SR5:Character Creation:Step 6

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5th Edition Rules
Basics Combat Magic Matrix Driving Character Creation


Players should only have one Priority Level left to assign to Resources. This Priority Level determines the amount of money that characters will have to spend on the gear they’ll use to kick some ass, as well as a place to crash when the heat’s off. See Street Gear for available equipment. In this step, you’ll improve your character through spending money; any improvements made with the player’s Karma fund are handled in Step Seven: Spending Your Left Over Karma.


The character needs to spend the vast majority of nuyen they have; by the end of this step, they may choose to hold onto 5,000 nuyen or less and add it to their starting nuyen (p. 95). Any nuyen remaining over 5,000 is lost and cannot be recovered. While nuyen from this step cannot be converted to Karma, players can convert some of their Karma to nuyen if they need a little more to spend. They may convert up to 10 Karma at a rate of 2,000 nuyen per Karma point for gear, which means they can have up to 20,000 extra nuyen.

If the player finds that he or she has more than the 5,000 nuyen that can be saved (or even if he or she hasn’t), there are a few essential pieces of gear to consider when building a shadowrunner. You’ll want a commlink (p. 438) to stay in touch and to keep your gear relatively safe from hackers. A fake SIN (p. 442), along with some fake licenses, will help smooth dealing with law enforcement or even simple purchases like buying a bus ticket or covering a bar tab. For more ideas, see the Gear Checklist sidebar.

Keep in mind there are three restrictions when it comes to purchasing gear. First, when purchasing augmentations such as cyberware and bioware, each attribute rating (Mental and Physical) can only receive an augmentation bonus of up to +4. If the attribute being raised has not reached its natural maximum limit, the attribute can be raised naturally with Karma; but at no point can augmentations exceed the +4 bonus cap. The second restriction is that at normal character creation, characters are restricted to a maximum Availability rating of 12 and a device rating of 6. After character creation, characters may be able to acquire gear that has a higher Availability and a higher device rating. Finally, all gear is subject to gamemaster approval, even if the gear falls within these restrictions.


The most common augmentations players take to enhance their characters’ attributes are cyberware and bioware. Cyberware is technology implanted into a metahuman body, either to enhance the performance of existing organs, muscles, and systems, or to replace a part of the metahuman body completely with an artificial form that exceeds normal human limitations. Bioware, by contrast, is living technology; cells grown in laboratories and designed to work within a metahuman’s body to improve on its natural design, and to add options nature never intended. Cyberware generally consumes more of a character’s Essence than bioware. The drawback for bioware is its greater expense.

Note that if a character takes cyberware or bioware, it may remove a particular racial bonus. For example, if a player who has an elf character buys cybereyes, their natural low-light vision is removed and replaced with the cybereyes and whatever attributes it possesses. If the player still wants low-light vision, she’ll have to select the low-light modification for the cybereyes. Similarly, orthoskin replaces the natural dermal deposits of a troll so he would no longer receive the +1 dermal armor from his natural skin hardness.

There are four grades of available cyberware and bioware: standard, alphaware, betaware, and deltaware. Only standard gear and alphaware are available at character creation.

Cyberware and bioware augmentations are not for everyone. The physiologies for magic users and technomancers respond poorly to the loss of Essence that accompanies these augmentations. In game terms, this means that any fraction of Essence loss reduces a Magic or Resonance attribute rating by 1. This means that if a magician with Magic 5 decides to buy and install some cybereyes (Rating 4), their Essence will go from 6 to 5.5 due to the Essence cost of the cybereyes, and the magician will also lose a full point of Magic, leaving them with a Magic attribute rating of 4. The character can then lose another half a point of Essence, taking him down to 5.0, without a penalty to Magic, but if he drops below 5.0, his Magic rating is going to lose another point.This is why so few magic users or technomancers make use of either cyberware or bioware. Those who do can find their talents burned out if too many augmentations reduce their Magic or Resonance rating to 0. For more information, see Magic Loss (p. 278) or Resonance Loss (p. 249).

Attributes boosted by cyberware or bioware do not affect the calculation for things such as points for Knowledge skills or Contacts. However, other in-game mechanics such as Initiative and Inherent Limits are modified by these augmentations, which means these bonuses need to be factored in during Step Eight: Final Numbers. When calculating the Social limit using Essence, round your remaining Essence up to the nearest whole number before calculating the limit.

Augmentations need to be noted on the character sheet. The rating should be added to the natural attribute rating and the total written in parentheses next to the natural attribute rating to indicate the permanent augmented rating. For example, a character with a natural Strength rating of 4 and muscle augmentation 2 bioware should record their attribute as follows: Strength 4 (6).


Street Free
Squatter 500¥
Low 2,000¥
Middle 5,000¥
High 10,000¥
Luxury 100,000¥
Street 1D6 x 20¥
Squatter 2D6 x 40¥
Low 3D6 x 60¥
Middle 4D6 x 100¥
High 5D6 x 500¥
Luxury 6D6 x 1,000¥

Lifestyle determines how the character lives and their monthly expenses so that they can survive. Is the character a squatter in an abandoned building? Does he survive by dumpster diving? Does the character live in a rundown apartment? Or has the character found a way to own her own home? Depending on the answers to these questions, the character may have a Street, Squatter, Low, Middle, High, or Luxury lifestyle. More information on lifestyles can be found on p. 373.


No more than 5,000 nuyen (or less) of any unspent money from the funds available for character creation carries over to game play. The rest of the character’s starting nuyen is determined by the lifestyle the player has purchased for his character and the formula for that lifestyle specified by the Starting Nuyen Table. The player rolls the designated number of dice, then applies the modifier appropriate to their character’s Lifestyle. The result is added to any funds the player has left over after buying gear.




James assigns his final Priority Level, level A, to Resources. This gives James 450,000 nuyen with which to buy gear. Here is what he picks up:

Starting Nuyen: Middle Lifestyle (4D6 x 100) + 4,995¥ = 7,195¥

His carryover of 4,995 nuyen plus his starting nuyen gives him 7,195 at the start of play.


Rob has Priority row D for his resources, which means he has 50,000 nuyen with which to purchase gear. Rob’s character also has it harder than most other metatypes because he is a troll and has the racial disadvantage of having to pay one hundred percent more for Lifestyle expenses. Rob decides to get more nuyen for his gear by converting 10 Karma into 20,000 nuyen, raising his purchasing fund to 70,000 nuyen. This leaves him with only 15 Kama for improving his character later. Here’s the gear Rob gets for his street samurai:


Kyra’s remaining Priority row is E. This means that she has only 6,000 nuyen to spend on gear. She decides to spend 10 Karma now for an additional 20,000 nuyen, which brings her up to 26,000 nuyen. This leaves her with only 16 Karma to improve her character later. Her purchases are as follows: