Shadowrun Missions Madison
Creating a character is done using the standard priority system presented in the Shadowrun, Fifth Edition rulebook. Be sure you have the latest printing or errata of the rulebook. Additional character creation methods that may be released in expansion material will not be used for Shadowrun Missions. Unless otherwise noted in this FAQ, no rule marked “Optional” or that is listed as being “At the Gamemasters Discretion” will be used for Shadowrun Missions play. All other expansion material will be allowed once its release grace period has elapsed (see below).
When creating a character for Shadowrun Missions, one thing to keep in mind is that when playing at conventions or in Open Play games, you never know who or what is going to show up at the table with you. Nor can you be certain that a given adventure will focus on one particular aspect of the game. Because of this, it’s usually not in your best interest to hyper-specialize a character. Gamemasters will do their best to keep all players engaged in the adventure and story, but if your character only does one thing, it doesn’t matter how well they do that thing if it’s not useful to the adventure or if there’s four other characters that are all able to do that thing as well. Keep flexibility and diversity in mind when designing a new character.
Rating and Availability
Any gear, including magic, cyberware, and bioware, may be purchased at character creation, provided the Availability is 12 or less and the Rating is 6 or less see (p. 94, SR5). Note that the Damage Value and Armor Rating of an item is not included in this, it is only items that have variable ratings levels you can purchase them at. Players may purchase normal, alpha, and used cyberware at character creation, but not beta or deltaware.
Keep in mind that most gear is assumed to have some wireless function built into it, and many pieces of gear benefit from being connected to your Personal Area Network in some way. Skinlink is not available yet at this point, so you’ll either need to run wireless to take advantage of these bonuses, or run wires to your gear if you want to be protected (you’ll look like a fraggin’ antique with wires running all over the place, but don’t worry. Wires are cool again!).
With this in mind, you’ll likely either need to make sure you have a good decker in the group to protect you with his cyberdeck, and/or make certain you have a decent firewall on your commlink to protect your gear. Getting bricked (see p. 228, SR5) sucks.
Most qualities are allowed in Missions play. However, since Missions are designed to be run in a tight time frame and because you may be playing under different gamemasters at different venues, some qualities simply cannot come into play or be enforced, and as such are disallowed. The following qualities are disallowed in Shadowrun Missions play:
None at this time
Negatives: Addendum: You may take any of the negative qualities listed below for our home game but would obviously have loose them and make up the Karma elsewhere if you wanted to take your character to other Missions play.
- Bad Rep
- Code of Honor
- Loss of Confidence
- Social Stress
- Unsteady Hands
Other Qualities such as Addiction, Allergy, and Incompetent normally require gamemaster approval. These are allowed with the restriction that they have to be something that is playable and appropriate to your character.
Allergies: All Allergies must be things that are possible to come up in a game session without the gamemaster having to go out of his way to introduce them. An allergy to uranium or Macronesian bee stings, for example, are things that are never likely to come up in a game, and thus would not be allowed.
Addiction: The Addiction must be to something that is either somewhat expensive, harmful to the character in the short term, and/or otherwise difficult to obtain. There are many serious, real-life examples of addictions that can be very harmful and have long-term effects on a person but would have little to no effect on a Shadowrun game, especially in the Missions format. Things like caffeine or cigarette addictions would fall into the “disallowed” category, as these can be harmful but are also legal, cheap, and easy to obtain. MMO and sex addiction likewise wouldn’t come up in play very often, other than as a minor distraction to the character. Narcotics, BTLs, and expensive gambling are all acceptable examples of Addictions that can be used in Missions.
Incompetent: This quality can only apply to a skill group that the character is likely to need and use on a regular basis. Outdoors, Engineering, Cracking, and Biotech are groups that should only be taken as incompetent if they would directly be a skill your characters build would use, such as a medic for Biotech, decker for Cracking, rigger for Engineering, etc. This should be a skill that has an impact on your character and your gameplay, not something easily ignored.
Gamemasters may do a Character Audit before a game session, and if they deem a quality to be unsuitable, they may disallow it. Please consider your qualities carefully and do not try to abuse the system.
What about Exceptional Attribute and Lucky?
Those say with Gamemaster Approval only. Both of these are allowed in Missions.
How many points worth of Qualities can I take?
As per the rules under Purchasing Qualities (see p. 71, SR5), you may only take a maximum of 25 points worth of Positive Qualities, and 25 points worth of Negative Qualities. If you really wish, for roleplay purposes, you may take additional Negative Qualities, but you may never gain more than 25 karma for them regardless of how many you take.
Can I take specializations for my skills?
Yes, specializations are allowed following the examples laid out in the book. Choose either a specialty listed or one that’s similar, keeping in mind that a specialty should be a bonus you only get under certain specific circumstances.
The only restriction to specializations is that for Unarmed Combat (see p. 131, SR5), you may only choose Blocking (+ 2 dice when defending), Striking (+ 2 dice when attacking), or Subduing (+ 2 dice when attempting to subdue/grapple an opponent).
You may not choose Martial Arts, since that’s too broad and vague and requires knowledge of a martial art by both the player and the gamemaster to properly determine when bonuses would apply and when they wouldn’t.
You are encouraged to carefully consider the contacts you choose and the fake SINs you purchase for your character. Both are incredibly useful. You’ll likely want (and even need) multiple SINs, because you can’t do much in the world of 2075 without one, and if they get burned, so do you!
In Missions, you will likely earn a fair number of contacts through gameplay. However, these contacts are frequently a part of the story and plot and are not always the most diverse, and they’re often limited in how high their loyalty will go. So we encourage you to make certain you have a diverse number of contacts at character creation to support your character and his chosen profession. A general fixer is always useful, and every runner should have one. Street and corp contacts are always worthwhile. Plus keep in mind that you need a way to get gear, so a decker should have a deckmeister or programmer, a street sammy should have an armorer or gunsmith, and a rigger should know a good mechanic or at least a used car salesman. Also, Season 5 takes place in the city of Chicago, so contacts outside that region may be of limited use.
Are the Lifestyle Options allowed for Missions play?
Lifestyle Options (see p. 374, SR5) are allowed in general. However since Missions are pre-written and rarely take place at the character’s doss, the two negative options (Cramped and Dangerous Area) are not allowed since they will rarely, if ever, come up. Characters should consider the positive options carefully, as they will likely come into play rarely as well, so they may be a waste of money.
Team Lifestyles (see p. 375, SR5) are allowed, but if used all members of the team who are using this option must synchronize their Missions Calendars. This means that if one member needs to spend an entire month of downtime training and the other members do not, or if a player misses a Mission and “skips” a week, the other players must waste this time and still pay full lifestyle costs. This is done to prevent the Calendar weirdness that happens of one player being several months ahead of another player because he frequently needs extended downtimes, and thus is paying far more for his share of the rent.