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Reading a few threads about standard combat loads and a need for variety in equipment, I'm now curious what people consider the basics and necessities, either for all Shadowrunners or a specific archetype.

I'm interested in your views as I'm running a group of absolute newbies, and thought I might be able to save them some pain if I got a little something for them together, and I'm sure a lot of you have a lot more experience with actual playing (sigh) than I do, so why not?

As for what I'm asking, anything from bioware or cyberware you couldn't live without, a particular spell that just begs to be taken, or even something as basic as a cellphone (not everyone thinks about these sort of things).

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to seeing what a lot of you seasoned veterans throw out.
If you don't have a cellphone and a pocket secretary, you are screwed.

Contacts, of course. The first time I made my character, I FORGOT the contacts. D'oh! smile.gif (Nice GM made some up for me.)

Pistols skill of QCK and an Ares Predator is about mandatory for every character. Only a brave soul, a moron, or a MARINE goes without it. If you're really anal about not taking a Predator, you can substitute a Max-Power, or a Ruger Super Warhawk. But you need that pistols QCK. Quite often, it'll be the only thing you can rely on to save your life, and if nothing else, you can put down surpression fire.
I totally agree with the cell phone. I've had friends who got me started getting pre-paid phones. After so many minutes they were worthless so you could toss them after the run. Great for covering your trail.

Also, trauma patches!!! Even if you're the medic (actually, especially if you're the medic/healer) you should have them because they're worth every nuyen of 500.

Pistols are good but, if you are creative, you can get around it. Mostly talking casters though here, although I find suppressive fire to be handy and often overlooked. You don't need great skill to throw down some decent suppressive fire though, IIRC.

Doc Wagon. Even a basic contract. One of my characters is an honest to God bum. He's a Snake Shaman (who are all pacifists by the way). Anyway, even he has one. If you're going to be a combat character AT LEAST platinum, if not super platinum, if you can afford it. Along those lines, as much cyberware as your character ever plans to have for a while (I don't trust street docs after a friend of mine had a raid occur during the middle of his bone lacing, really quite gruesome).

Unless you give one for free (and even then multiples are good), a fixer contact is a must.

Also, multiple lifestyles. At least two though I think 3-4 adequate for most characters (my brother has an ex-mafia hitman who's being hunted and hung out to dry so he has like 12 lifestyles each month. He moves all the fucking time).
High quality fake ID. Register all your day to day runner stuff to that ID - guns. apartment, etc. If you can afford a second, all to the good.

Throwaway ID's. If you're a mage, make sure you have Makeover and have your ID details vary from your real self. They should be just good enough (rating 3 usually suffices) to pass the random street checks by cops etc.

Clean and dirty weapon. Make sure they're the same type. By which I mean, get a licence for a weapon which you carry day to day, then use sterilised versions during runs. "Yes officer, I carry a Ruger Super Warhawk. Used in a shooting? Well by all means you can check the ballistics of my weapon, I have nothing to hide."

Emergency packages. I can't stress how useful these suckers are. Ziploc plastic bags containing basic gear - pistol, ammo, throwaway ID, disposable cellphone, certified credsticks and/or cash, medkit - buried or otherwise stashed at key locations across the city. Not counting cash, you can usually throw these together for anywhere between 1500 nuyen.gif to 4000 nuyen.gif , so if you've got 10k spare at the end of chargen, invest in your future smile.gif
I had to write a list the other day, so here goes:

1. A lifestyle for at least 3 months for most characters types (not Otaku)
2. A phone or p-sec
3. DocWagon
4. Medkit/Trauma patches
5. At least 1 gun and 1 melee weapon
6. Ammunition, at least 50 rounds/ 5 clips of
7. Clothing, at least 2 outifts of, and probably some armour
8. A level 2 contact if it is affordable
9. Exclusive items for character type - a decent deck, a VCR, a sorcery focus at a decent level, etc.

Good cyberware to have:

*Cybereyes with flare compensation, at least one vision mode and possibly some magnification
*Boosted or wired reflexes at at least level 2 for street sams
*Internal GPS and orientation system
Well, for all characters, i find this is good:


Medkit(at least lv. 3, try for 4), with a refill or two

Survival Kit(ya never know, this is even better for street lv. chars cos their cheap)

Knife(just the regular knife, utility knife)

Some sort of self defense skill. Some mages can get away without one if they have a good level combat spell or two on hand, but these can save your life, whether it be pistols, unarmed combat, edged weapons, shotguns, just something. If skill points, and character concept, allow, i usually take one ranged and one melee. YMMV.

