Character Creation

The following rules provide a framework for creating a shadowrunner. As with all aspects of Shadowrun: Anarchy, the framework is light and fast and designed for players to playfully and enjoyably create a character sheet that reflects the style they want to embrace in a game. If you don’t like where your character is going at any time during the process, feel free to back up and start down the path that’ll make it the most fun!

1. Create a Character Theme (Character Name)
2. Choose Game Level
3. Choose Metatype
4. Decide if your character is Awakened or Emerged
5. Assign Attribute Points
6. Assign Skill Points
7. Add Shadow Amps
8. Add Qualities
9. Assign Armor
10. Select Weapons
11. Select Gear
12. Create Cues
13. Create Character Background
14. Final Tweaking

1. Create a Character Theme (Character Name)

As you work to create a shadowrunner, you need to find a short and flavorful description of the theme of your character. With that in mind, jot down a few descriptive words that outline your theme. Once you’ve got your theme, you’ll use that as the framework to help you make the decisions involved in the rest of the process.

Character Name

While this step appears at the start of character creation, it can actually happen any time during the process.


While not a requirement for character creation, every sample character sheet includes a short list of one-word Tags, and these Tags are carried throughout most of the sections of the book. They’re designed to give a very quick look at the theme/style of what you’re looking at. In the case of characters, Tags define what a character is, as opposed to how a character would react in a given situation.

2. Determine Game Level

The player group should decide what kind of overall power level the characters in the game will have. Are you interested in playing jumped-up gangers looking to carve a name for yourselves, or do you want to play veteran shadowrunners with rap sheets longer than the the polluted Mississippi River? Or maybe you wish to play somewhere in the middle, shadowrunners who are more seasoned than outright n00bs but still have a lot to learn? The selected level determines what each character will allocate to certain aspects of their shadowrunner.

We’ll be doing STREET RUNNER level.


A standard game provides the following character-creation stats:

  • Attributes: 16 Attribute points
  • Skills: 12 Skill points
  • Amps: 10 Shadow Amp points
  • Weapons: 2 weapons (one ranged, one melee)
  • Gear: Armor, 4 items, 2 contacts, 2 debts and favors

3. Choose Metatype

It may seem like a simple choice, but your character’s metatype can shape several aspects of your character. Choose one of the following metatypes and apply the following bonuses:

Human: +1 Edge, +1 Skill point
Elf: +1 Agility, +1 Charisma
Dwarf: +1 Strength, +1 Willpower
Ork: +2 Strength
Troll: +2 Strength, +3 Armor circles, –1 Skill point

Other Metatypes

Minotaur: +2 Strength, Natural Weapon Amp
Artificial Intelligence: Counts as Emerged. 10 Attribute points at Street Level.

4. Decide If Your Character Is Awakened or Emerged

Some abilities in the Sixth World are only available to people who qualify them. If you’re not Awakened, you can’t access mana to do amazing things like cast spells, summon spirits, or enhance your physical abilities. If you’re not Emerged, you can’t access the Matrix solely with the power of your mind, meaning you do not have access to technomancer abilities. If you want access to either of these areas (but not both—characters cannot be both Awakened and Emerged), you have to select that option in this step and pay the cost. Check either the Awakened or Emerged box on your character sheet, and deduct 2 Shadow Amp points (see step 7).

5. Assign Attribute Points

Based on the chosen game level, each player has a number of Attribute points to assign to the five Attributes: Strength, Agility, Willpower, Logic, and Charisma. (Edge is a special Attribute that is covered under the Select Shadow Amps section below, and so is not improved in this step.) Each Attribute point assigned equals one point for that Attribute, and, with the exception of AIs, characters begin with all Attributes set at 1 (since 0 is not a rating that functional metahumans can have in any Attribute). That means that if you want a Strength of 5, you assign 4 of your allotted Attribute points to Strength to increase the base rating of 1.

If you have a metatype bonus to an Attribute, you add the bonus to how many Attribute points you spent on that Attribute to determine the final Attribute value.

Human 6 6 6 6 6
Elf 6 7 6 6 8
Dwarf 8 6 7 6 6
Ork 8 6 6 5 5
Troll 10 5 6 5 4
Minotaur 11 5 6 5 4
Metasapient AI 0 0 6 7 6

Physical Damage Track: The Physical Condition is based on the Strength Attribute. Divide Strength by two, round up, and add eight, and that’s how many boxes you get on your Physical Condition Monitor.

Stun Damage Track: The Stun Damage Track is based on the Willpower Attribute. As with Strength in the Physical Damage Track, divide Willpower by two, round up, and add eight.

