Unified Shadowrun House Rules [updated 11-26-18]

These house rules deviate from the standard core rulebook, or any other supplements.

Character Generation Rules
Character Deaths and New Characters
Magic and Awakened Characters
Working for the Man/People
Crash Rules
Using Edge
Bonus Karma
Skill Usage


Character Creation Guidelines

There are a few qualities that are not allowed. These are marked as Banned. The additional information is generally required in the characters backstory.

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list since new material and errata is being released. The GM still has final say on whether a Quality is accepted or not. In nearly all cases, there will need to be a backstory element as to why the character has that particular quality.


Positive Qualities

Negative Qualities

Please Note: Negative Qualities can and will be used against you. They will not only be used for bonus karma.

Other Rules


Character Deaths and New Characters

Voluntary Replacement of Character

At the GM's Descretion If a player chooses to replace a character in any way, other than retirement, then the group will have input on what the character will be. The player will be stuck with this new character and cannot voluntarily be replaced again. The character can be retired after it meets the retirement requirements. Furthermore, the GM reserves the right to brutally/violently kill the character in any that is deemed fitting.

The group members that are present at the time of the death of the character will each be able to choose one aspect of the character each pass. There will be 2 passes, so each player can choose two aspects. These aspects can include but are not limited to the following details.

The GM reserves the right to veto any aspect provided.

The player will take this information and incorporate the aspects into the new character. The character must still fall within the character creation guidelines, with the exception of any GM freebies.

The addendum to this is if the character is killed, in a way that fits the character concept, and the player decides to not burn edge (or has no edge to burn), then the same process will still take place, but the player can have input and decisions in the aspects chosen.

There will be times when the team "relocates" or moves to a different location for some reason. In events like these, players may opt to change out their characters to a new one in the new location. In this case, the above process does not apply. However, it must be discussed with and the new character cleared with the GM. There must also be a fitting story as to why the character is not relocating.

Character Retirement

A player can retire a character at any point after meeting the following requirements. Players will be able to dictate what happens to the character during retirement. Once retired, a character cannot return as a PC, but can be a contact or NPC at the GMs discretion.

The player should have prior discussions with GM and approval for retirement.


Magic and Awakened Characters


Initiation Quest

When an Awakened character is ready to initiate, then the character will undergo a personal test/rite/quest. They type of test will depend on the individual's tradition and/or type of Awakened they are. The time that it will take to initiate will 2 hours per Initiate grade, with the exception of a mage that is creating a thesis or masterpiece. Cost for initiation will be the standard 10+(Initiate Grade x 3), is non-refundable and must be paid prior to the Initiation quest taking place. In the event that the quest fails and the initiate does not succeed, the character will lose the karma and most likely gain some other drawbacks as a result of the ordeal, likely (but not limited to) negative qualities. The character will receive their initiation rank immediately upon success. In some cases, depending on character specifics, characters may be awarded positive qualities or other benefits.

Initiation Extended Test

Characters will also have the option to not have a quest and the player can roll instead, regardless of type of Awakened. In this event, the player will make an Arcana + Intuition [Astral](Initiate Grade, 30 days) extended test. So for example, the mage is going for grade 1 and has an Arcana rank of 2 and Intuition of 3 with an Astral limit of 6. They will roll 5 dice. If they do not get any hits on the first roll, but does on the second roll, then it will take the character 60 days to complete the training for initiation. The character MUST wait until the END of the training period to become an initiate. A story as to what the character did to initiate during this time (ie: study tomes in a library, commune with spirits, getting mentored, etc) must also be written up. Edge CANNOT be used on these rolls. If there is a glitch or critical glitch, then ... well just don't glitch. Bad things will happen, up to and including negative qualities and even death ... So just don't do it.

Hermetic Mages

Mages that learn magic through study and consider magic as a sort of complex mathematical formula would fall into this category. Thus, Initiation for hermetics would consist of scholarly tests / quizzes and may include being accepted into a Fraternal Order of Mages. These tests will be entirely on the Astral Plane and will be designed mainly to test the mage's knowledge of magic and not just the practice of magic.

