A down-on-his-luck troll who’s using his powers as an adept to turn things around. A shaman from the NAN who protects the world with spirits at his side. A victim of the Crash 2.0 who doesn’t need a ‘deck to see the Matrix anymore. A driver and a drone pilot who feels more alive when she’s one with her machines. Each Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. Get ready for magic made physical, spirits bound in service, technosorcery across the grid, and swarming drones (and never forget what I told you about the dragons) because we’re heading back to the Sixth World of Shadowrun 5th Edition from Catalyst Lab Games!
When we met Dame Valeria, Corrigan, Brug, and Gunner I inserted a lot of notes among the characters to explain parts of the system and how the characters would actually work, since Shadowrun 5E is very different from most of the games Meet the Party has featured. If you’re new to Shadowrun, I encourage you to check out the article above in order to get the basic notes. Still, while the following characters all follow the same basic rules as Dame Valeria’s band they represent very different archetypes, so some notes will be included to talk about what’s different. Watch your back, and let’s see who’s running the shadows these days.
Douglas Garcia, The Adept
Priorities: Metatype (Troll) A, Skills B, Magic (Adept) C, Attributes D, Resources E
Adepts are quite different from Magicians. Rather than learning spells and rituals, they gain a number of Power Points equal to their Magic Rating which are then spent on Powers. Powers can be permanent and passive or may need to be activated, but most focus on the same thing: improving the adept’s physical abilities, defenses, and senses.
Condition Monitors (P/S): 12/10
Limits: Physical 9, Mental 3, Social 4
INI: 8 + 3d6
Positive Qualities: Exceptional Attribute (Magic), Toughness
Negative Qualities: Bad Rep, Bad Luck
Initiation: Grade 1
Metamagic: Power Point
Initiation was something that went unexplored last time, but it’s something that all magic users are capable of going through. The magic user undergoes a kind of ritual that depends on their tradition (a shaman may go on a spirit quest, an adept might meditate) and spends a required amount of Karma. Once done, their Initiation Grade increases by 1, their maximum (but not their current) Magic Rating increases by 1, and they gain a Metamagic. Many Metamagics can only be taken once, and become more powerful the higher the magic user’s Grade gets. Douglas chose Power Point, which simply grants him another one to spend. Adepts actually have access to fewer Metamagics in the core book than Magicians, but can take Power Point multiple times.
Adept Powers: Improved Physical Attribute (Agility) 4, Mystic Armor 2, Improved Reflexes 2, Spell Resistance 1, Combat Sense 1
Skills: Blades 6 (Specialization: Axes), Thrown Weapons 5 (Specialization: Knives), Sneaking 5, Tracking 5, Intimidation 5, Perception 5, Lockpicking 5, Athletics (Group) 5
Specializations are another aspect of the system I didn’t touch upon in the original Shadowrun article. Purchasable for a single skill point at character creation or for 7 Karma, Specializations are a narrow and advanced focus on a single expression of a skill, represented by a +2 dice pool bonus when the skill is used within that focus. For example, Douglas receives that +2 whenever he uses Blades with his combat axe, but would not get that bonus if he were forced to wield a katana instead.
Knowledge Skills: Gang Identification 3, Runner Hangouts 3
Languages: Aztlaner Spanish N, English 2
Contacts: Street Doc 2/2
Gear: Combat Axe, Throwing Knives x4, Armor Jacket, Sony Emperor Commlink, 240¥
Douglas is big, strong, and tough, but he gets all that simply by being a troll. Scary enough on its own, but relatively mundane in the Sixth World. But as a physical adept who focuses his magic inward he becomes a nightmare in melee combat. He’s faster and more agile than anything that big has any right to be, and he wields his axe and knives with deadly precision. If a supernaturally fast troll with a combat axe wasn’t bad enough, his other powers make him even tougher, resistant to spells, and harder to hit. Adding to the trouble is his skill set. If a magical troll doesn’t scare you, then one who can also stealthily track you and break into your house just might. Stealthy Troll. Think about that for a bit, then call security. Lots of security.
Douglass spent his Karma on his first initiation, with a single point being used to improve the loyalty of his Street Doc Contact.
Harold Razor Wing, The Shaman
Priorities: Magic (Magician) A, Attributes B, Skills C, Metatype (Elf) D, Resources E
Condition Monitors (P/S): 9/11
Limits: Physical 3, Mental 5, Social 7, Astral 7
INI: 6 + 1d6, Astral 6 + 3d6
Positive Qualities: Mentor Spirit (Eagle), Spirit Affinity (Air), First Impression
Negative Qualities: Spirit Bane (Fire), Astral Beacon, Allergy (Pollutants, Mild)
Harold’s Allergy is actually a consequence of his Mentor Spirit, so he didn’t receive any Karma for it.
