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Old Apr 14th, 2020, 11:52 AM
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SWYRS: So You Want to Run the Shadows

"So you want to run the shadows" is a step-by-step guide on how to build a character in Chummer5A to help encourage and acclimate new players to the Shadowrun 5E system while eliminating most of the headaches that come with your first character.What is this?
So you want to run the shadows: Chummer 5ATo avoid any questions regarding sourcebook materials in your character creation and to make generating a legal character for Outplay 2020's Shadowrun game less of a headache, it is advised that you download Chummer5A and follow the instructions below.

Before we begin it is recommended you download Chummer5A, The page I'll link provides information on running the application through Linux and Mac OS. You can download Chummer from the Github here.

Chummer Legal Application SimplificationThese steps will ensure that your runner generation process requires less vetting in regards to source books and runner content, in order to ensure that Outplay 2020's Shadowrun campaign is as new-player friendly as possible. Simply put: this process will make it so you cannot use content that is not legal within Outplay 2020's character creation rules.
  1. Install Chummer 5A
  2. Open Chummer 5A
  3. Go to "Tools" in the toolbar at the top of the Chummer window and select "Options".
  4. In the Options menu, click on the tab labeled "Character Options" and ensure the only ticked box in the left-most list is Shadowrun 5th Edition. Do not enable any other boxes in the left-most list.
  5. EDIT:
    tell Chummer 5 you want sum-to-ten, drop gear limit to 10 and sum limit to 6, but leave the level at Standard, not Street Scum.
    Obviously make sure you pick the right priorities since it's not really sum-to-ten.

So you want to run the shadows: Build MethodThose of you familiar with Dungeons & Dragons might be familiar with the concept of Point buy / Rolling Build Methods. Shadowrun 5E has three different build methods:
  • Karma
  • Priority
  • The method we shall be usingSum-to-Ten
According to the Outplay2020 rules, you will be required to set the 'Sum to Ten' box from 10 to 6; Effectively what this does is it alters the values for Don't worry, it sounds worse than it actually is!each priority. You will also be required to set the box to the right of the 'Sum to Ten' drop-down to 'Street Scum', similarly to the box we just altered, this will impact the resources and items available to you in character creation. For a quick run-down:

The "Sum to Ten" build mode lets you assign a letter to an aspect of your character:
  • Human, Elf, Dwarf, Ork or TrollMetatype ("Race")
  • Body, Agility, Reaction, Strength, Intuition, Logic, Willpower & EdgeAttributes ("Stats")
  • These will be detailed later.Skills ("Skills")
  • Money.Resources ("Money")

These letters are known as 'priorities' and signify what is more prioritized to the creation of your character. In order to make this process less migraine-inducing for everybody, the following combinations are allowed in our Sum-to-Six in regards to Humans, Dwarves, Elves and Orks, the letters can be freely allocated and do not have to remain in the same order:

The following is only acceptable for Trolls and must have the B first, please do not generate a non-troll character using this combination:

So you want to run the shadows: Character Creation!The next screen you come to has a lot of information to process, so I'm going to break it down into a bullet-point list with a description of what each tab is and what it's for.
  • Common
    This tab is where you manage your attributes, assign your character an alias, manage your qualities and trade More on this later.Karma for Nuyen
  • Skills
    This tab is where you manage your Things that your character is good at, example: Driving, Handling Explosives, Archery.Active Skills, Topics you are knowledgeable about, example: Tabletop RPG ForumsKnowledge Skills and A broad group of skills that you aren't an expert in, but aren't bad at either. Example: Close Combat, Survival Techniques, Acting, Altheticism.Skill Groups
  • Limits
    There's a good chance you aren't going to use this tab for anything other than referencing your "limits", more on these later.
  • Martial Arts
    Due to the Martial Arts being an expansion-based mechanic, this tab will go unused.
  • Cyberware and Bioware
    Augmentions, mechanical or biological, this is the tab to buy and manage yours.
  • Street Gear
    Guns, Ammo, Armour, Clips, Underwear, Questionable Substances, Lifestyle Expenses, it's all here!
  • Vehicles & Drones
    The place to buy your Motorbikes, cars, jets, boats, planes and for riggers: Drones!
  • Character Info
    Sex, Age, Eye colour, Hair, Height, Weight, Skin, Name, Background, Concept and whether or not you are Right or Left-handed. Yes, that is vital information.
  • Relationships
    Drug Barons, Arms Dealers, Smuggers, Mechanics, Gang Leaders and whatever other kinds of people your character knows. You can also provide information about them such as Sex, Metatype, Personal life, etc... This is also where you manage your contacts More on this later.Connection / Loyalty ratings.

