Character Advancement

Players may advance their characters by accumulating Karma earned during game play and translating points of Karma into improvements on their character sheets.

There are two ways to earn Karma:

  • Gameplay: Every time a player finishes a Contract, their character earns the amount of Karma described in the Contract Brief for meeting particular objectives.
  • Gamemaster: At the completion of a Contract, the gamemaster may award a bonus point of Karma to any players who they felt demonstrated extra cleverness, humor, bravado, or other positive qualities in the course of their Narrations.

In all cases, the players should remember to mark down their accumulated Karma points in the appropriate spot on their character sheet.

After noting accumulated Karma points after a successful Contract, players can then spend that Karma in the following ways:

  • Improve an Attribute
  • Improve/Add a Skill
  • Improve/Add a Shadow Amp
  • Remove a negative quality
  • Improve Armor
  • Buy/Improve Weapons and Gear

To make any of these changes, using the following rules (no other aspects of the character sheet change):

Improving Attributes

To increase an Attribute by 1 point, spend Karma equal to the chosen Attribute’s new rating x 2. For example, to improve a Logic of 4 to a 5 would cost 10 Karma (5 × 2). Attributes can never exceed the maximum for the character’s metatype. If Strength or Willpower are improved, remember to adjust the Condition Monitor and melee weapon damage.

Improving/Adding Skills

Improve Skill: To increase a Skill by 1 point, spend Karma equal to the Skill’s new rating. For example, to improve an Engineering Skill of 3 to a 4 would cost 4 Karma. The maximum value for Skills is 12.

Add a new Skill: If you have an open Skill slot on your character sheet, you can buy a new Skill at rating 1. (If you do not have an open Skill slot, you may not buy a new Skill unless the player group agrees to allow additional Skills.) To buy a new Skill, choose a Skill from the Skills list and pay 2 Karma to get that Skill at rating 1.

Add a specialization: You may add a specialization to a Skill that does not already have one. To do so, pay 2 Karma, choose the specialization’s focus, and note a +2 modifier for that Skill. Skills with a rating of 1 cannot add specializations.

Improving/Adding Shadow Amps

Improve a Shadow Amp: First, determine how you want to improve the Shadow Amp. Consult the Shadow Amp Cost Table and choose the effect you wish to improve. For example, you could add the ability to reroll 1 failed die, or you could increase the damage reduction from 1 circle to 2 circles. Shadow Amps may only be improved one level at a time. For example, you cannot add 2 dice rerolls to a Shadow Amp that doesn’t already have a die reroll effect, and you cannot increase the damage reduction from 1 to 3 circles.

Once you have determined the new effect, reference the small number in the corner of the Shadow Amp’s box (the total level of the Amp). To improve the Shadow Amp, increase its level by 1, pay an amount of Karma equal to the new level, and add the chosen improvement to the Shadow Amp. For example, if a Shadow Amp has a listed level of 4, increase its level to 5 and pay 5 Karma for the improvement.

Add a new Shadow Amp: If you have an open Shadow Amp slot on your character sheet and can afford the Essence cost (if any), you can buy a new Shadow Amp for that slot. (If you do not have an open Shadow Amp slot, you can spend Karma to replace an existing Amp, but you may not add a new one unless the player group agrees to allow additional Shadow Amps.) To buy a new Shadow Amp, see Select Shadow Amps, p. 65, to determine the level for the Shadow Amp you wish to add, paying Karma equal to each level you purchase. That is, if you buy a new spell Amp, pay 1 Karma for that first level. Then, to add a new power, pay 2 more Karma for that level, making 3 Karma total.

If you wish to add a Shadow Amps that is listed on another character sheet, the cost for that is represented by a small number in the corner of the Shadow Amp’s box. Once you have determined the cost, pay the required Essence cost (if any) and an amount of Karma equal to the Shadow Amp’s cost, plus an amount equal to each level below it (for example, a level 3 amp would cost 3 +2 +1 = 6 Karma.

Remove a Negative Quality

If your character is constantly getting into trouble because of their negative quality, you can choose to spend Karma to remove it from your character sheet. But ridding yourself of a character flaw isn’t easy. To remove a negative quality, pay 6 Karma. Detailing the story of how you overcame the negative quality to your group, just to add to the ongoing narrative of your player and their team.

Note that this option should be used with caution. While removing the negative quality may help a character mechanically, it removes some great storytelling options, and telling fun stories is what Anarchy is all about. Be cautious about taking away opportunities for characters to overcome challenges!

Improve Armor

Some armor improvements might done using Shadow Amps, but in some cases characters might simply want to improve their Armor rating. This is a simple matter of spending 3 Karma for each 3-point improvement in Armor. Note that worn Armor can never increase to a rating of more than 12.

Buy/Improve Weapons and Armor

Sometimes the weapons and Gear you have just aren’t enough to get the job done, and you might need to find more ways to geek people and keep yourself from getting geeked. Due to the nature of the Cue System, the Shadowrun: Anarchy rules do not worry about tracking nuyen, the Sixth World’s most common currency. Players are welcome to roleplay the exchange of funds when acquiring new items, but this is not necessary. Instead, acquiring or upgrading new toys simply requires an expenditure of Karma.

Buy new Weapons and Gear: At any time, even during a game session, a player may spend 2 Karma to acquire one of the following: 1 weapon, any 2 Gear items, or 1 Contact.

Customize a Weapon: To customize a weapon, choose a weapon effect, and spend 3 Karma. Here are some example weapon upgrades:

Accuracy: Add the reroll of one failed die. (Examples: laser sights, integral smartgun system)

Lethality: Increase Damage by 1. (Examples: flechette rounds, explosive rounds)

Range: Decrease the range penalty of a single distance by 1. A weapon with a “–1” in a given range bracket will change to an “OK.” Range brackets with a “—” cannot be changed. (Sample customizations that might accomplish this: nightvision scope, high-caliber rounds)

Character Advancement

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