news\ Jan 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Shadowrun Returns with the archetypes we know and love


The Shadowrun franchise will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve played a few campaigns of the tabletop and fell in love with it early on. How can you not like modern day life mixed with high fantasy? Trolls, magic, cyborgs, out of body experiences… you name it. One can never have too many six sides dice. While the old SNES and Genesis games have a near cult following, I somehow missed the boat on those. 

Well… the Kickstarter approved Shadowrun Returns is bringing back all that you know and love into video game format. One of the beauties of the Shadowrun tabletop is that fact that you completely build your RPG character from the ground up. Through a point buy system you decide what your character starts with and how they develop. What will their essence be, do you have any implants, what weapons, do you have magic, etc, etc. Building your character is half the fun.

With all that said, there are still class archetypes. These are combinations that work that have good synergies with the traits you took. For example, mages want high essence to help cast spells and implants take away from that. You always have the option of adding implants or cyber enhancements to your mage though for a different edge or take on the ‘mage’ archetype – nothing is written in stone.             

What is exciting about Shadowrun Returns in that it will have these archetypes you’ll be able to choose from and then customize until you have that character you really want. Jordan Weisman, creative director, said:

“Shadowrun is a classless system, meaning that players are not restricted to a single character development path.  Rather, players start with a representative Shadowrun character archetype and are then free to grow their character as they wish, spending Karma points to choose any skill or ability available in the game.”

For those unfamiliar with the archetypes, want a refresher, or want to see what the game has to offer, they are listed below:

  • Mage: hermetic magic with a wide array of spells from offensive to illusion.  They can see auras and heal allies.
  • Street Samurai: the cyber enhanced killers that use link tech with their brains to be more effective.  Smart links to connect eyes to weapon aiming, boosted reflexes, and often powerful melee weapons all exist in their arsenal.
  • Decker: cyber enhanced hackers designed to enter the Matrix (an avatar filled mental internet) where they can learn hidden information, hack surveillance equipment, or due serious damages to servers.   
  • Shaman: totem magic users they rely on spirits, elements, and nature to  summon power.  The stronger the spirit the harder they become to control – spirits don’t like to be controlled.
  • Rigger: cyber enhanced controller of drones.  The rigger can operate multiple machines with his mind all at once and have them do his bidding. 
  • Physical Adept: magically enhanced martial artists.  These hand to hand combat masters use magic instead of tech to enhance their abilities in a more ‘natural’ sense.  


About The Author
Andrew Clouther Human, historian, teacher, writer, reviewer, gamer, League of Pralay, Persona fanboy, and GameZone paragon - no super powers as of yet. Message me on the Twitters: @AndrewC_GZ
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