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Shadowrun 4E First Character Help

Shadowrun 4E First Character Help

Howdy Weavers,

I am starting my first foray into 4E Shadowrun and I was hoping to tap knowledgeable members to avoid any potential pitfalls. This will be a little disjointed, apologies in advance.

Our RL group has Two Books to share at the moment and I will be last on the chopping block, so I am culling all of my basic character building from the Character Generator known as Chummer and my limited 3E knowledge of years gone by. Original character concept is a Smart Face that can dabble in most things and do very well in social situations while a not a boss in combat. Oh, and can hack better than most but not spec'd in it... perhaps I can facilitate this with gear?

Our group will be Five Runners. I believe this is One over the assumed number of runners for Pre-published Adventures, which our first time DM will be using. With that in mind, I hope a combat light character will be able to help out and our number wont overwhelm the Runs.

Here is my first pass at a character for review and suggestions

TLDR: I am looking for gear suggestions, critiquing my build points and all around general tips. Thanks so much!

I'll leave cruncy bits to people better suited to them, but as for languages: Japanese would be very useful, as would Russian. If you know you're going to be working with a particular group, making sure you know their language helps. I seem to recall that more ranks in a language indicates your fluency, i.e. one rank is enough to ask common questions.

Gear, you want to get a hold of Arsenal. They have exactly what you're looking for: Armoured sets of clothing (high class for the most part), and a few different disguised holdouts (a cane and braclet, I believe).

I think you're spreading yourself a little thin here - two quick suggestions are to drop the firearms skill group and focus on maybe one particular skill with a specialization. For the 20 BP you're spending you're getting 6 dice with any gun you care to pick up - whereas for 10 BP you get say, Pistol 2 (spec. Automatics), which has you slinging 8 dice with your ares predator and if you throw in a smartlink that jumps to 10 dice - all for half the BP cost.

Also, for a face your influence skill group isn't doing all it can for you. At a minimum I'd bump it up to 4 but I think you might be better served by breaking the skill group and buying some skills seperately - put your go-to face skill (con, Ettiquette or Negotiate) at 5, the others at 3 with specilizations - it'll burn through what you save by downgrading the firearms skill group and some change but you end up with a flat 11 die base for your social skills, plus your first impression as appropriate. Compared to nine dice it's an improvement.

Also, there's a fair bit of bioware out there that can boost social rolls - tailored pheremones might be outside your starting legality bracket but look into them - the dice they provide add up nicely. If you really plan on going for the hacking/cracker angle though be advised you're going to be hemorraging money - your base skills aren't that good so you're going to need to make up for that with rating 5 (minimum) programs and Commlinks. In terms of other cyber gear - I'd consider plunking down for a Reflex Boost 1 or skillwires: the later gives you flexibility with skills at the cost of nuyen and the former gives you an extra IP which can be life or death in-game. Without that or a stock of Jazz or other combat drugs it's up to the party mage to cast and sustain a reflex boost on you when things go south, and that's drain and sustaining penalties the party doesn't need in a crisis. If you had more edge I'd say maybe chance it - burn one edge for 1 IP after all - but you don't have enough to last more than a round or two, and with sammys and adepts klicking by with three of four IP's a turn you'll need that extra bit to survive.

In terms of qualities - one the advantages of being mundane are the cyber resources available to you, I think you cut yourself off at the knees with Sensative System: Essence is irreplacable coin when it comes to cyber/bioware and the points you get from it aren't worth what you're going to end up losing from it. Human Looking isn't likely worth it - there is anti-metahuman sentiment in the sixth world, true, but given the two elven nations and the prevelance of elves in the upper crust of corporate and social society being an elf is more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Disavowing all of that is fine, if that's the background you want, but from a benefits/loss standpoint it's a perk that will only matter when facing down humanis members, and did you really want them to like you anyway? The goblinoid races resent elves more than humans, true, but humans aren't popular and dwarves just kinda grumble at everyone . . . In terms of negative qualities to replace it with some of the social ones in Runners Companion are fun, and serve as great plot hooks for the GM. Gremlins (oddly fun with tech based PCs) & Bane Spirits are also fun, not crippling but give your character some flavor and a reason to rely on other members of the party.

A BIG thing I'm not seeing here is contacts - you should have a good two to three NPCs that you own or are useful (high lyalty or connections) and a handful of middling to poor ones you can burn through as need arises. For you, as a face, people are resources just like spells are for mages or bullets are for samurai - any runner can look pretty and talk fast, only you know the people worth talking to. If the GM isn't houserulling you get X freebie points for contacts you need to budget at least 10 BP or preferably closer to 20 BP for contacts alone. The more the better.

Perfect feedback Cirlot and AngeloftheOdd!

I had NO idea that I could just spend points in pistols(which is what Tommy was going to use anyways) as I thought I had to buy the Firearms skill before putting points in Pistols(which is in fact the opposite) so by the time I tried in the character generator... I was already screwed.

I totally forgot about contacts... my bad there. So I need to go at my BP Budget with an ax. And need to look at the book to see what kind of contacts that would be a good idea.

Just to be sure, Baseline Combat Effectiveness is 8-10 dice with an Ares Predator and 2 Initiative passes? Would a smaller gun be considered laughable? I remember the Ares Predator as being the top dog of pistols(at least my 3E PhysAdept Gunslinger used them. Don't laugh, I thought I was unique...) and I doubt it would be very concealable.

Honestly the pistols in core 4E (exclusing Arsenal, etc.) are fairly interchangeable - for my PC's of means I tend to prefer the Colt Manhunter, but I've had streetpunks go the classic Colt L36 and do fine. If you are going with a lighter weapon it might be worth it to look into some of the alternate ammo options - stick n' shock can be brutally effective and it's nolethal to boot, and Ex-Ex ammo will kick your damage back up into heavy handcannon ranges.

The Firearms vs. Pistols thing is, I think, one of those translations from 2/3E Shadowrun to 4E - I dimly recall what you're describing as present in the earlier iterations of the game, but SR 4 really does do a lot of things differently. But yeah, at that baseline you're a little ahead of the base combat curve for non-prime NPC runners as presented in the book: you're no solo but you're liable to able to deal with any ganger or rent-a-cop trouble and come out on top.

My group is looking at purchasing a few books, is there a short list that would be suggested? There seems to be tons of books available for this system, and I would like to avoid any real duds. We prefer our books to have Crunch > Fluff, if that matters.

The big four are Runners Companion, Arsenal, Augmentation and Street Magic. You can manage quite a while without Arsenal, unless your crew is particularly gear happy but Augmentation and Street Magic fix some holes in the core bio/cyberware and magic rules and add some exponential depth when it comes to crunch options. Runners Companion covers metahuman subtypes (Dryads, Oni, etc.) as well as the more outlandish races (Shifters, Pixies, Drakes, etc.) while more than doubling the available positive/negativie qualities and offering rules for HMVV characters, from Ghouls to full on Banshees.

If someone plans on playing a technomancer they should pick up Unwired but outside of that the book likely isn't worth it. The rest tend towards splat and adventure books; which while typically good are never really required for anything. If the GM can find it the old 4e GM screen included a wonderful folio of NPCs, contacts as well as a functional Random Shadowrun Generator (including a role for if and how the Johnson screws over the party!). I once spun an entire campaign out of one such random run that went beautifully, beautifully south . . .

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