We're now going to take a more in-depth look at each category and what everything there means.
Common TabAlias: putting a name to your face.
We'll start off simple and look at your alias first, for this example character I'm going to give them the alias of "Bigshot", though this isn't their real name, the alias is something you want when committing acts of questionable legality. Try and think of something fun or personal to your character or their purpose/intended role. I called my Rigger in "Vienna Calling" Nomad because not only did she migrate from Russia to Europe, she's a person who is always on the move and has a background in vehicular repair. Alternatively, you could use name generators.

Attributes: Minimums, Maximums and Race.
The important thing to note is that each race has different minimum / maximum values for attributes; This is displayed to the right of your attribute values ('Metatype Limits' column), this impacts what your minimum and maximum value for an attribute is. Effectively, every dwarf (excluding meta variants but we'll ignore those because we're not using expansion material) will have a minimum 2 Willpower and a minimum 3 Strength with maximum 5 Reaction. This means that (naturally) a Dwarf is not capable of having a Reaction attribute higher than 5 through natural means. The bracket to the right of the maximum value is what your character's attributes can reach through augmentation, magic or drug use, this is the absolute pinnacle of how high that attribute can go.

Attributes are used as the first half of calculating the More on this later!dice-pool of your skills, so think about what you want to achieve with your character. Are you wanting to be a negotiator? The level-headed smooth talker who can seduce money out of a Dryad? The guy the team turns to when they need to find a gun runner? Invest in your Charisma and Knowledge skills! Maybe you prefer to let your guns do the talking and want to shoot first ask questions later? You're looking at Agility, Reaction, and Intuition. Perhaps you'd rather be the big, strong silent type who would rather put his opponents out of commission with a hammer, axe or even your fists? Strength and Body are the key attributes there.

Qualities: What makes you who you are?
Time for the fun stuff, I've always described qualities to people as being your character's personality being converted to a game mechanic. Is your character a runner (the sport) during the day? Did they grow up in a war-torn environment and have to regularly push their body to the physical limit to survive? Why not give them the 'Natural Athlete' or 'Toughness' quality? Does your character have relatives to care for or friends who need your help regularly? Maybe things just don't go your way when you need them to? Consider picking up a rank of 'Dependence' or 'Bad Luck'.

If there's something about your character that signifies them as a person, be it narcissism, alcoholism, being athletic or ambidextrous, it's always worth checking whether or not there's a quality for that as qualities provide you with bonuses to certain situations or access to certain options you wouldn't normally have.

You can do a lot of things with qualities, so be sure to read up on them and think about the kind of character you want to create and play, think about what they do. Referencing my rigger "Nomad" again, I reflected her history of mechanic experience by giving her qualities that demonstrate a level of mechanical engineering experience.

Qualities also cost you resources, however, with positive qualities consuming Karma and negative qualities giving you Karma and during character creation, there is a limit on your karma expenditure and gain from qualities. In this instance, we have a limit of 13 Karma to spend and gain. I'd advise not going too crazy, however, as Karma is also used to upgrade your skills after you have allocated your free points.

Skills TabAs mentioned in the previous section, Skills use a dice-pool for determining your success and the calculation for determining the number of dice (D6, for reference) you roll is worked out like this:
Attribute + Skill Value (If relevant, you wouldn't use a Specialization in Spice Girls or Backstreet Boys knowledge to fix a car.+ Specialization) -/+ Modifiers = Number of D6

Skills: What you can do and how you do it.
During the character creation process, you can invest a maximum of 6 points into an Active Skill, the overall value of your dice-pool relies on the above calculation, but you can have as many 6-point investments as you can afford. The dice-pool can also be given a conditional extra dice if you invest in a specialization.