6. Assign Skill Points

Based on the chosen game level, each player has a number of Skill points to assign. Characters may only start with five skills. They should also select a Knowledge Skill (see below), which does not have a rating and thus does not cost Skill points.

Skills must be assigned a minimum of 1 point, and the maximum value of any Skill during character generation is 5.

Choosing a Specialization for a skill costs 1 Skill point. Players can begin with only one Specialization.

7. Select Shadow Amps

Shadow Amps represent that additional power, that oomph of augmentation that catapults your shadowrunner to a level above your average guttertrash. Here is where you get that much-needed edge over the opposition.

You can add Shadow Amps in two ways, either by choosing one you like from the list or by creating one of your own. The maximum number of Shadow Amps a character can have is six.

8. Add Qualities

Each player must choose two positive qualities and one negative quality for their character.

Positive qualities generally add additional dice to a Skill, though they can also offer a myriad of other positive gameplay bonuses. Negative qualities generally subtract dice, but they can also double penalties, or cause a number of other negative gameplay challenges.

When choosing qualities, you can either pick one from the sample character sheets or you can create one.

9. Assign Armor

Most characters do not have natural armor, so if they’re not wearing armor, they get no armor protection. Trolls, though, are thicker and sturdier than other metatypes, so they get +3 circles as a metatype bonus.

If you want more armor than your natural armor—and if you want to survive more than a few minutes, you do—you want some wearable armor. Armor comes at three levels—6 circles, 9 circles, or 12 circles. To obtain armor value 9, you do not need to do anything but choose one of the basic armor types and add it to your gear list. To choose armor that gives 12 circles, subtract one skill point from your selected skills—if you are choosing to specialize in heavy combat protection, then you are less effective in other skills. To choose armor with 6 circles, give yourself a bonus Skill point to compensate for your decreased armor (if you’re going to travel armor-light, it’s clearly because you have some other skills to rely on).

10. Select Weapons

Characters can choose at least two starting weapons, not counting their Unarmed Combat stats or weapons granted by Shadow Amps. We recommend each player take one ranged weapon and one melee weapon, but this may vary, depending on the character’s theme. If a player wishes to start with more than two weapons, the player group must approve this.

11. Select Gear

A player may choose up to four items of noncombat Gear and two Contacts, and set their Debts and Favors owed to other members of the group.

Gear in Shadowrun: Anarchy is not a set of hard rules and does not come with attached mechanics. Instead, they almost act as their own Cues, propelling the action forward without dropping into the minutiae of what exactly a piece of equipment weighs, what it does, and so on.

Contacts: Contacts represent a special kind of Gear, namely the people your character knows. These can run the gamut from street lowlifes to people in corporate penthouses, and they’ll be the ones your character gets in touch with when things go south, you need some information, or you just need a shoulder to bleed on.

Debts and Favors: As a group who has been running together for a while, every character owes a debt or favor to two other members of the group. The linked page provides plenty of examples, but feel free to make up your own. Debts and Favors are a special kind of Cue (see below).

12. Create Cues

These are phrases that can be bold statements a character might make in a given situation, or can be used to spark an idea of which direction a character might leap.

When creating Cues for your own character, use the same method you used when generating your character theme: jot down different phrases, sentences, or just saucy, juicy words that sound like something that would be fun to say during the action of the game. Then use the list to zero in on the best set of Cues.

If you’re still struggling, feel free to make the generation of Cues into a party game for all those who’ll be involved in a game of Anarchy. Each player can write down two or three (or more) Cues based on your character theme, and then you can select some, none, or all of them. Even the craziest Cues could prove an interesting take on your character’s personality under the right circumstances, so don’t be so quick to toss the wilder concepts out.

13. Create Character Background

Now that your character is done, feel free to fill in some details of your character’s background by using your character theme as a springboard. Or just use this really cool Shadowrun Lifepath Generator to get some ideas!

Personal Data: This represents vital statistics: metatype, age, sex, height/weight, and any other pertinent details you want to write down.

History: This is the meat of your character: who they are, where they came from, why they’re running the shadows, and so forth.

Personality: This represents details about how your character reacts to and interacts with various circumstances. This can be as detailed as you want to make it.

Dispositions: Like Cues, your character’s Dispositions should flow from how you’re building your theme. Even the description you used when generating your theme could be turned into Disposition statements.

14. Final Tweaking

Once you’ve written down all of your character details on the blank character sheet, review the final character to ensure it’s everything you want it to be. If you want to nip and tuck a little here and there, by all means, feel free.

Character Creation

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