Creating a Steamshadow Runner
Background packages are things that can be chosen by the player to give them a foundation to start building their character. The background packages include a description of that occupation and it’s place in Victorian London as well as suggested skills and qualities.
Bodyguards are a necessity in these perilous times; the rich and powerful all find their services useful and their discretion invaluable. A bodyguard often are household staff in that they serve one master for most if not all of their career. A few are for hire bodyguards only being brought on a per job basis. These mercenary bodyguards are usually frowned upon by household bodyguards as untrustworthy and by extension unreliable. Most often household bodyguards are found only amongst the nobility and for hire bodyguards among the upper class and the upper middle class as they lack the resources or need to keep bodyguards at all times.
Skills; Unarmed 2, Etiquette 1, Intimidation 2, Shadowing 1, Firearms 2, Perception 3
Boxers, bare knuckle, back street, professional, or otherwise are street level celebrities in this gas lit time. They are the success stories and heroes of the poor and they love every moment of their fame. They also get used very often as hired muscle for pimps and criminals of all kinds. Very rarely a street level boxer may enjoy enough fame for his skill and adroitness to be invited to one of the professional leagues to entertain the well to do and wealthy.
Skills; Dodge 2, Intimidation 2, Unarmed 3 (boxing)
Bureaucrats make the Empire carry on. They are the cold professional heart of every nation that seeks to be more than a simple tribe or clan. Any nation larger than a town needs a bureaucratic administration to distribute resources and see to the needs of the every other branch of government from the most basic to the most complex and exotic. The clerks of London are unexciting and unassuming and completely necessary.
Skills; Influence group 2, Perception 2, Professional Knowledge Clerk 2, Academic Knowledge Accounting 2
Many and several Contacts are highly recommended. The Bureaucrat knows and meets people from all walks of life.
Chemists are in high demand, the new science having taken the collective imagination by storm as daily new wonders are revealed in the form of medicines, new processes of refinement and manufacturing, and recreational drugs. All sorts of wondrous compounds and elixirs are making there way from the far flung corners of the Empire to London where the people are ready and willing to try anything and everything in the search of more..‘sophistication’.
Skills; Chemistry 3, Academic Knowledge chemistry 3, Professional Knowledge lab assistant 2, Perception 2, Demolitions 2
Coal Miners, or any kind of miner for that matter, supply the raw materials for this new age of steam and iron. Where in the previous century it was the woodsman and lumberjacks who pumped the raw materials, the life blood, that a nation required to thrive, in this new age iron, silver, gold, tin, and coal are the materials most in demand. The brave men that dredge these materials up from the Earth are hearty and brave and quite often have no education. that doesn’t stop them from being sought out for their expertise in underground work and for their strong backs.
Skills; Professional Knowledge mining, Perception 2, Demolitions 1, Close Combat group 2
high strength and body are recommended
Factory Workers are pretty badly treated in this age of need over kindness. They quite often become injured on the job and suffer other maladies brought on by their exposure to chemicals and processes that are only partially understood. However they very often are strong, have some knowledge of mechanics, and are very willing to moonlight for a few extra quid in their pockets.
Skills; Professional Knowledge factories, Mechanics group 2, Unarmed combat 2, Running 2
A high strength and/or body is recommended
Drayman unload the ships that come into the docks of London, handling cargo from around the world for a variety of businesses big and small and even the occasional government agent. These hardy works must have strong backs and know how to navigate a crowd, many also speak some semblance of various foreign tongues and usually are half-decent gamblers.
Skills; Professional Knowledge gambling, Athletics group 2, Unarmed combat 1, Languages 2
A high strength and body are recommended
Hooligans are usually young, tough, fast on their feet, and fast with their mouths. They run errands for the true criminals and beg for coins from the wealthy and powerful. They know every inch of the city underside and underground. They are adept at moving through crowds, seeing what isn’t meant to be seen, and generally getting what needs getting.
Skills; Running 2, Negotiation 2, Unarmed 2, Dodge 2, Perception 2, Area Knowledge London 3
A high intuition and/or agility is recommended.
Mystics have grown across the countryside like toad stools. They have come out of the forests, villages, and cities of the world. Some are true mystics, true students of the Art and seers of the Shadow. Many more however are charlatans and liars; conning the populace out of coins and food stuffs to make their livings.
Skills; Spellcasting skill group 3, Summoning skill group 2, Professional Knowledge arcana, Professional Knowledge magical threats
A high willpower and/or magic is recommended.