Skill Specializations: An ace up your sleeve.
If you want to invest into specializations, there are a few things you should know first:
  • Specializations are conditional and may only apply within certain situations or circumstances.
  • Specializations cost Active Skill points or Karma.
  • Specializations apply to Knowledge Skills, too.
  • You can have Post-Character Generation onlymultiple specializations in one skill.
Having a specialization can be a lifesaver, maybe you're a real ace-shooter with sporting rifles or maybe you can outtalk even the most adamant of door-to-door salesmen, these are the skills you thrive off of, these are the moments you excel better than anyone else... But that's it. You can't fast-talk a negotiation and you certainly can't seduce the drone down the hallway unleashing 150 rounds per minute. The extra dice you get will only be effective when your specialization is and the amount of bonus dice you get doesn't go up with the skill itself, requiring further karma investment. It's a pricey thing to have, but you'll be thankful when you need it.

Knowledge Skills: The more you know.
Knowledge Skills are fairly self-explanatory, they're the things you know and the subjects you are particularly knowledgeable about. During the character creation process, you are assigned a number of free points for your Knowledge Skills calculated by the following equation: (Intuition + Logic) x 2, these points can (as the name suggest) be invested into your Knowledge Skills and their own set of specializations, though they follow the same rules as Active Skill specializations.

Skill Groups: Jack of all trades, master of none.
In Shadowrun 5th Edition there is a total of 11 Skill Groups.
  • Acting
    Contains the following skills: Con, Impersonation & Performance.
  • Athletics
    Contains the following skills: Flight, Gymnastics, Running & Swimming.
  • Biotech
    Contains the following skills: Biotechnology, Cybertechnology, First Aid & Medicine.
  • Close Combat
    Contains the following skills: Blades, Clubs & Unarmed Combat
  • Cracking
    Contains the following skills: Cybercombat, Electronic Warfare & Hacking.
  • Electronics
    Contains the following skills: Computer, Hardware & Software.
  • Engineering
    Contains the following skills: Aeronaut Mechanic, Automotive Mechanic, Industrial Mechanic & Nautical Mechanic.
  • Firearms
    Contains the following skills: Automatics, Long Arms & Pistols.
  • Influence
    Contains the following skills: Etiquette, Leadership Negotiation.
  • Outdoors
    Contains the following skills: Navigation, Survival & Tracking.
  • Stealth
    Contains the following skills: Disguise, Palming & Sneaking.

Now while this list might look intimidating, it's often best to remind yourself that Skill Groups are often best dedicated to skills that would complement your character's role, but don't necessarily seem to be a requirement. A street samurai who focuses on using automatic weapons needs to be able to defend themselves in a close combat situation, but they're busy focusing on having a high dice pool in their important skills so instead of spending precious Active Skill points on close combat skills, they spend their Skill Group points on the Close Combat skill group. They won't be amazing at close combat, but they'll have some familiarity with how to hold a knife or throw a punch correctly.

Cyberware and BiowareSo you have your Attributes and Skills done now we can move to the stuff that manipulates them even further: Cyber & Bioware, but before we go into any mechanical depth I'd like to take a minute to describe the difference between Cyberware and Bioware.
  • Cyberware
    Cyberware is the sort of thing that typically comes to mind when you talk about augmentation: Cybernetic eyes, synthetic arms, artificial hearts and the like. Cyberware is typically cheaper than Bioware but will consume more More on this later!essence. They are also potentially the targets of the oppositions Slang for Hacker.deckers.
  • Bioware
    Bioware is the stuff you'd associate more with Biopunk or possibly even the X-men: mutations and organ alterations to fulfill a certain task; Maybe you want to have a better initiative but don't want to take the essence hit from Wired Reflexes, so instead, you buy an Adrenaline Pump or mayhaps you just want people you're selling goods for to be a little more on your side of things, so you buy some Tailored Pheremones. Bioware, economically, is the flipside of Cyberware: it's very expensive but costs very little in regards to your essence.
  • Essence
    Essence is best described as being your character's soul - their humanity, their emotions, the things that tie you to the metahumans of the world and the way that magic itself may interact with you or a mage trying to cast a spell on you. The higher your essence the more 'human' you are, the lower your essence the 'colder' you become, less emotional and more machine-like. Essence is also vital for spellcasters, magical manipulators such as Adepts and Technomancers.

