Clutch of Dragons
We will be using the Shadowrun 4th Edition rules, specifically the 20th Anniversary Edition (errata to older versions of SR4 are available at http://shadowrun4.com/resources/sr4a/sr4a_changes.pdf) and all the various supplements (Arsenal, Augmentation, Street Magic, Runner’s Companion, Unwired). Each player should answer the 20 Questions for their character, and will receive 5 Karma for thoughtful and complete answers. In particular, I’m keen that characters have the various “hooks” provided by a social life – friends, family, confidantes, cellmates, romantic relationships, old school friends, that sort of thing. They do represent vulnerabilities and extra factors to consider and juggle, but they’re also where a lot of potential story and challenge could come from. Do you keep your job a secret from them, or do they think you’re in sales and travel a lot for work? Or are they the street gang you used to run with?
Characters should be created using 1,000 Karma using the Karma-gen rules from the Runner’s Companion. You also all get the Drake Quality for free, and should choose which type of drake (common, feathered, oriental or sea) you wish to be. I’d recommend that you consider skills like Computer, Data Search, Dodge, Etiquette, Infiltration, Perception and some close-quarters combat skill no matter what your character’s focus is.
You can buy gear up to Availability 20 (30 with Restricted Gear). If you are Awakened (and I don’t see why you wouldn’t be) then you’ll get your membership to the Lake Louise Drakes Magical Group for free, which includes a free Middle lifestyle. This is intended to the fact that, as a counterpoint, each of you likely has the equivalent of the Wanted Negative Quality (which you needn’t write on your character sheet) as at least one (and possibly more!) Great Dragon very much wants to own you. Certainly, which (if any) Great Dragon you escaped from is very much worth thinking about.
Although they shouldn’t be seen as a strait-jacket, I would draw your attention to the eight team roles from Runner’s Companion and suggest that you design your character to fill no more than two of them. We will talk in more detail about this when we do character generation, but the idea is for people not to step on one another’s toes so that everyone gets the chance to shine. The roles are:
• Close Quarters Combat: physical engagement with the enemy
• Fire Support: taking down enemies at range and suppressing opposition
• Infiltration: entering areas physically without raising suspicion
• Investigation: gathering relevant information pertinent to the job in hand
• Magical Support: keeping the team safe from magical threats, and gathering astral intelligence
• Matrix Support: primary defence against online threats, plus hacking and Matrix-based intelligence gathering
• Negotiation: handling most contact with people outside the team
• Transportation: planning, co-ordinating and enabling movement from point-to-point for the entire team
There are basically three approaches that can be taken to each of these team roles – the physical, the magical, and the technological. For example, a physical approach to Fire Support might be a sniper on a rooftop or a troll with a machine gun. The magical approach might make liberal use of combat spells and spirit powers. The technological approach might be to set up sentry guns and use drone and vehicle weapons to get total coverage. While certain roles lend themselves more obviously to one approach or another, there is no reason why any role couldn’t be done by taking any approach (or mix of approaches). Note that you don’t need to cover all eight if you don’t want to. As long as both people involved are OK with it, doubling up on a particular role would be fine, although it would bring with it some difficulties. Likewise, if someone wants to only cover one area as a specialist, that’s grand.
There are also some secondary roles that can be taken on in addition to those above:
• Demolitions – blowing shit up
• Leader or Tactical Co-ordinator – command & control in the field
• Logistics – keep everyone stocked up on the latest gear and consumables
• Medic – keep the team healthy and alive
It might be worth each of you considering taking on one of these too.
My initial feeling is that the team needs to be able to cover the physical world, the astral plane and the Matrix. However, it’s often not very much fun to be the person who stays in the van while the others go off and do things, so it would be best if everyone was at least a little combat-capable with at least two Initiative Passes in a combat situation.
You should also keep in mind the advice on Creating A Drake Character