Nobility stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world. They are often chosen by God, of a superior blood line, and/or are destined for greater things than any peasant could aspire to. This of course is what the nobles say; the majority of the people of the world think differently. The noble character is anything from the spoiled dilettante to the driven force for change.
Skills; Social skill group 2, Interest Knowledge high society, Interest Knowledge places to be seen, Edged Weapons 2, Riding 2
A high charisma and/or willpower is recommended.
Politician can mean many things in this age. While many nobles are very often involved in politics they are just as often not the true political thinkers that a dedicated politician is. Professional politicians pay close attention to the whims of the people, they know how to explain a new tax so it’s sounds the best change by government in years, they are quite often masters of oration and the manipulation of public perception. They are also canny negotiators, understanding that something must be given in order to receive and with some noted exceptions are often lacking the vast ego’s that come attached to the noble titles of Europe.
Skills; Social skill group 3, Professional Knowledge politics, Professional Knowledge power players, many, many, many contacts.
A high charisma and/or logic is recommended.
Sailors sail the wide open seas of this age of steel and steam. Sailors have always been the life blood of any nation seeking trade or conquest with it’s ocean connected neighbors. The sailors role, especially in this great Empire that stretches across the world, is even more important. They move the goods that keep the industries of Britain and mainland Europe running, they defend their homelands interests on the vast ocean waves, and open up new lands with exploration for trade and exploitation.
Skills; Athletics skill group 1, Unarmed 2, Professional Knowledge sailing, several languages at 2
A high agility and/or intuition is recommended.
Also character points get slightly different results, a single CP purchases 35£ for use of purchasing equipment and enhancements, etc. DO NOT panic! The pricing of the weaponry and steamware have all been adjusted accordingly to fit with that amount of money per CP. All the equipment has been carefully calculated to match the same percentage of character starting funds used as in modern Shadowrun 4th ed.
Lifestyles and Social Classes
A key thing to remember at all times in Steamshadow is the prevalence of the system of social classes in Victorian England. There divisions based on race but just as extreme divisions based on class. A character’s social class will effect their literacy level, what areas of the city they can easily pass through, access to certain skills, and even access to certain qualities and resources; most especially is how they’re treated in social situations by other social classes.
While Lifestyle will remain much as written in the core books a new purchasable background stat called Social Class will be used side by side with Lifestyle. While Lifestyle is your current living arrangements your Social Class will be an indicator of your parentage and past. Important things to remember about Social Class. The Social Class is an outline, other qualities both positive and negative can impact it in various ways. Examples include Born Rich in conjunction with Middle Social Class to represent a very successful merchant family, a Noble Social Class with the Debt quality representing a family with great inherited debts living on borrowed time, or even a Low Social Class with the Deep Cover quality indicating someone born into the low class but passing themselves off as another Social Class in their every day life. Keep in mind that these Social Classes are rather exclusive to England and much of the Western European nations; within their own social groups, native countries, or simply among open-minded people these groups may be entirely different, even reversed, or simply not matter at all. This should be handled in-game and with some flexibility on the GM’s part; if you as a GM are zealous in the your enforcement of the rules of Social Class and Racism then you may need to take a step back and take a look at your own personal opinions. Gaming is for everyone.
Generally one is not born a Pariah unless into a short list of very specific social groups. In a strange way you usually have to earn this Social Class. Examples of groups which posses this level are gypsies and tribesman. Gypsies are rather universally disliked for both their lifestyle and the sad truth that many of them do turn to some form of thievery or con artistry to get by. They are tolerated however because of the services they provide; a constant flow of trade, entertainment, and news as they move about the countryside. A tribesman on the other hand will rarely if ever encounter the racism and prejudice of Victorian London. A tribesman is really a catch all term and as such not to be taken too seriously, it simply loosely refers to the various “primitives” from the various continents including some Easter European communities but especially natives of Africa, India, and both South and North America. Ironically many of the social groups thought of as “pariahs” in Victorian society speak their own native languages with some fluency and start with their native tongue at 4. They are not however guaranteed literacy and still must purchase it either as a “specialty” as described under Language skills or raise their skill ranking to 6 as normal.
Adept -as written
Adrenaline Surge -as written
Analytical Mind -as written; now comes in two levels (5 and 10BP) effectively doubling the bonuses given by the first level.
Animal Empathy -as written
Ambidextrous -as written
Aptitude -as written
Astral Chameleon -as written
Bilingual -as written, though rare during the era.
