5th Edition Shadowrun – Priority Build summary.
Well, it’s been quite a while since we played Shadowrun, but tonight we had a meetup at the local Pizza joint to discuss the idea of putting together a new crew.
We’d be playing Shadowrun 5th edition, using the standard priority system to build characters. I prefer to build my characters via the Karma gen system, but with a couple of newbies, this isn’t really an option.
How about a crash course in building a Shadowrun character?
Priority Build : You have 5 categories, Attributes, Magic, Metatype, Skills, and Resources. You toss these into order of personal importance and share it out in that order.
Attributes are your stats, and you’ve got a pile of them to spend points on, broken up into 3 categories. The physical ones are Body, Agility, Reaction and Strength. Then you’ve got the mental list, Logic, Willpower, Intuition and Charisma. Then there’s a couple of special stats, like Essence, which only goes down usually as you become less human, Edge which creates a pool of bonus dice and determines how often you can use them, Magic and Resonance, which relate to your mystic powers, and finally Initiative, which determines your speed in combat, and is derived from other stats. Complicated eh?
Players familiar with D&D might be slightly confused, since they normally have 6 attributes, plus BAB. Some of the attributes map directly, such as Strength and Charisma. Body and Constitution are fairly close, as are intelligence and Logic. But Wisdom gets broken into Intuition and Willpower, and Dexterity gets broken into Reaction and Agility.
Magic is an attribute, so in theory it should be part of the previous block, but since magical ability varies considerably between individuals, it’s got it’s own priority. If you set it high, you get plenty of magic, set it last, you can’t do anything magical.
Metatype covers your race, and provides some extra points to toss into magic, and into your edge. Humans can take pretty much any metatype and they’ve have some points to spare. An elf will take up some of those points, and a troll would take even more. Which is a bit rough, since troll also costs you more when you calculate your lifestyle.
Skills determine how many points you have to put into your skills. The way skills work in Shadowrun, you build a dice pool, taking a die for every point of related attribute, then one for every point in the skill. So the more points in a skill, the more dice you’ll be throwing, which means the better you’ll do on average, and of course the higher you can potentially reach. And of course, if you really need to succeed, you can spend a point of edge and throw those dice in also.
Finally, resources, how much you’ve got to spend on your gear and all the fun toys. The more you’ve got, the more you can afford on spend on chrome to go under your skin, things like chips that adjust your sleep, voice changers, bone reinforcement, hidden weapons, smuggling compartments, etc. It’s a long long list of stuff. Of course, installing stuff into your body costs you essence. There’s a complicated formula for it, where the grade of the implant and the amount of other implants can adjust how much you’ll lose. The important thing to take away from this, upgrades make it harder for you to do magic or benefit from magic, and also make it harder to relate to other people.
So, you take these 5 categories, figure out which one is most important for your character concept, which one is least important, and put together your priority order, from A to E. After that, just consult a chart jot down the numbers, and you can build your character. Assuming the numbers look right to you. You might want to juggle a few around a bit.
After that, you’ve got your qualities to buy. Positive Qualities cost you karma, negative qualities give you extra karma to spend, but they’ll make your life more difficult in the long run.
And that’s the basics of how you’d build a Shadowrun character, in the priority build system. Though it completely ignores one of the most vital aspects of building the character, and that’s defining your character concept. This was how to build it, not what you’d build and why. That will have to wait for the next article.