Lifestyle of 2 or 3 months(again, sometimes nuyen doesn't allow for much here). BUt try to take at least two, even if you have a bum type, grab two squatters or a low and a squatter or something.

Contacts!!! Please don't forget them, even if it's your two free ones!

SWAT mask and gloves. Important.

Armor. A couple pieces I usually take, one heavier piece(jacket, etc), one light piece in case you need to be discreet but still protected just in case(FFBA, secure ultra vest, secure armor clothing, etc.). Armor is fairly cheap, even for the nuyen strapped character.

One set of nice clothes. For meets.

Wire cutters.

Stuff that's useful but depends on the character:

Pocket Secratary: I always take this myself unless I'm running a 5,000 resource character.

Fake ID. Again, I take one unless I'm running an @$$ for resource character. With 20,000 you can at least grab a lv 1 to help ya out. But i try for at least a lv. 4.

Docwagon. Even basic, as said.

Antidote/Stim patches. These have saved our hides before...the former for obvious reasons, the latter...well, sometimes, you need that jolt.

Then of course, different concepts require different gear. Rigger needs vehicle, decker needs deck, sammie/merc needs a few extra weapons, mage needs some magic gear(unless you're playing a 20k resc. mage, get libraries) etc. Types and brands there are completely up to the player.

In going with what was said about the survival stashes, they are indeed a great idea. Each lifestyle/safehouse should at least have SOME emergency gear at it, or it just becomes a defenseless hole.

an etiquette and negotiation skill.
on the skills point, like loller said, etiquette.

Also, unarmed (even if you're not good, or even decent, every success is one less they get), a pistol skill, athletics, and for GOD'S SAKE STEALTH!!!!! You have no idea how many people I've seen play 'shadowrunners', and not take a stealth skill!
Some things i haven't seen suggested yet. Gel rounds for all of your various guns. Lethal force should be one option, not your only one.

Also, Micro transceivers and sub vocal microphones for every member of the group.

A Tres Chic outfit for when you need to move in the hoitty toitty circles.

And at least one alternate doss, where you can hole up, if possible in the absolute worst area you can find, Hell Kitchen, the DMZ whatever.

QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
for GOD'S SAKE STEALTH!!!!! You have no idea how many people I've seen play 'shadowrunners', and not take a stealth skill!

Oh God, yes. Even in my most recent game, with a character - and more importantly, player - who should have known better. "Roll stealth," says the GM. "I don't have it," says the player. I'd have felt better about that if I hadn't been halfway across the area when they rolled their defaulting ability... badly...
It's strange tho, as important as Stealth is, there are a few of archetypes that DONT have the skill(vehicle/drone rigger, combat mage, i dont think the street mage, the sprawl ganger, i think a couple others). The skill doesn't have to be immense,even Stealth[Sneaking]1(3) would be decent, those three dice are better than having to default at 5 or 6 dice, IMO. Again, i understand that there are only so many points to spill around, but just shaving a couple points somewhere for stealth will indeed help.

Etiquette: Yes. At least, again 1(3) or 2(4) in chosen spec.

The other social skills are very nice, especially Negotation, but if one or two of the team already has it you could get by at the start without it...but it's one of those skills that SOMEONE should have, let you never bargain anything or try to talk your way out of something. But since sadly the average SR groupe has a combined CHA score in the single digits, this is tough. nyahnyah.gif

Yeah, stealth's handy for all characters who actually have to go places. Riggers, Adepts and Deckers don't need it massively (first and last because most of the time they won't be physically entering property, the middle because of those great powers allowing for total stealth anyway), but it is handy. One member with Intimidation or Negotiation is handy too. Try and avoid Demolitions (one of my characters I played once lost their entire flatblock due to some idiot leaving some explosives on my roof during a gunfight) and any heavy weaponry skills that aren't heavily explained in backgrounds. They are, after all, not the most common skills to learn.

Knowledge skills-wise? Knowledge of runner hangouts is useful, basic survival techniques, matrix etiquette, yadda yadda. Try and steer them away from putting all their points into "goof knowledges" like elven wines, 21st century music, etc.

Oh yeah, and try and make sure at least one member of a group speaks Sperethiel.
Brawling is a pretty awesome melee skill all around. It doesn't have all of the advantages of some of the other skills, but its efficiency in a starting character that doesn't intend to specialize in melee combat cannot be overstated. The ability to push the skill as high as possible in character creation without having to burn skill points on maneuvers is very, very valuable.