Black Market Pipeline -as written; though type of goods should be era appropriate.
Blandness -as written
Born Rich -hate how it’s written, new rules; The character receives an extra five points for currency that do not apply towards the maximum CP’s for currency.
Catlike -as written
Codeslinger -as written
College Education -as written and only available to Middle or higher social class.
Common Sense -as written
Deep Cover -as written, all of the major nations use Deep Cover agents.
Digital Doppleganger -not available
Double Jointed -as written
Erased -nope to this
Exceptional Attribute -as written
Fame -as written, very common with high class people.
First Impression -as written
Focused Concentration -as written
Gearhead -as written, but obviously very uncommon.
Guts -as written
Hawk Eye -as written, common with marksman.
High Pain Tolerance -as written
Home Ground -as written
Human Looking -as written
Inspired -as written
Juryrigger -as written, though not common.
Linguist -as written
Lightning Reflexes -as written, common with boxers.
Lucky -as written
Made Man -as written, applies to any of a myriad of criminal enterprises, secret societies, and mysterious cults. It can also apply to the Royal Family and powerful nobles, as in you serve their larger organizations. They (Royalty and Nobility) will not accept illegal goods but only charge a 10% fee.
Magician -as written
Magic Resistance -as written
Mentor Spirit -as written
Mistaken Identity -as written
Murky Link -as written
Mystic Adept -as written
Natural Athlete -as written
Natural Hardening -as written
Natural Immunity -as written
Night Vision -as written, common among thugs and street scum.
Outdoorsman -as written
Perceptive -as written
Perfect Time -as written
Photographic Memory -as written
Privileged Family Name -as written, very very common among both powerful merchants and nobles of all levels, cannot be taken by Poor or Pariah social classes.
Quick Healer -as written
Restricted Gear -as written
Resistance to Pathogens/Toxins -as written
School of Hard Knocks -as written
Sense of Direction -as written
Sensei -as written, should be considered a requirement for characters wanting Martial Arts qualities.
Speed Reading -as written
Spirit Affinity -as written
Technical School Education -as written
Technomancer -as written
Tough as Nails -as written
Toughness -as written
Trust Fund -as written, very common among powerful merchant families and the children of nobility.
Trustworthy -as written
Water Sprite -as written
Will to Live -as written
Addiction -as written
Allergy -as written
Amnesia -as written
Asthma -as written, this really sucks for the poor.
Astral Beacon -as written
Albinism -as written, considered a curse by many faiths, generally invited to parties to be stared at.
Bad Luck -as written
Bad Rep -as written
Bi-Polar -as written, generally gets you sent to the work house if it’s not managed.
Big Regret -as written
Borrowed Time -as written
Codeblock -as written
Combat Paralysis -as written
Computer Illiterate -not available, most everyone is computer illiterate by default.
Cranial Bomb -unsure
Day Job -as written, very common for most everyone.
Distinctive Style -as written
Dependents -as written
Elf Poser -as written
Enemy -as written
Evil Twin -as written
Flashbacks -as written, the Crimean War?
Gremlins -as written
Hung Out To Dry -as written
Illiterate -not available, Literacy is based on the new Language skill system.
Incompetent -as written
In Debt -as written, very common.
Infirm -as written
Judas -as written
Liar -as written
Lost Loved One -as written
Low Pain Tolerance -as written
Mental Handicap -as written, usually gets you sent to Bedlam until you’re “better”.
Mysterious Implant -unsure
Night Blindness -as written
Oblivious -as written
Ork Poser -as written, and eww disgusting.
Pacifist -as written, usually gets you beat up more.
Paranoia -as written
Paraplegic -as written, though very rare as most paraplegics simply die.
Poor Self Control -as written, common amongst the lower classes.
Prejudiced -as written, this makes you more prejudiced; all peoples at this time are prejudiced on some way or form.
Quadriplegic -as written, but why?
Reduced (Sense) -as written
Records on File -not available
Scorched -as written
Sensitive Neural Structure -as written
Sensitive System -as written
Simsense Vertigo -as written
SINner -not available
Spammed -not available
Spirit Bane -as written
Sensory Overload Syndrome -as written, usually a one way trip to Bedlam Hospital.
Signature -as written
Uncouth -as written
Uneducated -as written, very common the lower classes.
Vendetta -as written
Wanted -as written
Weak Immune System -as written
For the time being there are no metagenetic qualities available.
Return to Overview of Steamshadow