Hermetic mages could also create a thesis or masterpiece. A thesis must be written on parchment or paper and hardbound as a physical tome. A masterpiece must also have a physical representation (e.g., a musical score, a painting, or script). Producing a thesis requires a Logic + Arcana [Mental] (8 + desired initiate grade, 1 week) Extended Test. Producing a masterpiece requires an Artisan + Intuition [Mental] (8 + desired initiate grade, 1 week) Extended Test.

Shamanic Mages

Mages that believe magic is a gift (or curse) that is provided through another entity and that it is "spiritual" instead of "mathematical" would be included. Mages that follow a totem / mentor spirit would also be considered shamanic for the purposes of Initiation. Initiation for shamans would be a grueling mental or physical task that will challenge the character's determination and ability. This will be tailored to the individual character's background, belief system, and the magical art the character wishes to attain.


Both Physical and Mystic Adepts would need to complete a ritual that will take a number of hours to complete that is equal to the initiate grade desired. This ritual will allow them to get the assistance of a guidance spirit that will use its Astral Rift power to escort the character into the Astral Plane. Once on the Astral Plane, the initiate will proceed with a test that will also test both their physical and mental limits, again using the individuals background and belief system.

Mentor Spirits

Mentor Spirits may be gained after character generation for any Awakened character, however, this can only be done through a solo quest, initiation quest, or some other story element.


Quickened Spell

The Quickened Spell metamagic is overpowered currently. Spellcasters must pay a karma cost equal to the force of the spell. Furthermore, the number of quickened spells is limited to the mage's initiate grade.

Additional Rules

All initiates are open to giving an Oath to a magical society that would accept them. The swear an oath to obey the given magical group's rules and strictures. This oath would be included in the actual initiation rite and would be sealed once its completed. Please note that, depending on the society, they would need to apply for a position or somehow have an in-character rationale to join such a group.

Other options presented in supplements are available with the caveat that the option is appropriate for your character's concept, background and type. If you would like to explore one of these options for your initiation, please consult with me and we will work something out.

Each initiate grade will be a different and an increasingly more difficult experience, but one thing will remain constant. The process of initiation will be very grueling and difficult on the character. As with all things Shadowrun, the possibility of death is very real and could happen, even with initiation. Once the initiation rite is completed and successful, then you are considered an initiate of the appropriate grade with all the benefits.

Edge can be used while using the Artificing skill to create magical Foci, however, the Foci is still limited by the Force of the formula used.




Submersion Quest

When an technomancer character is ready to submerge, then the character will undergo a personal test/rite/quest. Due to the way the Matrix is, the time to submerge is negligible. Cost for submersion will be the standard 10+(Submersion Grade x 3), is non-refundable and must be paid prior to the submersion quest taking place. In the event that the quest fails, and the technomancer does not succeed, the character will lose the karma and most likely gain some other drawbacks as a result of the ordeal, likely (but not limited to) negative qualities. In the case of these submersions, the character will receive their submersion rank immediately upon success.

Submersion is a taxing and mentally demanding process. Players have the option to make a Software + Intuition [Resonance], Initiate Grade, 1 minute. So for example, the technomancer is going for grade 1 and has an Software rank of 2 and Intuition of 3 with an Resonance of 6. They will roll 5 dice. If they do not get any hits on the first roll, but does on the second roll, then it will take the character 2 minutes to complete the training for initiation. The character MUST wait until the END of the training period to become an initiate. A story as to what the character did to initiate during this time (ie: study tomes in a library, commune with sprites, paragons, getting mentored, etc) must also be written up. Edge CANNOT be used on these rolls. If there is a glitch or critical glitch, then ... well just don't glitch. Bad things will happen, up to and including negative qualities and even death ... So just don't do it.

Sprite Powers

Diagnostics Power

Technomancers can instruct their machine sprites to perform diagnostics on a devices. However, each use of said device that gains the Diagnostics benefit will use a service. For example, the sprite is instructed to perform Diagnostics on your street sam's assault rifle. The bonuses will be provided each time the weapon is used, however, each time the weapon is used will remove a service for that sprite.


