Author Topic: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)  (Read 198 times)

Mathan

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Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« on: (11:36:29/08-04-17) »
Note: Some background. This character is intended to be part of a 'for hire' group used in low player games. Information presented may include things from my 'Grand Rapids Sprawl' custom setting. All of the rules, items and abilities are standard and from the books, while the house setting specific information is kept to a relative minimum. The group consists of inexperienced teen runners who still have enough skills due to their lives prior to qualify for 'seasoned runner' builds. As such these are not street builds, but are also intentionally left sub-optimal to reflect the characters.

That said any input is appreciated and I would be more than happy to answer questions anyone may have.

**********

Sparrow:

History:

    Jared dreams of the Tir.

   Life on the streets can be a nightmare for anyone. Rampant drug abuse and violence. Long standing suffering from easily treatable illness. The public may associate the woes of the Sinless with tough as nails gangs or nova-hot Shadowrunners. Truth is that most who fall into this pit are simply poor souls damned by fate or one poor choice to a horrible lingering death. It's not the kind of life any child should see.

    Darkhawk, Conrad Walsh, is a runner by trade. In truth he spends most of his time downing chems or pulling wetwork for the Penose and a few extremist groups. He was never much of a father even when he was still sober and rational enough to spend his time caring for young Jared in whatever back-ally slum they currently occupied. Not that what the elf got could be considered real care. Jared was four years old when he saw his first death and only a year older when he first saw his father at work. Serving as a distraction for a Knight Errant Sargent as Conrad put three silenced pistol rounds in the mans gut.

    As a result Jared really wasn't too broken up when his father stayed away for longer periods of time. He had already gotten used to the minor grifts and scavenging needed to survive by that time. All his father ever seemed to do was throw a few packets of soy at him to silence the boys crying before it interfered with the next Heroine fix. Jared never minded. It meant some time alone, some food, and on at least two occasions small snippets of information about his mother. Supposedly a destitute young serving girl at a Tir Taingire dive. She died of some common, treatable illness and a relative dumped the baby off on Conrad. The kind of story that was a dime a dozen around the Grand Rapids Hard Strip.

    In spite of his hardships Jared still dreams, and like most kids living on the SINless fringe uses those dreams to hold himself together as he scavenges his way though life. Now fourteen, the young boy has largely made his way on dropped items and the belongings of the recently dead. It is by no means savory or even palatable. Yet it does keep him fed enough to face the next day and with shrewd work he can manage to find himself simple lodgings to escape the worst of a Michigan Winter. That is when Conrad isn't hard up enough for a fix that he tracks his boy down and takes his 'share' of any Nuyen squirreled away.

    As he's grown older Jared is starting to feel a growing worry about how easy many things are for him. Things his father does. He isn't above spinning a yarn or scamming someone for a meal or a bit of cheap medication. Almost all of it is simple, passive, harmless fluff. Unfortunately the Hard Strip is no different than any other slums for any other sprawl. Jared has killed before. Enough to know just how easy it can come to him. He doesn't like it, it's simply easy enough. Naturally he can't afford ammunition. Most of his practice is either gained by using a few spare bullets when things are slow or simply by proxy though playing one of his favorite Freemium games in winter.

    The past few years he has actually managed to find some obscure back room to squat in. Surrounded by thick heavy blankets and hoarded bags of cheap food. Doing little more than letting his mind sink into the fantasies as the world goes to hell outside. That detachment could be why he can take a life without any real hesitation. Or perhaps it's simply because he is Darkhawks son.

    Not too long ago Jared discovered that he had awakened. A discovery that has left the boy hopeful of one day making a real lief for himself. He has stitched together enough information on the subject to understand the basics of distilling reagents and some minor concepts of enchantment. This usually comes from reading in the local public library to keep warm or talking to those awakened who live in the gutters. Assuming he doesn't end up like the worst of them there is a chance he could one day make something of himself..

    In spite of these issues, Jared has always attempted to be positive. Some small part of him still holds out hope even in the face of overwhelming despair. That is perhaps why, when he found a hidden datachip in a dead mans lined coat, he witheld it from his fence and instead decided to investigate it. he contacted a friend from one of his games in the hopes that she could crack the encryption, allowing himself far more trust than most kids in his position ever would. His reward was a struggle he had never imagined and a realization that the path his father followed to damnation might be his own path out. A path to the Tir.

Personality:

    If you're a kid on the streets, there is always a gang willing to take you. This is especially true for metatypes like Elves who tend to feel strong racial connections. The fact that Sparrow never made the effort to join one was not due to a lack of qualifications but rather disposition. He’s not a murderer, or at least not one to relish the idea. While he has killed before it was always at least arguably justifiable and never done out of something so crass as mere personal gain or direct prejudice. He is at least a bit biased against non-elves. Moreso a result of his upbringing and idealization of the Tir leading to similar viewpoints. Yet Jared is a very sweet soul who sees no point in killing needlessly or harming someone simply because they lack points on their ears. He isn't above dealing with gangs when he needs something or when he has trade goods that are too lowly for his fence. He simply isn't wiling to end another life to belong.

