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2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 20: Shadowrun Anarchy

Welcome to Day 20 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and today we will be using the Shadowrun Anarchy Alternate Ruleset. I picked up this book from a gaming swap meet at SaltCON last spring for a decent price and decided to use it for the challenge. I have a Shadowrun character from the first edition of the game. I don’t recall very much about that game. Back in the early 90’s the cyberpunk genre was all the rage in gaming and I think the gaming group was just trying out different versions. I know we played the original Cyberpunk quite a bit.

Shadowrun Anarchy was published by Catalyst Game Labs in 2016 and I had never heard of it before I saw the book. The hardbound book has 213 pages and the ISBN number is 978-1-941582-19-0 and had an original cover price of $39.99. Character creation starts on page 61 and there is a one page character sheet.

The first step is to create a character theme. I looked over the sample characters given and elected to go with another Street Samurai that is cybernetically enhanced. He was taken in by an orphanage at a young age and never knew his parents (they could be a plot point to re-appear in a future session). This orphanage trained kids to become adults that would help protect the neighborhood from different street gangs and corporate thugs. So he has a strong sense of community. I’m instructed to create a character name, which will be Spike. The last item in this step is to create some Tags for the character. One or two word descriptions. I selected: Human, Tough, Protective and Street Life.

Step two is to determine the game level. This is done by the player group and not the GM apparently. The decision will determine the character creation stats and range from Gang-level game to Prime-runner game. As a committee of one, I selected the lowest at Gang-level. This gives me 12 attribute points, 10 skill points, 6 shadow amps, 2 weapons and some gear.

Step three is to choose the metatype (aka race). I already had selected human which gives me +1 edge and +1 skill point.

The next step is to determine if your character is awakened or emerged. Basically does the character have magical abilities or the capability to enter the matrix (Shadowrun’s internet) with just your mind. Spike will not have either of these items.

On step five we assign our attribute points. The attributes are Strength, Agility, Willpower, Logic and Charisma. Each starts with one point and I have the 12 to spread around. Now that we have the attributes assigned, some additional stats can be generated such as the Physical Damage Track and the Stun Damage Track (which to appear to function like hit points).

I have 11 skill points to use in step six. There is also a free Knowledge skill that the character has (I selected local neighborhoods to go along with the character concept). Spike fights, Spike shoots and Spike knows how to ride his motorbike to help his neighborhood.

Step seven instructs us to select Spike’s shadow amps These are special powers that enhance the character and I have six points to use. I selected a natural one of Fear (he intimidates people), wired reflexes and cyberarms (both give some bonuses but take two essence.

Next we are instructed to select two positive qualities and one negative quality. I selected Toughness (all damage taken is reduced by 1), Tough as Nails +1 to the Physical Damage Track and Emotional Attachment to the Orphanage organization (they instruct him and he follows those instructions).

The gearing steps are next. Step nine is to assign armor. Since I had an extra shadow amp point left, I used it to get an armored jacket and step ten is to pick Spike’s three weapons. He has a vibrosword, the Browning Ultra-Power Heavy Pistol and HK-227 Submachine Gun. And in the last of the gearing up steps (eleven) is to select other gear. Up to four items of non-combat variety and two contacts. He’s got a Harley-Davidson Scorpion Bike, a commlink, stim patches and a ring that apparently was left with him when the Orphanage found him. As for his contacts, he has the mysterious head of the Orphanage (who seems to be well connected) and the leader of the local street merchants (they are the extra eyes and ears that he depends upon, and in return he helps protect them).

Next we have step twelve where we create cues for the character. These are phrases (quotes basically) that the character might state during gameplay. These sound like the personal quotes from the D6 Star Wars game from WEG or the Values from Star Trek Adventures. I wrote down some, but would probably ask the GM to let me come up with some on the fly while gaming (when inspiration strikes).

Step thirteen instructs us to create a character background. I thought we did that at the first step? I added some personal data (weight, height, etc.) and history (as seen above). The final step is tweaking where you can adjust things now that you have the character down on paper. Does something not look right or needs to be adjusted, do that here.


I like how at the end of the steps it gives you a chance to adjust a few things. I’ve also loved the use of quotes to help define a character. The steps were pretty straight forward. I did have to do a lot of page flipping, but I was able to track some things down. The book did reference the 5th edition Shadowrun core book once to reference additional equipment, but I didn’t really feel like I was missing anything. This sounds like a rules-lite version of the game when I read the core die-rolling process. I’ve been hearing that this game might be played at a local game store or at SaltCON. I may have to check it out.

I don’t know if I’d do any homebrewing for this. The cyberpunk genre, while interesting to play, hasn’t started any creative juices flowing. So that’s more of a me thing than an issue with the game.

Additional Notes:

If you are still reading my posts after twenty days of the Character Creation Challenge, I thank you. I know that some have been entertained by this. Feel free to send me any feedback on the characters or the site in general. I am getting some creative ideas from my attempts (even the unsuccessful ones) and the entries of others. One I’m really intrigued by may even lead to my first homebrewed RPG system.

Coming Up Next:

Night’s Black Agents

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