Spells: Agony, Chaotic World, Stealth, Physical Mask, Influence, Ice Sheet, Mana Barrier, Extended Detect Magic, Mind Probe, Heal
Unlike Corrigan, who was a Hermetic mage, Harold is a Shaman. That greatly alters the flavor of the character, and changes what kind of spirits are associated with what kind of spells, but most importantly means that Harold uses Charisma + Willpower to resist Drain.
Skills: Summoning 6, Binding 5, Spellcasting 4, Counterspelling 4, Assensing 3, Arcana 3, Astral Combat 3, Con 3, Negotiation 3, Archery 2, Perception 2 +2, Enchanting (Group) 2
Knowledge Skills: Spirits 6, Parazoology 2, Parabotany 1
Languages: English N, Lakota 4, Sperethiel 1
Contacts: Talismonger 4/3, Beat Cop 3/4, Corporate Wagemage 4/2, Mr. Johnson 2/2
Gear: Spirit Focus (Force 1, Binding), Light Crossbow, Sony Emperor Comlink, Armor Jacket, 480¥
Harold Razor Wing is no slouch at spellcasting, with many of his spells serving to confound enemies in combat or out. Harold really shines when it comes to spirits, however, being a skilled summoner. Spirits of Air are a particular specialty of his, thanks to his Affinity for them and a bonus from his Mentor Spirit. He is also skilled at binding spirits to his will, aided by his Spirit Focus. Enemies are going to be hard-pressed to handle the very Air turning against them. In addition to that Harold is also a good talker, with First Impression making sure that he always starts off on the right foot when meeting new people. He has the widest list of contacts on the team, and is their expert on all sorts of strange creatures and plants. With his points in Enchanting, he is also a good in-house source for magical items like foci and potions.
Harold spent most of his remaining Karma on a second point of Edge, with what was left being used to bind himself to his Spirit Focus and giving him a few words of Sperethiel.
Etelinda ‘Kudrun’ Ritter, The Technomancer
Priorities: Magic (Technomancer) A, Attributes B, Metatype (Dwarf) C, Skills D, Resources E
Technomancers can, for reasons and via means that aren’t understood very well, access the Matrix on their own without using a commlink or cyberdeck. This means all sorts of things, both mechanically and narratively. While using the same Priority column as Magic, Technomancers use their own special attribute called Resonance. Like Magic, Resonance can be negatively affected by cybernetics, so it’s rare to see a Technomancer with any.
Condition Monitors (P/S): 10/11
Limits: Physical 5, Mental 8, Social 7
INI: 9 + 1d6, 11 + 4d6 Hot-Sim
Like normal Deckers, Technomancers use Data Processing for their Matrix initiative. While Deckers get their Data Processing from their deck, however, a Technomancer’s is based off of his or her Logic rating. In fact, all of a Technomancer’s Matrix Attributes are based off of their personal Attributes. This can make them pretty strong, reliably so and without needing to spend cash for better gear, but of course the trade off is that they can’t switch around their Matrix Attributes on the fly like a Decker. Also, Technomancers can’t use Cold-Sim naturally; they’re far too tied into the Matrix to use such a ‘clunky’ system.
Positive Qualities: Exceptional Attribute (Resonance)
Negative Qualities: Insomnia (15)
Submersion: Grade 1
Echoes: Attack Upgrade
Submersion is the Technomancer equivalent of Initiation, and it follows most of the same rules. After submerging themselves deep in the Resonance, the Technomancer’s maximum Resonance rating increases, and they emerge with an Echo, an increase in power. Etelinda chose Attack Upgrade because her Attack rating, based off of her Charisma, was her weakest Matrix Attribute before submerging.
Complex Forms: Resonance Spike, Transcendent Grid, Static Bomb, Diffusion of Attack, Static Veil
In a way Complex Forms can be thought of as a technomancer’s ‘spells’, special actions that they can perform in addition to the usual set of Matrix Actions, using their Resonance rating as part of the associated check.