    This tab is pretty self-explanatory for the most part, you just need to click on 'add bioware' or 'add cyberware' to bring up the list of available augmentation and enhancements, to the right of the list you can enable three boxes, make sure the top two ("Hide Banned Cyberware Grades" and "Hide Items Over Avail Limit (10)") are enabled. Above your list of potential goods is two drop-down boxes, Category and 'Grade'. The category is mostly used for sorting between what types of Cyber/Bioware you want the list to display and the 'Grade' will impact the price (and the granted bonuses) of your bought goods and, given that this is Street-Scum rules, you'll more than likely be buying 'Used' grade cyber/bioware because it's cheaper.

    If you decide to go the full Cyberpunk aesthetic route and slap on a full (or partial) cyberarm, you can further enhance your arm through the use of 'Plugins', to see the list of available plugins you can assign your new arm, simply right-click the 'ware you want to assign a plugin to and click on 'Plugins'. Certain plugins will impact your Attributes, which is shown by their post-'ware value in brackets.

    Note: Plugins can only be applied to Cyberware.

Street GearSo hopefully you haven't gone too crazy in the previous step and have some nuyen left over to buy yourself some weapons, armor, rent, drugs, and Assuming you're using a projectile weapon, that is.ammunition. To tackle this segment of Character Creation we'll be going in the following order:
  1. Weapons
  2. Clothing & Armour
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Drugs

Weapon SkillsShadowrun is a system filled with a variety of different weapons to line your arsenal with, but at character generation, there's a pretty good chance you aren't going to be putting the cash down to buy a Panther XXL or a High-Frequency Microwave Gun. We'll cover what weapons and skills are suggested, but for the now we're going to just look at Some of you may have to make some revisions if you want a specific weapon type.Weapon Skills there are and what they impact.

Originally Posted by Automatics
This weapon skill covers: Machine Pistols, Sub Machine Guns & Assault Rifles
Originally Posted by Archery
This weapon skill covers: Bows & Crossbows
Originally Posted by Blades
This weapon skill covers: Knives, Swords & Axes
Originally Posted by Clubs
This weapon skill covers: Clubs, Batons & Staffs / Staves
Originally Posted by Heavy Weapons
This weapon skill covers: Assault Cannons, Grenade Launchers, Guided Missiles, Machine Guns & Rocket Launchers
Originally Posted by Longarms
This weapon skill covers: Shotguns & Sniper Rifles
Originally Posted by Pistols
This weapon skill covers: Hold Out Pistols, Semi-Automatic Pistols, Tasers, Light Pistols & Heavy Pistols
Originally Posted by Throwing Weapons
This weapon skill covers: Grenades, Tomahawks, Throwing Blades/Syringes & Throwing Axes
Originally Posted by Unarmed
This weapon skill covers: Knuckles, Gloves & Boots
Now that you know which skill covers what weapons, you can make educated purchases! Now to get into the fun stuff with guns: customization! Now, this works in a similar fashion to Cyberware plugins, simply right click the weapon you want to customize and click 'Add Accessory' or 'Add Underbarrel Weapon'. Again, be sure to read up on what you're buying before purchasing, but one thing I always advise for those with Cybereyes, Datajack and Imagelink: Install an internal Smartgun system.

Clothing & ArmourThis tab is a bit easier and slightly less finicky than the Weapons tab, especially seeing as we're only using the Core rulebook, so we don't need to worry about Gelpacks or Attachable Gear Access. Essentially what you want to look at is the Armour rating of your chosen kit, an Armoured Jacket is likely the best piece of kit you can grab straight out the gate, it's relatively customizable and it's nothing too hard to take on or off. Similarly to Weapons and Cyberlimbs, you can get attachments and modifications. I would personally advise on getting a few ratings in Nonconductivity, but that's just me.

You'll also be buying clothing from this tab, so be sure to pick up some Good or Nice clothes, you don't exactly want to turn up to meet your potential employer looking like you've been mugged.

LifestyleThis part is going to require a bit of reading, but Lifestyle is essentially the mechanic of gauging how expensive (and as a consequence, luxurious) your characters life is, do you eat only the finest of meals and wear only the most fashionable garments? Chances are you have a High (and expensive) lifestyle. If you live moderately, it'll be a medium lifestyle and... Well, if you live on the streets, squat or live in a relatively low-income area, it'll be a low-income Lifestyle.

Honestly, it's best to look at how much Nuyen you have left, what you can afford what you think your character would desire to experience for their lifestyle. Or maybe not what they desire, depending on what you're going for.