    Ultimately Sparrow is a hopeful pessimist. While he may try to keep up his boundless desire for the good things to finally start happening in reality he usually expects the worst. This is a trait likely perpetuated or exacerbated by his father constantly swooping in to raid his nest egg.

    Even though he doesn’t accept it could happen, Jared does have a dream of one day going to one of the Tirs. Years of idealization and self indoctrination have painted them as literal fairylands where an Elf can escape the crushing reality of life under the rule of corporations and selfish or short sighted humans. The one sterling fantasy in his otherwise dreary life is walking into Portland and finding the means to set himself up as a talismonger. He also has dreams of Tink, a plainly pretty but sweet hearted elf girl who volunteers at the excuse for a homeless shelter he tries to frequent. The two have become friends, though Sparrow worries he reads too much into that. When he dares to allow himself, Sparrow includes Tink in those dreams of his. An inclusion he knows is foolish even within an already masochistically hopeful fantasy.

Appearance:

    If he could clean himself up regularly one might be able to mistake the young man for a child of the Gentry. He has sharp green eyes and soft features usually smudged with grease and dirt from his impoverished live. Long slender ears and a small scar twisted just down the center of his left eye that only seems to make his face more fragile. His hair, when cleaned and dressed properly, naturally feathers with a crisp light brown color that resembles the plumage of his shadow namesake.A small green dot the size of a tiny mole sits under his left eye, a color test from someone who promised to give him a ‘shaman tattoo’ after he discovered his meager magical talents. A pair of gangers and a baseball bat ended that deal.

    Even for an elf the boy he is skinny to the point of emaciation. Bags of flavorless soy paste and half-eaten junk food tend to be his main diet and even then they barely provide for his caloric expenditure to get them. Between that and the life of running and sneaking he’s a bit of a scarecrow. This is generally made worse by ill-fitting donation cloths worn in layers during the spring, summer and fall months. If and when he can keep a small nest egg he will usually spend it during winters to avoid the harsh unlivable cold most Michiganders know all too well. As a result his warmth before snowfall is though bulk and his top coat always hangs off of him awkwardly. This year more so than usual since he got an overly-large lined coat from one of his scavenges. It’s not very discreet or even clean. But it does help with warmth. the only jewelry he has is a small coin on a string supposedly from his mother.

    Surprisingly enough Jared is able to hold himself with a rather proper bearing when he gets a chance. Though he is usually hunched and seeking to keep himself away from attention in any group he does seem to have fairly refined manners and mannerisms. His voice is always clear when speaking at anything above a nervous whisper. His gestures sharp and determined and his posture confident. For a boy who stayed alive by remaining unseen Sparrow has the potential to command a room easily should he choose.

Attributes:

Body: 3
Agility 5
Reaction: 5
Strength: 2
Willpower: 5
Logic: 3
Intuition: 4
Charisma: 8

Edge: 4
Magic: 3

Karma; 0/25
Starting Nuyen: 185

Qualities:

Common Sense
Black market Pipeline (Ol' Pete)
Barrens Rat
Sharpshooter
Too Pretty to hit

Big Regret (Junkie Father)
Dependants (Junkie Dad) 1
Flashbacks
Illiterate
Infirm 1

Skills:

Artificing: 1
Blades: 2
Con: 4
Etiquette: 3
Gymnastics: 3
Impersonation: 2
Leadership: 2
Negotiation: 2
Perception: 5
Pilot Ground Craft: 1
Pistols: 3
Running: 4
Stealth Group: 5
Survival: 4

Knowledge:

Gang culture: 5
Tir History: 3
Gaming: 2

English: N

Magic:

Hermetic

Weapons:

Ares Light Fire 70:
48 rounds normal
3X extra mags

Knife

Armor:

Lined coat:

2X concealed Holsters

Matrix:

Meta Link
Sim module

‘Borrowed’ Trids and 'Freemium' games (10 used)

Gear:

Antidote Patch 1
AR Gloves
Cheap goggles W/Image link and trodes
Earbuds
Flashlight
4X long haul
Used Backpack
Momento Necklace
10X Dram Hermetic Reagents
4X Stim Pack 2
Trauma patch
Used Shirt and pants

Social:

Old fake SIN:

A cheap fake SIN his father got for him when he was a child. He has yet to burn it, which is impressive enough considering the life the boy has to lead.

Identity: Jamie Hawk

Fake Sin 1
Street lifestyle

Contacts:

Darkhawk (father)
2/1

Ol’ Pete (Street arms dealer):
5/1

Bob Jr (fixer Trainee):
3/2

Aloe Balm (Street Doc):
4/2

Tink (Shelter Volunteer):
1/5

drakir

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #1 on: (14:47:19/08-05-17) »
There must be something missing here. he has magic 3 but no adept abilities or magician skills?

As is I don't know why I would ever hire him. He's bad at combat and he's not even that good at talking (in spite of Charisma 8). He can do some basic Sneaking and disguising but that's not enough. Why would I hire a random ganger when I want a professional?

Mathan

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #2 on: (15:08:49/08-05-17) »
Honestly? that's kind of the point.

