The core rules create shadowrunners that a capable protagonists. They are better than the average man and if the player chooses to specialize, exceptionally so. This is fine when the campaign calls for skilled characters but sometimes a campaign calls for a PC closer to the average.
For me, the noir genre is about average citizens drawn into situations they did not want desperately trying to survive against random fate. Adding cyberpunk tropes to this gives the sub-genre of Tech-Noir. To create a character for a Tech-Noir game using the SR4E rules I suggest the character generation guidelines below. This is the method I will be using for the Emergence campaign am I running.
Tech-Noir Character Creation
- 320 Starting Build Points (BP).
- 200 BP limit for Attributes.
- Magic or Resonance limited to 3 or less.
- 1 skill at 5 or 2 skills at rating 4. All other skills at 3 or less.
- Must take at least 1 Negative Quality from the following list:
- Addiction (Moderate or higher)
- Simsense Vertigo
- Spirit Bane
- Amnesia (10 BP version only)
- Bad Rep
- Big Regret
- Borrowed Time
- In Debt
- Lost Loved One
- The Day Job, Restricted Gear, and Trust Fund qualities are not allowed.
- Gear Availability capped at 8.
- Maximum of 25 BP spent on resources.
- Contact loyalty and Connection rating is limited to 3.
- Low or lower lifestyle only.
This will produce characters that are closer to average than the standard shadowrunner. The relatively low amount of build points is countered by the limit on resources and the need to take a negative quality. This should produce a character closer in capability to a 350 BP character assuming augmentations are the same.
The negative qualities are for me what any noir protagonist should have in Shadowrun. It is these qualities that have prevented the character from assimilating into normal society and forced them to run the shadows.