While it doesn't have 'character classes', Shadowrun does provide 'archetypes'. The rules are structured in such a way that, although it is certainly possible to cross over between classes, there are enough restrictions that most players fall 'mostly' into one of the standard archetypes; there's a lot of variation possible within each one. We encourage people to come up with creative concepts, but it should have some sort of tie to the Shadow community. Otherwise, it's going to be difficult to interact with other people.
Street Samurai The Street Samurai (or 'sammie') is a character based primarily on cyberware and bioware (implanted technological devices to augment the body's natural functioning). Many of them choose to follow a code of honor, though others simply are out for money, power, or some other form of personal gain. This archetype tends to start out extremely powerful out of chargen, but may tend to find it more difficult to advance. This character archetype encompasses a wide range of capabilities, but usually they are designed primarily for combat.
Face Social skills are very important in a role-playing game, and in Shadowrun, it's not what you know, a lot of the time, but who you know. The Face is the ultimate practitioner of the social arts. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her — at least, by *some* name. People are the key to getting things done, if you just know how to motivate them. Faces usually use cyberware or bioware, skills, magical abilities, or some combination of these to improve their social abilities.
Detective Sometimes, you need to know more information. Information, or legwork, is the key to getting things done. The detective uses good old-fashioned police work to find out information, along with a network of contacts. Sometimes they use the Matrix, or whatever means are necessary. Often, they're former law-enforcement officers who've gotten screwed over by the corporations, or had something hit their conscience one too many times. Or sometimes, they're just looking to be a bit more independent, get out of the rigid hierarchy of the corporations. Whatever their reason, they often use their skills, cyberware, and bioware to find out what they need to know.
Cyberdocs Somebody has to implant all that 'ware, or fix you up when you get busted. Doctors do just that, and there's a pretty penny to be made from cyberware. Often doctors combine themselves with another archetype, though sometimes they are simply a field medic. Magic can definitely help in surgery, so some doctors choose the path of using magic to heal.
Engineers This archetype applies to just about anyone who uses their skills to develop new gear on the game. This is more of a support character, at least until you've gotten enough cool gear developed to make yourself really useful on a run. Just as a caution, we're rather careful about what new gear we allow PC's to develop. While we like it, it's something that involves careful control of game balance. Often, engineers have modifications that help them with their work, such as cyberware or bioware to augment their intelligence.
Covert Ops Specialist In some ways, this character is a variation of the Street Samurai. Instead, though, she relies on stealth and infiltration to accomplish her work, rather than brute force and sheer power like the Samurai. Often her equipment will provide her ways to sneak into places undetected, ways to kill or incapacitate silently, and skills oriented toward doing things quietly and surreptitiously.
Rigger A certain piece of cyberware called a Vehicle Control Rig provides a character with the ability to directly control a vehicle, or even 'become' the vehicle. Using the abilities of cars and drones instead of their own 'meat' body, a rigger can enjoy the ability to direct an entire fleet against a target, or use that fleet in order to perform just about any task from surveillance to transport. Using a 'Remote Control Deck', riggers can even control their drones and cars from miles away.
Hacker Using headwear, a character can interface directly with computer systems. Using a special type of computer, which contains programs and hardware specifically designed for hacking, a character can go out onto the Matrix and infiltrate other systems (yes, Shadowrun's usage of the term 'Matrix' far predates the movie). Hackers are masters of the Matrix, hacking in to get the information they need, subverting computer systems as they go. There is also a group who require no machinery to do this, known as Technomancers…
Shaman Usually following the Native American traditions of shamanistic magic, these characters can use magic to cast spells. Virtually any form of religious magic is practical under this archetype. A shaman picks a totem — a spiritual guide — which grants them certain abilities in addition to simply casting spells. Shamans may also summon 'nature spirits' to do their bidding. Magic and cyberware/bioware are incompatible — if either of them are implanted in an awakened character, the character loses some of his/her magical abilities.
Physical Adepts Instead of directing their magic toward spellcasting, Physical Adepts instead channel it into improving their body, mind, or reflexes. Physical Adepts can perform many of the same feats that those with cyberware or bioware can accomplish, without some of the limitations. While they do not start off as powerful out of chargen, they have virtually no limit to how far they can expand their skills. Since they are magically-awakened characters, they cannot have cyberware or bioware implanted in them without suffering loss of some or all of their magical abilities.
Hermetic Mages Remember the old wizards, with their formulas and incantations? That is the path of the Hermetic Mages. Like Shamans, they can cast spells, but instead of allying themselves with the spiritual aspect of magic, they approach it from a more rigorous, scientific point of view. Hermetics cannot summon nature spirits, but they can summon elementals, which are more powerful. The disadvantage is that they cost money to summon, and time. Like the other magically awakened characters, Hermetic mages cannot take cyberware or bioware without losing some of their abilities.
When magic came back into the world, some people's genetics were affected by this. The human race split into five distinct subspecies, each with their own attributes. Each race received a name reminiscent of the mythical race they most resembled.
Humans Those who were not affected by the changes retained all aspects of humanity. They are humans, plain and simple, with their normal adaptability, luck, and ability to do reasonably well at nearly any situation.
Elves Taller than humans (averaging just under two meters in height) and slender, elves are more attractive, on average, to human eyes. Their slender, quick forms give them natural advantages when it comes to stealth or any task involving agility.
Dwarves Much shorter and stockier than humans, dwarves are stronger than humans, more durable, and blessed with a greater strength of will. They seem to stereotypically tend more toward the technical professions, though there is nothing they can't do.
Orks Despite their somewhat unattractive (to human eyes) appearance, Orks are great to have on your side when it comes to rough and tumble. Though they're hardly as attractive or as intelligent, on average, as most humans, they are blessed with durability and strength well above human average. The weakest ork is as strong as an average human, and more durable.
Trolls Imagine the biggest bouncer you've ever seen. Now, make him even bigger than that, add tusks and horns to him, and you have a troll: a walking pile of meat and muscle. The weakest troll is as durable as the best a human can normally become, and nearly as strong. Their immense size gives them problems, though, in dealing with things made for the other, smaller races. Trolls aren't as bright, in general, as humans are on average, but their large size more than makes up for this deficit.
Characters are created with 400 BP using the Shadowrun 4th Edition rules set. Acceptable expansions include Arsenal, Street Magic, Augmentation, Unwired. All characters must be sent to moc.liamg|nevah.rennuR#moc.liamg|nevah.rennuR for approval before play begins.
Sheets can be found at http://www.4shared.com/file/199017351/e1c88128/SR4Chargen.html
Character generator can be found at http://daegann.free.fr/page.php?id=241