I keep lists of characters to use as teammates and as opponents, and the theme for Sparrow and the others in his group is supposed to be potential, rather than raw starting abilities.

He can be cleaned up and made into a good face, he could have his combat sharpened along with stealth to give him an edge in infiltration and assassination, could be given better gear...

Plus, well, the story potential.

You hire the kid to give him a chance, and then the more you hire him the more tailored he'd become to the needs of the guy who keeps bringign him on. As opposed to, say, hiring a far more expensive prime runner or a more 'optimal' standard runner to do the job. Also while he isn't a full mage, long term his alchemical/artifice abilities can end up giving him and a party an edge, especially with some of the stuff in FA.

Right now he only has one point in one skill, Artifice, but that is also something the player in question can help with.

Ultimately that is how I like to run my games. It's far more about the story one can tell and player agency.

And yeah, the 3 points is because he is an aspect and then got some karma dumped into an extra magic point.

ShadowcatX

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #3 on: (18:10:45/08-05-17) »
If you are building him to be purposefully ineffectual, what do you want help on?

And personally, I wouldn't hire him the first time.

Marcus

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #4 on: (18:34:09/08-05-17) »
The jump to make this character effective isn't so big, but to do it you need condense skills, atleast get to pistols 6 (+spec), Negotiation 6(+spec), and replace flash backs it's far to likely to get a character killed.
But I hadn't commented b/c i had  feeling they were built ineffective, and I want to see where that line is going.

Mathan

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #5 on: (22:41:21/08-05-17) »
"making them  Ineffective' really isn't quite what I am aiming for. More, less effective. I"m aiming for a sweet spot where they could work, but not as well as a 'normal' runner... and probably far less than an 'optimized' runner.

Though I never do optimization. Hell kinda punish it if players do it too much.

Point is though that I want to make sure, in my quest for character fidelity I don't hamper them into actual uselessness. It's somethign hard to do at the best of times and harder when one hasn't GMed a Shadowrun game for over a year. rust builds up. The comments Marcus made were honestly a very useful start. Flashbacks especially. I mainly inserted it as a way to help emulate PTSD from a life of... well everything I wrote. But if it's the kind of thing where someone will instantly say 'this will get you killed' then it's worth a strong re-evaluation.

Basically I'm just honing it in on a sweet spot.

drakir

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #6 on: (07:18:57/08-08-17) »
It's unfortunately impossible for others to know where your sweet spot is. All people like me on a forum can do is try to give suggestions to make a character as effective as possible.

For a player character I can buy starting out not min maxed (IF the rest of the player characters are on the same level). I seem to not understand what you will use these characters for.

You say "He can be cleaned up and made into a good face, he could have his combat sharpened along with stealth to give him an edge in infiltration and assassination, could be given better gear..."

This is a maybe valid for a player character that will gain karma and money and progression as time go by. It is not for a NPC, does not matter if he's hirable by the PCs or an opponent. NPCs does not progress (at least not to that degree and detail).

I'm also hoping you know progression is super slow in shadowrun, especially if you keep the rewards as low as the core rules suggest. If you want the PCs to be able to use "potential" then you have to give them much more karma than suggested in the rules.

Mathan

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Re: Scions of Ka: Sparrow (Critique Request)
« Reply #7 on: (08:30:51/08-08-17) »
It's unfortunately impossible for others to know where your sweet spot is. All people like me on a forum can do is try to give suggestions to make a character as effective as possible.

For a player character I can buy starting out not min maxed (IF the rest of the player characters are on the same level). I seem to not understand what you will use these characters for.

You say "He can be cleaned up and made into a good face, he could have his combat sharpened along with stealth to give him an edge in infiltration and assassination, could be given better gear..."

This is a maybe valid for a player character that will gain karma and money and progression as time go by. It is not for a NPC, does not matter if he's hirable by the PCs or an opponent. NPCs does not progress (at least not to that degree and detail).

I'm also hoping you know progression is super slow in shadowrun, especially if you keep the rewards as low as the core rules suggest. If you want the PCs to be able to use "potential" then you have to give them much more karma than suggested in the rules.

Well I know progression is slow, though sometimes in slow progression systems I speed it up depending on things Though likely not on this one.

I do agree it's hard to know peoples sweet spots, but ultimately these are designed to try otu a variant of something I've done before, and designed for players I've known for years.

My examples are part of what I"d do, but the real key is more what He/They will do depending on how many I can drag in. Replacing a singular DM character with a set to fit missions. The idea is thus make a good set of bases for each of these characters to build on, make them cheaper than the other, slightly more 'out of the box' useful ones, and let said player or players get creative in interactions and how they shape things.

As for NPCs progressing... well in this case they do. Every mission they see action and possibly every other one that they don't. At least that's my current plan.

The idea is to make him more of a face/Sneaky character, just like the others I put up here are vaguely intended to be a decker and street sam fill-in respectively. But more about where they could potentially go than just 'random sets of stats to fill out a role'. One having almost too many options and one having clear paths just in getting chromed out or pushed more towards a sort of front line combat/medic hybrid.

But for Sparrow specifically he's there mainly to be the cheap option for a hirable face with hopefully greater options on where to go with it.