Techomancers may acquire a Paragon, but only through a solo quest, submersion quest, or some other story element.

Additional Rules

Sprites will buy hits when performing teamwork tasks.

Sprites and the Technomancer can share MARKs, however, if the MARKs are on a Host, both must be present in the Host.

The complex form 'Transcend Grid' is not needed and will not be used.


Working for the Man/People Exchange

Characters are able to exchange fresh karma/nuyen at an exchange rate of 1 karma per 2,000 nuyen. This can only be used after a run and before the next run. When exchanging, you can only exchange what was earned on that run. So, for example, you complete a run and was awarded 5 karma and 15,000 nuyen. You can exchange up to 5 karma or up to 14,000 nuyen. Bonus paydata or other run rewards are not applicable to this rule.

As with most things, a session post of what you did for the conversion will also be required. So, for example, you decide to exchange 10,000 nuyen for 5 karma. What did you do with the cash to get the karma? Likewise, if you exchanged 5 karma for the 10,000 nuyen, what did you do to earn the cash?



Commercial Lifestyle

Properties with a Commercial Lifestyle attached to it can make the following Income Tests to lower the lifestyle costs. This test can be done as a teamwork test and would be done at the beginning of each month when the lifestyles are due.

For each hit, the cost of the lifestyle is reduced by ¥1,000. Both participants in this test must spend time at the commercial property performing appropriate work.

For the above example, the team has acquired an automotive shop. The lifestyle costs of the shop is ¥8,000 per month. George and Bob are working to reduce the costs by doing some automotive work in between runs. Bob makes the Logic + Mechanics (Automotive) [Mental] test and gets 2 hits on 9 dice. George gets 2 bonus dice for his Charisma + Etiquette (Corporate) [Social] test. He gets 6 hits on 13 dice. Not a bad month, but the costs of the Lifestyle is reduced by ¥6,000 for that month. Therefore only ¥2,000 is due for the month. A profit is made if the test exceeds the lifestyle cost. For the above example, if George got 13 hits, then the team would have turned a ¥5,000 profit.

Edge can be used for this test


Crash Rules

The "crash rules" RAW are total bullshit and we will follow the following rules instead.

When a crash occurs, the BODY of the vehicle will determine the amount of damage dealt to the other vehicle/wall and vice versa, then the remaining damage will be applied to the passengers of the vehicle.


A Ford Americar (BODY of 11) misses a turn and slams into a wall. The wall deals 12P damage to the vehicle, which it can resist with its 17 dice (BODY + ARMOR) and gets 8 hits. The vehicle takes its 4P damage. The passengers in the vehicle would have to resist that remaining 4P damage. The Americar deals 11P damage to the wall.

Now let’s say that same Ford Americar (BODY of 11) gets into an accident with a Jackrabbit (BODY of 8). The Americar does 11P damage to the Jackrabbit, which resists with its 12 dice. It gets 4 hits and takes 7P damage. The two people in the Jackrabbit would need to resist that 7P damage. Since this was a two car accident, the Jackrabbit does 8P damage to the Americar and it resists with its 17 dice. It gets 6 hits and takes 2P damage. The driver in the Americar has to resist the remaining 2P damage.



Addictions to "normal" substances, such as nicotine or alcohol would be considered dependencies and would be applied using the Dependents negative quality. These qualities can be bought off as with other negative qualities, but would require some sort of treatment for the addiction. So for example, your character has an alcohol addiction and the Dependent quality.

For other substances, an addition roll will be required each time the substance is used. The Addiction roll would be the following.

So, for example, you take a hit of Kamikaze and need to make the addiction roll. The dice pool would be your Body (4) + Willpower (3) + (11 - 9) [total of 9 dice] with a threshold of 3. Success means no addiction, while failure means that you gain a mild addiction to Kamikaze. Further failures mean an increase in severity.

You would spend the karma to buy any Addiction off as normal, but you will also need to invest time and nuyen going through a treatment process. The treatment process can be through a counselor contact, treatment center/group, etc. This will need to be detailed out in a story, of course.