DrugsThis tab is for all you aspiring chemists out there, but it's pretty complicated and not really something I'd advise any newcomers to Shadowrun delving into without doing a lot of research. This is also a feature from a splat, so for the sake of Outplay 2020 it won't be utilized anyway.

GearThe 'Gear' tab is where you get into the nitty-gritty of your character's possessions: Ammunition, Drugs, Currencies, Foci, Food, and all sorts of other gear. This is a page you'll really want to go through the purchasable options for and read into what takes your interest. Simply click on the 'Add Gear' button to get the list up (as per usual with buying things on Chummer) then use the drop-down box to browse the multitudes of options.

Now if you've opened the drop-down box for the categories, you're probably thinking "Oh gee willickers, that's a lot of categories! What should I buy?!" then I have a helpful little shopping list just for you!
This is basically a smartphone.Commlink
Basically what you store Nuyen on and the thing that keeps it anonymous from your SIN.Credstick
Basically a fake Identity to get you through security checks, higher the rating the better.Fake Sin

The nice-to-haves
Let's say that somehow you end up getting arrested or searched and they find your Rueger Super Warhawk, it's going to be a lifesaver if you have a Heavy Pistols license for that. The higher rating, the better.Fake Licenses
I.E "Keycard Copier", "Autopicker", "Lockpick set"Tools
I.E Gel, Explosive or Hollow Points Rounds, Throwing Knives, Grenades, Urban Tomahawks, etc..Alternate Ammunitions

Vehicles & DronesA rather self-explanatory tab and similar to the ones we've previously covered, this particular section is where you'll buy drones and vehicles, from cars and motorbikes to fly-like drones and four-wheeled disposable troops of death.

If you purchase a vehicle, you can modify and kit it out by right-clicking and selecting 'Add Modification', you can add weapon mounts and Cyberware plugins to certain vehicles and modifications, too as a way to further improve your experience using the vehicle; For those of you playing Dwarves, Orks and Trolls I'd advise buying Metahuman adjustment so the seating is appropriate. Again, much like Cyberware and Weapon customization, I'd strongly recommend you read what the modifications do before purchasing them.

Character InfoThe second-last panel we need to investigate during character generation, this is by far the easiest to understand tab as all it requires is two things:
  1. Imagination!
    This is your time to shine! Write up your characters details from concept and eye colour to their background history and height!
  2. Your primary hand!
    This is the section where (unless you have the ambidextrous quality) you choose what hand is your character's dominant/primary hand. Do you hold your gun in the left or right hand?

RelationshipsThe relationships tab handles your contacts and enemies, the people you work with and against: Do you know a gun runner, smuggler, club owner or even just your friendly neighborhood stripper? This is the place to give that contact mechanical influence. The process for this is pretty simple, but there are a few limits you should know about before jumping into your network:
  • Free Contact Points
    Every contact you create will consume some of your Free Contact Points (calculated as Charisma * 3)
  • Connection
    The connection rating is how-well connected your contact is, the higher the rating the more influential or better connected they are within their area of influence. A connection 3 Gang Leader will have noticeably more influence on the streets than a connection 2 Stripper would, for example.
  • Loyalty
    The loyalty rating is what I personally consider to be most important, loyalty is at it's read on the tin: How Or fearful/threatened if the contact is someone you have blackmail material on, I suppose.loyal your contact is to you. The higher the rating the more likely they are to cover for you if authorities come knocking. If one of your contacts is a Connection 3 gang leader with Loyalty 1, there's a fairly good chance they'll sell you out if it benefits them.

    Loyalty is also important if you are trying to get a service for a favor or if you're trying to sell that juicy pay data the team decker extracted from EVO's databanks. Loyalty is very important.
  • Contact Usage
    You may use contacts for a variety of reasons: pawning off pay data or stolen gear, buying new gear for yourself or even garnering information / providing some outside help. Is the target of your smash-and-grab inside a secure bank? Maybe ask your Breaking & EnteringB&E contact for a consultation or even offer them a slice of the pie and bring them on the job.

    Generally, when trying to make use of contacts there are two possibilities for reaching out to them: The GM will either decide or roll a 2d6 to determine whether or not that particular contact is available, though in regards to Outplay you won't need to worry about this too much.

Last edited by Marshmallow; Jun 14th, 2020 at 08:37 PM.
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