Skills: Compiling 5, Registering 5, Software 5, Hacking 5, Electronic Warfare 5, Computer 5, Unarmed Combat 2, Etiquette 3
Knowledge Skills: Matrix 6, Resonance Realms 6, Corporate Security 4
Languages: German N, English 6, Japanese 1
Contacts: Technomancer 3/3, Detective 3/3
Gear: Armor Clothing, Shock Gloves, Meta Link Commlink, Fake SIN (Rating 1), 420¥
Etelinda Ritter, who more often goes by the handle ‘Kudrun‘, is more than just another hacker in the shadows. A Technomancer who can access the Matrix without needing any sort of gear, she’s as much at home among the data streams as she is in the physical world. Her Complex Forms allow her to act without drawing the ire of the Grid Overwatch Division, helping her move unseen while she works. In addition to that her connection to the Resonance allows her to work with sprites, beings of the matrix that she can draw to herself and control using Compiling and Registering. When she’s not submerged in data she’s an amiable sort who knows her way around people. Still, she never goes anywhere without her Commlink; while she can’t remember the last time she actually used it, it wouldn’t do to let people know what she is.
Kudrun spent her Karma going through her Submersion, on her Etiquette, and to gain a passing understanding of the Japanese tongue.
Sandra Zhang, The Rigger
Priorities: Resources A, Skills B, Metatype (Ork) C, Attributes D, Magic E
Condition Monitors (P/S): 10/10
Limits: Physical 7, Mental 4, Social 2
INI: 13 + 1d6, 8 + 3d6 Cold Sim, 8 + 4d6 Hot Sim
Looking below you might notice that Sandra doesn’t have a cyberdeck, so you might be wondering why she has Cold and Hot Sim initiatives. That’s because she has a Control Rig and a Control Console, what really make her into a rigger, and they allow her to ‘jump-in’ to any of her machines that have a Rigger Interface. She uses Data Processing for these Initiative rolls like a decker might, but a Console is unlike a ‘deck in that its Data Processing is a static number, allowing me to simply slot it in to the calculation here.
Positive Qualities: Gearhead
Negative Qualities: Addiction (Burnout)
Skills: Gunnery 6 (Specializations: Ballistic, Launchers), Pilot Ground Craft 5 (Specialization: Wheeled), Pilot Aircraft 5 (Specializations: Rotary Wing, VSTOL), Armorer 5 (Specializations: Armor, Firearms), Navigation 5, Perception 5, Engineering (Group) 5
Knowledge Skills: Engineering 5, Black Market Pipelines 5
Languages: English N, Mandarin 1, Or’zet 1
Contacts: Mechanic 2/1
Gear: Leather Jacket, Vulcan Liegelord Control Console, Hermes Ikon Commlink, Fake SIN (Rating 1), Fake License (Rating 3), Tool Kit, 2,020¥
Vehicles/Drones: GMC Bulldog (Rigger Interface), Steel Lynx (Rigger Interface, Stoner-Ares M202 Machine Gun, ArmTech MGL-12 Grenade Launcer), MCT-Nissan Roto-Drone #1 (Rigger Interface, Standard Weapon Mount, Ares Alpha Assault Rifle), MCT-Nissan Roto-Drone #2 (Rigger Interface, Standard Weapon Mount, Ares Alpha Assault Rifle), MCT Fly-Spy (Rigger Interface)
Cyberware: Control Rig 2, Reaction Enhancers 2, Wired Reflexes 2
Someone needs to drive the extraction vehicle, and that falls to Sandra Zhang. Between her highly augmented Reaction, Gearhead, and her natural skill behind the wheel she’d more than suffice, but instead she excels. As a rigger she can ‘jump in’ to her Bulldog van to effectively make the vehicle her own body, granting increased dice pools and better Initiative. And then she can jump in to the drones. The MCT Fly-Spy allows Sandra to be the team’s reconnaissance platform, but her Roto-Drones and the Steel Lynx make her a dangerous (if remote) combatant. The rest of the team, although dangerous in their own ways, have a dearth of gunfire in their repertoires. Sandra more than makes up for that on her own, with three drones blazing away. Back home her Engineering rating means she can fix practically any machine, and Armorer makes her the team’s go-to member for firearms (mostly hers), armor, and other gear.
Sandra spent most of her Karma on Edge, but she also used it to purchase both of her Armorer specializations.
Who They Are
Douglas Garcia made a decent life for himself in his native Aztlan, being born without a SIN but with the native strength of a troll and the arcane strength of an adept. Despite his skill, however, bad luck seemed to follow him. His first team broke up when their leader was killed, and he was the only survivor of his second team in a ‘run gone bad against Aztechnology. With nobody local willing to team up with him anymore he headed north, hoping that somewhere beyond the Big A’s territory might hold the better luck he needs to keep living in the shadows.
