So on the weekend I had my first go at trying to guide players – many of them new – on how to build characters in Shadowrun. While I had a fairly good idea how this worked, being the GM, I found that it is a fairly up front process and quite difficult to grasp. This is especially true of new players and those who haven’t been into a really “crunchy” system like Shadowrun before. I did prepare a guide on how to make a character, but there are some parts of what I did that could have made life much easier.
1) Explain what the priorities mean clearly. I didn’t really do this and so a lot of my players thought that certain things were linked, like attributes and so would pick column C, then go through thinking that everything along that line was their character (whoops!).
2) Break down each step simply, so you start with Metatype, then Attributes, then magic/resonance, buy qualities, skills and finally how much money you have (then spending any left over Karma). I should have made it so there was a table of priorities, then scratch/mark each off then put the correct points and similar onto the character at each step.
3) I should have had everyone discuss what they wanted to play over group chat etc, but actually given time to smaller groups of players. I actually had 8 of my players (two campaigns, 5 players each) at the time and found it very hard to adequately divert my attention to everyone to help them through the different questions. This led to me giving more time to some players and not so much to others, which didn’t work well at all! Basically, talk about overall group dynamics with everyone (group chat) to get only a rough idea what everyone wants and build towards that, but help everyone individually!
4) I really need a good overview of the stuff players can buy and such so I have a simple list of gear/items/lifestyle costs etc. Having one main book was definitely a big disadvantage here.
Other than these hiccups everyone built some interesting characters and there are already some fantastic roleplaying opportunities emerging from this process. Hopefully the safe house will add another layer onto everything as well, which I am glad I left off this particular day as it would have been another complication!