Using Edge

Characters can burn a point of Edge to survive even if they have spent their Edge pool. The character must still have an Edge score in order to do this though. So for example, if you have 3 Edge and you have spent (not burned) all 3 points, you may still burn a point in order to survive. If you have no Edge to burn, then your character is dead.

A character that burns Edge in order to survive will gain an appropriate negative quality.

Edge will be used as Luck rolls. In cases where Luck will be involved, the character (or character with the lowest Edge in team cases) will make an Edge check by rolling the Edge pool. Edge cannot be used on these rolls.

As mentioned earlier, Edge can be spent while using the Artificing skill to create magical Foci, however, the Foci is still limited by the Force of the formula used


Bonus Karma

Players can earn extra karma by submitting a response to session posts on the campaign blog. Each session, I will post a session recap post and players can respond with an 'in character' response to earn a bonus 2 karma. These responses can be anything from diary entries, Matrix uploads, quiet thoughts of reflection, etc. This is not a requirement for any campaign, and is only for bonus karma.

A few points of Karma will be earned after each session. This will be in addition to any karma that is earned for completing a job. The reason for this is that there will be a lot of sessions that are not related to an actual run and for (but not limited to) the following reasons.


Skill Usage

Cybertechnology / Biotechnology

Characters with these skills can use them to apply 'ware to other characters. The will not be able to apply them to themselves. There are a few caviats to this usage:



Characters can purchase and augment pets, using standard availability rules. Pets can also be trained using the same advancement rules as characters. Pets can earn karma by participating in run, or other story elements. This karma can be used to train and advance the pet. Skills that are trainable can only be skills that the pet would naturally know. For example, a pet cannot learn the Pistols skill ... yes it would be cool, but no. Qualities, of course following the same rules as skills, can also be purchased for pets. Pets are also subject to having Negative Qualities awarded, just as players are.

The lifestyle listed is the minimum lifestyle required to care for the animal. Food and care costs are considered to be part of the lifestyle expenses. If you can't support the pet, you generally lose it, one way or another. Characters are limited to a hard maximum of 5 living pets, however, a maximum of 3 pets can be kept with any one lifestyle. For each additional pet, the lifestyle requirement will be one step higher than the highest lifestyle.

Mundane Animals
Critter Availability Cost Lifestyle
Cat, Domestic* ---- 50 nuyen Squatter
Dog* ---- 75 nuyen Low
Snake ---- 100 nuyen Low
Ferret 2 250 nuyen Middle
Alligator 6R 300 nuyen Middle
Boar 10 400 nuyen High
Eagle 12F 7,500 nuyen High
Horse* 4 20,000 nuyen Luxury
Chimpanzee 12R 20,000 nuyen Luxury

Purebred, non-cloned, luxury, or exotic varieties are available. Costs and Availability for these are much higher than the standard or cloned variety.


Critter Availability Cost Lifestyle
Abrams Lobster 14F 7,000 nuyen High
Agropelter 12F 5,000 nuyen High
Bandit 8R 2,000 nuyen Low
Barghest 15R 11,000 nuyen High
Bear 16F 9,000 nuyen Luxuy
Basilisk 14R 40,000 nuyen Middle
Blood Monkey 16F 10,000 nuyen Luxury
Cat, Great 12R 5,000 nuyen High
Cerebus Hound 20F 80,000 nuyen Luxury
Cockatrice 10R 3,500 nuyen High
Devil Rat 6R 300 nuyen Squatter
Fenrir Wolf 10F 14,000 nuyen Middle
Gomatia 8 5,000 nuyen Middle
Hell Hound 15R 10,000 nuyen High
Pegasus 12F 5,000 nuyen Luxury
Roc, Lesser 9R 11,500 nuyen High
Shadowhound 8R 3,000 nuyen High
Snow Snake 6R 2,500 nuyen Middle
Unicorn 12R 8,000 nuyen Luxury
Wolf 12R 1,000 nuyen Middle
Wolverine, Greater 18F 46,000 nuyen Luxury

The table does not cover all animal types, but can be used as a guideline for similar animals.

Go to top