Harold Razor Wing was practically born Awakened, and more or less always knew that he would be a shaman of the Native American Nations. When Eagle came to him, however, Harold knew that he would be taking a much more proactive stance than other shamans. With the megacorporations working to squeeze every last drop of profit out of the world, Harold would put himself between them and Mother Earth. If they pushed too far, he would turn the Air itself against them. While he has never shied away from getting paid for his work, nature has always been his bottom line.
Etelinda Ritter was normal enough SINless trash eking out a life in Berlin before 2064. But in November of that year the Crash 2.0 came along, bringing down the old Matrix in a flurry of terrorist activity and AI conflicts, Logged on at the time, Etelinda spent several months in a coma. When she came out of it, things seemed normal enough, until one day when she realized she’d been searching the Matrix while her commlink was off. One of that rare breed of Technomancer, Kudrun took to the shadows, both to ply her skills and to hide them. The world at large isn’t ready for those who can hack the Matrix with their mind alone, after all, but there are also always those willing to pay those with such a gift for their services.
Sandra Zhang never felt at home in her own body until she installed a Control Rig and jumped in to her first vehicle. The metal skin, the spark of electricity, the rumbling of an engine made her feel more alive than she ever had while walking around. Truth be told, she quickly became addicted to jumping in using Hot-Sim VR, and she’s not particularly shy about it either. She first got into the shadows in order to afford more and better ‘bodies’ for her to use, and to this day that’s her driving motivation. Keeping her flesh body fed and healthy is a basic need. Everything else goes towards purchasing more and better drones and vehicles for her to actually live in.
How They Interact
Douglas was initially a little spooked by Harold, thanks to bad experiences ‘running against the Big A. He quickly learned that not every magician or shaman was going to go toxic or start up a blood ritual, though, and the elf eventually became a friend. Kudrun is a little spooky in her own way, staring into nothing like that whenever she uses her powers, but they’ve bonded over leaving their homelands behind. Douglas’s travels out of Aztlan gave him a good appreciation for having a speedy getaway available, and Sandra provides that in spades. Despite her abrasive personality the troll adept goes out of his way to stay in her good graces so that she’ll come get him when he really needs her to.
Harold keeps Mother Earth at the forefront of his mind, but that does not mean he does not have a care for her children as well. Douglas has been hurt by one of the worst of the megacorporations, so far as Harold and Eagle are concerned, and the shaman would gladly help the troll get a little payback. The Elf actually has high hopes for Kudrun; rather than being afraid of techomancers like many others, Harold hopes they are the vanguard of the future. No need for a ‘deck means fewer getting made, which means less money for the corps and less of their filth in the skies. Sandra isn’t just abrasive, she’s more machine than metahuman, and Harold finds all those augments mildly distasteful. Still, she’s dependable enough, so she deserves his own best efforts.
Kudrun is somewhat wary of Douglas’s reputation. Two shattered teams, one completely wiped out, doesn’t bode well. Still, at the very least the troll has no reason to love the megacorps, and thus isn’t likely to turn her in. Plus, they’re both expatriates. That’s something they can empathize with one another over. Harold has always been a welcoming face in the shadows, with literally no chance of him selling her to a corp. She trusts him implicitly. Sandra is mercenary enough that a technomancer bounty might just tempt her, so Kudrun is wary of letting the ork know too much. She also tries to make herself invaluable, though, protecting the rigger’s drones from other hackers.
Sandra knows exactly how nervous Douglas can get about yet another team getting torn up, and while she never outwardly acknowledges it she’s more than happy to let the troll do her favors. She supposes that it makes him worth pulling out of the fire. Harold’s the most stereotypical daisy eater she’s ever met, going on and on about spirits and the damage to nature and blah blah blah who cares. Useful, though; without that Ice Sheet sending two Knight Errant cruisers skidding out last month, they might not have made a clean getaway. Her paint might’ve gotten scratched, even! Kudrun is downright creepy, and Sandra has a hard time not buying into the stories about technomancers being able to hack even your meat brains. But so long as the German dwarf is hacking other people’s brains, Sandra can deal with creepy.
Whether you’ve got a bad reputation, oppose megacorporations for a living, have people wanting to dissect you, or have hackers trying to steal your metal bodies, the Sixth World is a dangerous one. If you can keep people from hunting you down for what you’ve done or what you are, you still need to find a way to earn your grocery money. Will Douglas, Harold, Kudrun, and Sandra run their way towards profits or an early death and a shallow grave? Chummer, that’s for you (and your dice) to determine!
Originally posted 10/8/15 on the Mad Adventurers Society!