20 Questions

What is the character’s sex?
The choice is simple; male or female, but the choice may make a difference. Biological, sociological, and, some say, psychological perspectives and needs are different in men and women. Sexism in corporate management and advancement is pretty much a thing of the past min the 2050’s era, but may still exist on the streets, where attitudes are personal. What happens when the next Street Samurai your male character meets is female and FRIGHTENINGLY sexist?

What is the characters physical size?
Is the character a tall, skinny dwarf? Or a short, stout Elf? Or just average? (A record of your characters actual Height and Weight would be useful too – Racial averages can be found in the Shadowrun Second core book, Page 36 – 38 (38 – 40 Electronic Version))

What is the colour of the character’s hair, eyes, and skin?
There’s natural colour, and then there’s augmented colour. Modern cosmetics are amazing, and used by almost everyone (of both sexes) to one degree or another. What colour (or colours) is the characters hair? How is it worn? Why? What about eye colour? Is it natural? (Cybereyes can look like almost anything.) Does the character need glasses, wear contacts, or have they already had corrective surgery? What about skin colour?

Metahumans can come from all racial types, and so yes, there are asiatic Dwarves, negro Elves, and almost every other possible race/race combination. Some Metahuman subspecies are predominantly from one genetic family (such as the Wakyambi being predominantly African) but exceptions do exist. Remember Racism in the 2050s is rooted in species (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Ork, or Troll) rather than skin colour (why worry about the tanned-looking guy on the subway, when that THING over there has hands the size of your head??).

What is the character’s general appearance?
Does the character stand erect, or stooped? Dress anachronistically, stylishly, or inauspiciously? Look intimidating or casual? Is the character attractive? Is there something distinctive about the shape of their head, face or limbs?

What might someone seeing the character for the first time think?

Where was the character born?
A child growing up in Seattle will have a far different childhood from one growing up on NAN tribal lands. Heck a child growing up in a rich neighbourhood will have different experiences than one growing up a few blocks away in a poorer neighbourhood.

Decide into what Country, City, and if possible Neighbourhood (at least poverty level) the character was born. Many psychologists argue that what we are as adults is influenced primarily by who we were as children. Think about the character’s childhood, neighbourhood, friends and family.

When was the character born?
When a character was born is as important as where. Was the character alive before the Awakening in 2011? How about the Treaty of Denver in 2018? The Computer Crash of 2029? The Night of Rage in 2039? Or even the secession of the elven nation of Tir Taingire from NAN four years earlier? Each of these events (and many others) are described in the text of The History of the Future, and all of them made a huge impact upon the world. Was the character in the vicinity of any of these events and did the event affect them to any degree? How did these events affect the characters family or friends?

What was the character’s family?
What did the characters parents do? What was the family’s means of support? Were their parents married? Separated? Divorced? What was family life like? Does the character have any siblings? Where are they now? What do they do? Does the character keep in touch with them? Did the character even know their birth family, or do they have some other variant of those close bonds? If so, who or what was the surrogate family?

Has the character begun their own family?
Is the character married? Separated? Divorced? Do they have children? If not, do they want to have children?

Where or how was the character educated?
Where did the character learn their skills? Did they go to high school? Did they continue into higher education? Where? Was their schooling public, private or Corporate sponsored? Was the character privately tutored, self-taught, or get their lessons from the School of Hard Knocks?

Has the character ever done anything else for a living?
Sure, the character is a Shadowrunner NOW… but what about before? Did they ever earn money or make a living doing something else? Something “legitimate”? Something “illegal”? Did they enjoy it? Why did they stop doing it? Would they go back if they could?

What are the character’s political and religious beliefs?
These are sure-fire argument starters, but what about it? Does the character have any defined political beliefs? What are those beliefs? Is the character religious? Were their family religious? Are they still? Did the character change religions, and if so, why?

What is the character’s moral code?
Will the character kill? Why? When did the character decide that they could/couldn’t? Do they think killing is acceptable, and if so, under what circumstances? Where does the character stand on other issues such as Theft, Capital Punishment, Abortion, and Euthanasia? Does the character adhere to a personal Sexual Ethics code, or even think about it?

Does the character have any goals?
Is this all the character ever wants to do? Do they have any ambitions beyond the here and now? Are they satisfied with the way things are? If not, why not, and what do they plan to do to change things? How long will that take, and is the character willing to wait that long?

Why does the character run the shadows?
What path led him here? Does the character run for the thrill? For the money? To tweak the nose of the powers that be? As one step of a personal plan? As a political statement? Would any event or circumstance make the character stop running the shadows?

What is the characters personality?
Is the character pessimistic? Idealistic? Radical? Conservative? Resigned? Easy-going? Militant? Aloof? Intense? Bombastic? Obsessive? Superstitious? Extroverted? Introverted? Ambivalent? Rational? Opinionated? Passionate? Questioning?

What special qualities does the character possess?
This does not necessarily relate to skills, but to what the character does well. Do they get along with people? Are they skilled at taking care of business? Prioritizing tasks? Planning ahead?

Are there certain things the character just cannot do?
The inverse of the above question. What are they notoriously bad at? Getting close to people? Perceiving themselves realistically? Working well with others? Thinking clearly under stress? Handle money well?

What does the character hate?
Corporations? Orks? Shadowrunning? Personal questions? Sentimentality? The Media? Family members? Certain people? The colour blue? Society in general?

What does the character love?
The seashore? The view from tall buildings? Quiet? Loud music? Art? A specific person? A certain place?

And finally:

What are the characters names?
What was the character’s name at birth? What name do they use now? What is their Legal Name (if any) and what is their Street Name/Nickname? Did they choose their Nickname or was it given to them for some reason?

20 Questions

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