For example, to go to four points in most martial arts, you have to buy a maneuver, and end up spending a total of 6 skill points. With brawl, you can go all the way to 6 with those skill points, and spend two karma per maneuver later in play. It's much, much more efficient, because at levels 5-6, you're talking spending 15 karma or more to go from 4 to 5 to 6, but buying manuevers in play only costs 2 karma each, if you limit yourself to 1 per two skill levels. Snag close combat and evasion early on, and you have a character that is highly survivable in melee.
At least one person in the group should grab atheletics (climbing), and at least one person should probably have either launch weapons or throwing for use with grenades (which are very important for their area of effect quality). NEVER underestimate the power of grenades.

Ettiquette is VERY important. Not getting ettiquette dooms to you defaulting when trying to get equipment -- instant +4 to all availability target numbers. Yucky. Good luck with your rule-of-sixing.

The mage in the group should take a strong look at both the stunball AND splash spells, both of which are highly effective against groups of goons, and have the quality of being highly managable in terms of drain. Splash is rediculously awesome; if you'll look at ALL other elemental manipulation area of effect spells, you'll notice that with the exception of splash, they are all (DL+2). Splash breaks the pattern with a straight up (DL) drain level. Take it with a fetish, and you can be casting a force 6 deadly/stun area of effect elemental manipulation with a drain resistance TN of 2. (See Target: Wastelands p. 124)

Make sure they look fairly strongly at the concealability of the items they intend to carry. Trying to cart a panther assault cannon into the local bar for your run meet is going to draw more attention than you want, that's for sure smile.gif Concealable quickdraw holsters and longcoats of some kind are a must for this kind of thing. Remember, it doesn't matter how bad-ass that weapon is if you can't smuggle it in with you.

Anyone who uses edged melee weapons should snag a dikoting if they can, either in character creation or soon thereafter. It's pretty cheap for the effect.

Communications gear and medkits are very important, as has been mentioned. Savior Medkit (mm.96) is expensive, but worth a strong look because it gives you a -1TN to your rolls, which can make a big difference if you're REALLY hurt.

Athletics and Stealth greatly improve a runner's survivability.

A set of micro-transceivers greatly improves a team's efficiency. A set of ski masks greatly improves their survivability (before each run I have my character go buy a box of ski masks and gloves and force them upon the other characters).

The general tool kit is, in my opinion, this single most often overlooked piece of gear. What kind of runner leaves home without a screwdriver?
The Savior also gives you 6 dice if you do not have the Biotec skill yourself. Its a wonderful kit.
Flashpak or Smoke Grenades for covering a getaway. You're shadowrunners: there's no need to hold ground, especially since you're planning on extracting the team after you're done anyway.

Demolitions skill and explosives for one team member. You don't have to be very good or have a lot of it to get a great many things done, either.

A CAR. Man, so many people forget some way to get around and then have to lame it in cabs or dodge scoots.

Second the transceiver/microtransceiver. But you might also want to shell out for Encryption level one or two. If you look at the broadcast decryption rules even low level encryption is very hard to crack.
A car can easily be covered by NPC runners/level 1 or 2 contacts, though. Saviour medikits... well, they don't do door-to-door.

I don't know why, but form-fitting body armour has become the norm in my groups. I suppose it's that "hardly noticeable under clothing and coat" thing.

Improved Invisibility is a damn fine spell, and should always be considered. Increased Reflexes also helps make up for that lack of cyberware on a mage.

Assassin types are nothing without a silent killer, and as such either tranq patches of at least rating 5 or a supersquirt pistol, drugs and DMSO become pretty good choices. The katana is way too common, and the Cougar Fineblade/Dikote combi works just as well in a smaller space.

Stealth cannot be overstated, and as such some smoke grenades, gecko gloves, climbing equipment and if possible a white noise generator and a method of knocking cameras offline should be considered by at least 1 member of the team.

It's also worth checking out the army-grade gear in SOTA63's Soldiers of Fortune section (list's p75 I believe) if you plan on leaving cities at anytime; camo netting, pop tents, self-heating rations, ammo pouches and more. After all, what easier way to lay low by not being somewhere people look for runners?

Heck, Decker characters may even want to upgrade their home access point using the costs listed in Sprawl Survival Guide.
Heh, i gotta comb thru a couple of these other sourcebooks. The damn books just overwhelemed me when i was in the process of moving and now, besides the basic BBB, CC, M&M, MitS, SC, SotF, R3 and a couple others I lost touch. The Sprawl Survival Guide I want bad.

