away with that sort of crap - in you're going for the gangsta badboy style or the underground scene there might be more leeway, but anything that's mainstream (and with gobal fame, you're probably mainstream at least to a degree) will have problems.

The workarounds required to fit a character with day job and global fame into a party also means the whole campaign will probably be centered on your character. While not wrong in itself, it can cause problems with the other players. so once again I strongly advise to check beforehand with both the GM and the other players that they're ok with the idea.
QUOTE (Seriously Mike @ Oct 20 2011, 02:32 AM) *

I'm embaressed to have gotten that without even clicking the link dead.gif

Global fame is usually a character killer, I typically don't allow it except in certain campaigns.

Honestly, the best most cheap melee ability you can add to an otherwise ranged focused character is a pair of shock gloves(or a stun baton), electric damage is very powerful, and not based on strength, as an adept I wouldn't take any powers making my melee combat better unless I was going to make melee my primary method of combat(in which case you would expect me to either take lots of critical strike ranks, or use a pair of weapon foci).

If you are playing an awakened character, you should also go for at least a 5 magic(I'd even go 6 if playing with karma creation rules). Being magically active is actually kind of a disadvantage unless you focus on it. As for 'ware, I don't think a sleep regulator is worth losing essence, a long haul addiction makes more sense for an awakened character.

Personally I also don't like synaptic boosters for adepts, it costs a huge 16BP(or 32 karma) during creation, which is way more than the cost to just buy enough magic to get your IP's through powers, and if your GM allows you to gain PP instead of metamagic from initiating(rules in Street Magic), you can get more PP easy, but you can never get that lost essence back. I prefer to only install 'ware that provides a benefit I cannot get through adept powers, because you can get an unlimited amount of PP, but you only ever get 6 essence.
QUOTE (TheOOB @ Oct 20 2011, 07:56 PM) *
Global fame is usually a character killer, I typically don't allow it except in certain campaigns.
QUOTE (CanRay @ Oct 20 2011, 08:02 PM) *

I can't say I've ever had a campaign go to Cal-Free...maybe I should fix that.
QUOTE (TheOOB @ Oct 20 2011, 08:19 PM) *
I can't say I've ever had a campaign go to Cal-Free...maybe I should fix that.
After the games I ran in LA, my group hates it.

Too bad it all fell apart. frown.gif
Get an idea for your character, something broad and basic-muscle bound arnold shoot 'em up, cold and stylish Avery Brooks type shooter, Indiana Jones type adventurer, Gang banger making the big leagues, corp geek who finds himself on the street, Sam Spade film noir detective etc. then fit your character into that mold.
Harry Dresden for a magician PI. biggrin.gif
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012