Shadowrun: Anarchy Threats
A re-imagining, re-sorting, and re-balancing of NPCs in Shadowrun: Anarchy.
(Originally published at Stuffer Shack, February 22, 2017)
In a review of Catalyst Game Labs' Shadowrun: Anarchy, I pointed out that the cast of NPCs published therein were best used as inspiration for your own cast of NPC threats. There were issues with balance, utility, and playability that needed to be resolved before I pit them against my players.
In this article, I submit to you the set of NPCs that I have been using. I have made several changes to fit my gaming table and they may inspire you as well. Here are the changes I have made:
Reformatted each entry to list dice pools rather than Skill + Attribute (unless variable). So if it says 8, roll 8 dice.
Standardized most Shadow Amp phrasing.
Renamed Vehicle Weapons to Gunnery (for space and clarity); and Piloting (Ground) or Piloting (Other) to Pilot Ground and Pilot Other (that way you can add a specialization without double parenthesis).
Used kla060365’s (from Shadowgrid Forums) suggested re-balance of Assault Rifles and Machine Guns. Applies a -2 to ARs and MGs at Close range (this gives purpose to SMGs).
Similar to Professional Ratings, I needed a way to measure the level of threat each NPC would pose. These are somewhat loose levels based on Attributes + Skills + Shadow Amps.
Threat Levels are Thug Level (<28), Gang Level (28), Street Runner (38), Prime Runner (48), Terror Level (>48).
Added options for Mooks who use only one Condition Monitor (like SR5 Grunts), and Mains who gain one Positive Quality.
Separated NPCs into Categories such as: Critters, Corporate, Magic (including Spirits), Matrix, Military, Security, Shadow (includes generic runner archetypes), Street, and Tech. This might determine which Knowledge Skills or types of Contacts might apply.
Each category has about 4 entries.
Added Entries: Barghest, Boston Lockdown Head Cases (Shambler, Rager, Manipulator, Hidden), Corporate Security (Elite), Enemy Drone (Mini), Enemy Shaman, Enemy Technomancer, Rent-a-Cop (HTR), two vehicles (Armored Personnel Carrier and Light-Assault Copter), five generic runners (Company Man, Street Sam, Pistol Adept, Razor, Combat Medic), Cy-Tech, Syndicate Enforcer, and Wiz-Ganger.
Added Options for Enemy Mages, Lesser Spirits, Blood Spirits, Toxic Spirits, Shadow Spirits, Intrusion Countermeasures, Sprites (a new version), Ganger types (because not all gangers replace their arms…), and Gun Emplacements.
Tried to get each entry closer to an appropriate Threat Level by adding/subtracting Attributes, Skills, or Shadow Amps. Probably just gamer OCD.
Rebuilt and re-balanced Spirits with a few non-combat options. This will help for those tables that tend to shy from combat-heavy campaigns. Most spirits lack Armor now.
Rebuilt Sprites to closer match IC mechanics and power levels. I added Emerged for proper Matrix use. I removed Willpower and Charisma and added the Tasking Skill to use its Complex Forms.
Rebuilt Enemy Drones. Drones are vehicles with Armor only (no Condition Monitor, as it outlines in the book). They use Logic to make attacks rather than Agility, so that a drone size has less to do with its accuracy.
Re-balanced Enemy Drones weapon options. Small Drones can no longer take out an entire team of Prime Runners with crazy accurate grenade launchers and death from an un-hittable killing platform.
I hope that you find this list of Anarchy Threats useful in challenging your players (without boring them or murdering them). They may inspire you to create interesting Contract Briefs and even your own NPCs suitable for your own table.