And in reading this i'm happy to see that I'm not the only person who has some character keep a lod of gear at their house(s). I mean the little stuff mentioned, like the tool kit, wire cutters, medkits, UV lights, survival kits, etc.

I even forgot stuff, too. I tend to overlook encryption...cos the GMs i played with don't use it all the time...but we should start.
If you're playing a cybered character, cyber eyes with: Low Light, Eye Lights, Thermal, Flare Comp, Vision Mag and Microscopic Vision. 90% of the time, this means no visibility-related penalties, and greatly increased situational awareness.

Transducers. Completely silent communication as a free action.

An unarmed combat skill at a decent level. That way, you're never completely helpless, and you can at least burn some combat pool efficiently to avoid getting the snot beaten out of you.

Shock Gloves. Relatively easy to hide, incredibly potent - yet so underused, in my experience...
duct tape... need i say more?
In addition to that mentioned above, I'd make sure my PC had a roll of fishing line, some steel cable, and a few feet of monofilament line with rubberized grips at both ends. Fishing line is useful in a million different ways, (I.E., flipping a light switch from across the room to aid in an ambush) steel cable is useful for towing things or lowering people from roofs, and monofilament line is a marvellous tool for breaking and entering. Think about it: A clever PC can climb up a telephone pole, throw one end over the electrical line, and pull hard, slicing the cable. The runner can then use it as a garotte, cut through steel bars in a similar manner to that mentioned above, and cut off doorknobs.
Herald of Verjigorm
Not quite. Monofilament faces double the barrier rating of anything you try to cut. That means the whips (and by inferrence, any other method used to hold it) can only cut things of... I can't remember if it was 5 or lower, or just lower than 5. Either way, most materials used to actually restrict passage would be too hard.
Heavy leather or canvas work gloves. Nothing says I love you better than friction burns from sliding down an elevator cable.
Speaking of gloves, and I realise this is pretty obvious, but on an infiltration wear those surgical gloves not leather ones. Leather gloves, apparently, leave a kind of "fingerprint" just as identifiable as your own, and your DNA can be lifted from the inside where you've been sweating/shedding skin cells/whatever. That creates a chain of evidence back to you.
In a similar vein, what have fellow GMs noticed that players ALWAYS forget?

For me its masks and gloves of some kind. I can't tell you how many players i've had startled by the fact that their face shows up on the tv, after a run. Heck its only 2005, and when in almost all crimes you see at least a grainy video image. specially for actually useful targets like banks, or commercial thefts. I even suprised one group by having their description come out over their scanner after they were only a few mintues from the scene. One player bitched about that for awhile, while i explained how the Corporate Rapid Response Team's Decker had already downloaded the security camera's footage, and uploaded it to his team.

They never go anywhere without a mask anymore.

Silencers for your guns. I just got a player on that tidbit-- he built his character around his gun abilities, then found himself in a stealth situation where he had to kill someone. No silencer meant he was in a load of trouble.
With a decent Decker knocking out building security, the "hey, I'm on TV!" thing happens a lot less often. But yes, sadly it is rather obviously forgotten.

Most commonly forgotten thing? A backup plan! biggrin.gif
QUOTE (sanctusmortis)
Most commonly forgotten thing? A backup plan! biggrin.gif

I call that Plan B, for BOOM. It involves gratuitus use of grenades and other weapons that'll make any opposition think twice about your sanity.
Amen to that. I've GM'd about ten years worth of SR games, and only ONCE among any number of different runs and runners, did ANYONE ever come up with a back up plan. They'll sit around and go into frightening detail about camera positions, guard schedules, the materials that doors and windows and walls are made of, etc. etc. etc.

But no one ever says "hey...what if this particular plan doesn't work?"

The result is usually half a run or so going exactly as planned, and the other half consists of "winging it":)

There is a problem of overthinking a plan though. You can't plan everything perfectly, otherwise you'll be spending a month real time planning for a run that will take possibly 15 minutes to actually complete. And that is no fun at all.

I prefer to just have a quick sketchy plan and wing it the rest of the way, it's more fun for everyone instead of sitting around a table roleplaying characters sitting around a table.
Men plan, God laughs. -- proverb

Plans never survive contact with the enemy. -- Field Marshal Auchinlek

Plans are of no use whatsoever, but the act of planning is indispensible. -- Duke of Wellington (I think)

You don't plan because you expect to follow the plan; you plan because it gives you some idea of what to expect, and some idea as to how you might care to react to it. Plan B's are no better than Plan A's -- they're just more of the same.
"I think a plan is just a list of things that never happens." -Mr. Parker from "The Way of the Gun"
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