SR5:Character Creation:Step 7

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5th Edition Rules
Basics Combat Magic Matrix Driving Character Creation


This step is the player’s last opportunity to polish her character before making the final calculations. By this time the player should have a pretty good idea of her character’s backstory and what she wants her character to look like. Any remaining Karma can now be invested in smoothing out any rough edges, picking up or improving skills, buying additional spells, acquiring bound spirits, bonding foci to be used at the start of the game, purchasing contacts, etc. Refer to the Additional Purchases and Restrictions table to note any special restrictions on purchasing items with Karma. If a player wishes to keep some Karma for use later in the game, she may do so, though the maximum carryover is 7 Karma. When raising skills and attributes, keep in mind the various restrictions of character creation:

  • Arms dealer
  • Smuggler
  • Mobster
  • Corporate wageslave
  • Fixer
  • Talismonger (seller of magical goods)
  • Beat cop on the take
  • Rigger
  • Mechanic
  • Street doc

Only one attribute can be at the natural attribute limit, and gear is restricted to items with Device Ratings of 6 or less or an Availability of 12 or less. These rules still apply to when you are spending Karma.

When spending Karma for attributes or skills, refer to the rules for improving the character in the Character Advancement section (p. 103).


Contacts are a vital part of a shadowrunner’s life. Contacts sell illegal or hard-to-obtain items, alert runners to potential employment, know someone who knows someone who knows something the runner wants to know, or are knowledgeable about the layout of a heavily guarded corporate compound. Some contacts can supply substances runners are addicted too, fence stolen goods, and maybe, if they’re loyal enough, bail the shadowrunner out of the Lone Star holding cell. Having a wide variety of Contacts can be a valuable investment. Every character receives free Karma to spend on their initial contacts. This Karma is equal to a Character’s Charisma rating x 3.

Each Contact has a Connection and a Loyalty rating. Any Contacts a player buys must have a minimum rating of 1 in Connection and a minimum rating of 1 in Loyalty. Connection represents how much reach and influence a Contact has, both within the shadows and in the world at large, to get things done or to make things happen. Loyalty reflects how loyal the contact is to the runner and how much they’ll endure without shattering whatever bond the two have. At Loyalty 1 or 2, the Contact has only a business relationship with the character. Any qualms they have about turning the runner in are tied to profits they may lose if the runner isn’t around, not so much because of any close personal feelings. With a higher Loyalty rating, the Contact has a stronger and more personal relationship (i.e., friendship) with the character, and is more likely to take some risk or go out of his way to help the character. For specific rules on the use of Contacts, see p. 386.

Bound Spirits 1 Karma per service (Force of spirit is equal to Character’s Magic Attribute rating)
Can only have a number of bound spirits equal to Charisma
Complex Forms 4 Karma per complex form
Spells 5 Karma per spell
Bond Foci Variable; see p. 318 for bonding costs of foci
Contacts 1 Karma for each point of Connections Rating, 1 Karma for each Loyalty Rating (minimum Karma requirement = 2)
Registering Sprites 1 Karma per task (Level of Sprite equal to Character’s Resonance Rating)
  • Maximum number of complex forms at character creation equal to Logic Attribute
  • Maximum number of spells/rituals/preparations known at Character Creation equals Magic Rating x 2
  • Maximum total Force of all foci that can be bonded at character creation is equal to character’s Magic Rating x 2
  • A single contact may not have more than 7 Karma spent on them at character creation.
  • There are no limits on how many contacts the character may purchase
  • Can only have a number of Registered Sprites equal to the character’s Charisma




James is ready to spend his final 26 Karma on his character. He notes he is missing a couple of key skills: Software and Cybercombat. Looking over the Karma Advancement Table for Skills (p. 107), James decides to add both Cybercombat and Software skills at rating 2. He determines that it will cost him 6 Karma each to buy the skills at rating 2 (2 Karma for the first point + 4 Karma for the second point). James makes those changes to his character sheet, subtracting 12 from his Karma fund. With 14 Karma left, James decides to invest 4 Karma in raising his Electronic Warfare to 2; he then uses 4 Karma to buy a complex form (Resonance Spike). James spends his last 6 Karma registering 2 sprites (crack sprite and fault sprite) with 3 tasks each; the sprites have a level equal to his Resonance, which is 6. Here are his final active skills, complex forms, and sprites:

James now needs to pick out contacts. Based on his Charisma score, James has 9 Karma to spend on his contacts’ Connection and Loyalty ratings. James has decided that his character is a neo-anarchist. His contacts will be a neo-anarchist lieutenant, a fixer, and a fence. James assigns 4 Karma to his neo-anarchist lieutenant, 2 Karma to his fence, and 3 Karma to his fixer, as follows:

Neo-Anarchist Lieutenant 2 2
Fence 1 1
Fixer 2 1


Rob’s street samurai has 16 Karma left to spend, and Rob knows he cannot afford to raise any of his attributes at this time, so he looks at his active skills. Ron desperately needs to raise his Perception skill. He spends 4 Karma raising his Perception skill to 2. Rob would also like to raise his Heavy Weapons skill rating from 1 to 2. This also costs 4 Karma, leaving him with 8. Rob then decides to raise his First Aid skill from 2 to 3. This increase costs Rob 6 Karma. Rob only has 2 Karma left, so he decides to raise his Language skill from 1 to 2 in Dakota. Rob’s character’s skills look like this:

With his character’s Charisma attribute of 3, Rob has 9 Karma to spend on contacts. He keeps it simple:

Street Doc 3 2
Fixer 2 2


Kyra also has 16 Karma left for improving her character. She increases her Etiquette skill from 2 to 3, costing 6 Karma and leaving her with 10. She decides to start the game with two bound spirits—a Water spirit and a Beast spirit—each capable with 4 services. That costs her 8 Karma. The spirits have Force ratings equal to Kyra’s Magic rating of 6. Kyra decides to carry the 2 Karma she has left over into the game. Her skills now look like this:

Kyra has 18 Karma to spend on contacts (Charisma 6 x 3). Because she has ties with the Ancients, an all-elven go-gang, she decides to have two contacts with them—a lieutenant and a rank-and-file gag member. Kyra’s character also needs a drug dealer for her mild addiction to the street drug bliss, a talismonger from whom she can purchase magic goods, and a street doc who knows how to treat Awakened. These are the contacts Kyra has selected for her character:

Ancients lieutenant 3 3
Ancients member 1 2
Drug dealer 1 1
Talismonger 2 1
Street doc 3 1