All right Chummers (See, we know at least one piece of Runner Slang), we’re back and taking a look at creating a new character for the Shadowrun: Anarchy rules set. We’ve talked about how characters drive stories, and today we’re going to show you how to build your own. Remember this is a collaborative storytelling game set in the Shadowrun Universe, so let your creativity run wild when you come up with your concept (You’ll see how whacky we’re going to get).
The first step in creating your character is to figure out a concept for what you want your character to be. I was dancing around with the concept for a character that I bounced off of Tyler Carpenter (From Harebrained Schemes, Hyper RPG and a long term Shadowrun player/Game Master/expert). “How about an elf street samurai who bakes in his free time? Street Name: Keebler?” After much laughter and joy, he thought the concept was interesting and fun, so we’re going to build Keebler for Shadowrun:Anarchy.
Step 1: Character Theme and Character Name:
Well, our Character Name has been solved with Keebler. As for his theme, he’s a male, elf Street Samurai. From a personality standpoint he’s calm and calculated. He doesn’t fly off the handle, he’s not a thrill seeker. He sees his role in a Runner team as a bodyguard, protecting the squishier members of his team from threats. (If you’re seeing Eliot Spencer from Leverage, you’ve got a headstart on the character idea).
So we jot down some identifiers.
Street Name: Keebler
You can fill an entire page as you process through the thoughts and ideas you want for your character, but i have a tightly focused idea for what i wanted, and i’ve got those identifiers ready to go. Explore the setting and see what other cool ideas you want to add to the mix.
Step 2: Determine Game Level
I envision that Keebler would fit in best in a street runner game. He’s probably more skilled than a gang level game (which is its own level of fun) and he could be played at a prime runner level (that’s a more cinematic version of the character). I think for creating a new character, let’s take a look at the Street Runner level and see what it means for us. A Street Runner level game is the typical level of a game for most people, and let’s take a look at the character creation framework for that.
This is taken from the Shadowrun:Anarchy rulebook, page 62
“Attributes: 16 Points
Skills: 12 Skill Points
Amps: 10 Shadow Amp Points
Weapons: 2 weapons (1 melee, 1 ranged)
Gear: Armor, 4 Items, 2 Contacts”
Step 3: Choose Metatype
We’ve all ready decided that we’re going to build an Elf, so we’ve got our Metatype selected. Elf gives us +1 Agility and +1 Charisma. We note those and move on to step 4.
Metatypes offer a variety of storytelling and role-playing options for new players, so take your time and consider your options.
Step 4: Decide if your character is Awakened or Emerged.
Awakened characters are capable of utilizing magic, and Emerged characters are capable of interacting with the matrix without technology. If you plan on playing a mage or a technomancer, you’re going to need to pick one of these options. (You can’t pick both, it’s an either/or proposition).
Keebler’s neither one of these things, so we decide no to both. Had we selected this option, we would have subtracted 2 Shadow Amp points from our pool of 10.
Step 5: Assign Attribute Points
Shadowrun: Anarchy Characters have 5 primary attributes.
Strength, Agility, Willpower, Logic, and Charisma are the attributes that make up a character.
Strength is raw power, the ability to lift things and determines how hard you hit things in close combat. It also affects endurance, resistances, and the physical damage track of the Condition Monitor (Stronger characters can take more of a beating than weaker characters).
Agility is a combination of kinesthetic sense, reflexes, and coordination. Driving a car, shooting a gun, and pinpoint parkour jumps are all influenced by agility.
Willpower is mental fortitude and drive. It’s the attribute that best represents a character’s ability to resist strain, deal with stressors, and manage the circumstances of their environment. It also affects the Stun track of the Condition Monitor.
Logic is a combination of higher reasoning and deductive thought processes. It can be either book learning or street smarts, but it boils down to a character’s ability to apply what they know to the situation they are in and act accordingly.
Charisma represents both personal charm and force of will. A charismatic character can often talk their way out dangerous situations that would require copious amounts of bullets to manage otherwise.
All Attributes start at a base of 1, and have a maximum dependent on the metatype of the character.
Keebler has maxes of
Remember, we get a bonus of +1 to Agility and Charisma for being an elf.
Currently our stats (before applying any of our 16 Attribute points) are
We know that Keebler is a serious melee combatant, and the two attributes that govern that are primarily Strength and Agility. We’re going to put four points in each one of those to start off with.
I don’t see Keebler as a character who throws in the towel easily, so i’m going to put 4 points into his WIllpower as well
That leaves 4 points for 2 attributes, and i am okay splitting them down the middle. Keebler isn’t particularly talkative or clever, so i’m fine with the split.
(Our Condition Monitor currently has 11 boxes on both the Stun and Damage Tracker. Strength of 5 divided by 2, rounded up is 3, plus the 8 boxes everyone gets for 11 Damage. Willpower is the same number so it also nets out to 11.)
Step 6: Assign Skill Points
The next step of the character creation process is to assign skill points to the skills you think are going to be relevant to your character. The skill list is on page 31, and we’re going to be bouncing back there in just a second. Unlike some other games, Shadowrun: Anarchy wants to help you provide the most concise character that meets your character possible. What skills absolutely define your character? You can only select 5 skills at character creation, (and a knowledge skill that doesn’t require points or take away from your starting 5).
Also keep in mind you can specialize in a specific type of a skill for a character that’s absolutely focused on pistols or kung fu or casting lightning bolts. A specialization lets you roll 2 extra dice (on top of your skill rating) and costs you 1 skill point. You can only start with 1 specialization.
So we get 5 skills to work with, and have 12 points. Looking through the list of skills, i can see we’re going to get a lot of mileage out of the Agility linked skills. The running, sneaking, shooting and punching skills are sort of where Keebler lives, so let’s take a look at the five most critical
Athletics (have to be in the right spot to get the job done)
Close Combat (because sometimes you need to have a sword fight on a train)
Firearms (Because sometimes you need to tell someone how much you care from across the street)
Stealth (Shh, we’re going to go in quietly, and then kill the guy)
And i’m personally torn between Piloting Ground Vehicles and Escape Artist. Piloting is an excellent skill to have as a backup in case the rigger goes down, but in a team environment, i think it’s best to leave the driving to the guy who actually merges his mind with the car. I think we’re picking up Escape Artist for the last skill.
Intimidation gets an honorable mention, as it would play into the elf charisma, but i think Keebler just wants to hit people often enough that he’s not going to bother trying to get them to back down. Let the face do that.
So we’ve got
And 12 points
I’m thinking of dumping the majority of the points into Close Combat and Athletics, as i think Keebler is a character that will probably settle things with his hands before he resorts to his guns. Athletics gets 3 points, Close Combat also gets 3 points. He’s certainly capable of using firearms but tends to go last resort on them, so i’m going to put 2 points into fire arms. He’d much rather not be caught then try to escape, so with the last 4 points i have, i’m putting 3 in stealth and 1 in escape artist.
Close Combat 3
Close Combat 3
Escape Artist 1
I also select Baking as his knowledge skill, and he has an astonishing amount of information about the baking process, recipes, and ideas for baked goods.
I don’t want to give him any specializations at this point, and we move on to the next step. We’ll get to that next step in our next article, but Keebler’s taking shape nicely.
Street Name: Keebler
Game Level: Street Runner
Close Combat 3
Close Combat 3
Escape Artist 1
Next time we’ll cover Shadow Amps, Qualities, Armor, Weapons, Gear. Then we’ll work on cues, our background, and final tweaks.
Thanks for following along Game Fans.