A street samurai (also street sam, sammie, or razor boy/girl) is an archetypal shadowrunner who specializes in physical combat. They are often heavily augmented with cyberware and/or bioware to enhance their combat prowess and carry a variety of weapons to deal with any threat their groups encounter. Because of a reliance on some form of the -ware, they are distinguished from the more rare, magic wielding martial combat experts known as (physical) adepts.
Street samurai often come from military, paramilitary, or corporate security backgrounds, but a street gang's culture of violence breeds street samurai of its own. Any situation that involves violence or overcoming physical defenses, such as assassination or sabotage, greatly benefits from the samurai's presence, though they are not known for subtlety.
Street samurai are rarely social creatures. Their role as muscle leaves little room for it, and heavy augmentation causes others to experience an uncanny valley effect when interacting. They often adopt codes of honor, such as simply avoiding the death of bystanders, to more complex codes like bushido, as a way of holding on to the humanity that they are gradually exchanging for cyberware or bioware.
- ↑Physical or magical, half the street sams who enter my shop come in asking if I can reattach their arm. --Amargi
- ↑Most of them suck, too. I get the 'survival of the fittest' thing, but can I get a good opponent one of these days? One who knows how to actually move? --BlossomWind
- ↑Unfair, but technically true. Also, never underestimate the benefit of a good distraction in a black op. --Sabot12
- ↑Or the benefit of a good hard punch in the right place. --BlossomWind
- ↑A good street samurai understands that this is a weakness, and seeks to either make use of it or obliterate it. A bad street samurai is made use of, then obliterated. --Sabot12
Old School Shadowrun — The Archetypes of the Street Samurai Catalog:...
The Archetypes of the Street Samurai Catalog: Troll Street Samurai
When I first started playing Shadowrun, we had a house rule in the first few years that you couldn’t start with equipment from Section 2 of the SSC. The rationale being: it being the “Security Catalog”, that equipment would be much harder to come by on the street, and could only be acquired in game (and not at character creation). This was good in that it kept us from over-Munchkining ourselves with such jewels as the MP Laser, Narcoject Weapons, APDS ammo, and of course, la crème de la crème, Vindicator Minigun. Chummer – I still remember when my Former Company Man got one of those on a deluxe gyro-mount during the final insect spirit hive raid in Queen Euphoria… It was glorious.
Anyway, Section 2 was off limits, except if you played the Troll Street Samurai, because he came with two items from Section 2: the Ares MP-LMG (with deluxe gyro-mount) and the Panther Assault Cannon (oh, yeah, both smartlinked). In hindsight, I never bothered to check and notice that both of those weapons are just slightly lighter, more expensive variants of the “generic” versions from the core rulebook that do the same damage. Meaning – could have saved a little money by not going with illicit Section 2 items.
(that reminds me of another quote, from a Shadowrun merc campaign that I ran in college: “Generic Assault Cannon? That sounds like something my character should have.”)
(also just noticed that the Elf Street Samurai starts with some APDS ammo. Still not worth it)
Like the Dwarf, the Troll Street Samurai is the first archetype of that race that we get, and unlike the dwarf, he doesn’t disappoint. Body 8, Strength 10 means that Wallacher Combat Axe is going to do some serious damage (though only has Armed Combat 3). While he isn’t as good a shot as the Merc is with his LMG, the troll compensates – recoil compensates with the deluxe gyro-mount. The Panther Assault Cannon is his back-up weapon, and the Remington Roomsweeper – a shotgun! – is his back-up back-up weapon he keeps tucked in his boot. And, in case you didn’t think he has a sense of humor: some shuriken when he just wants to annoy his foes first.
You really want to make a kick-hoop troll street sam?
With what’s described above, you’d think you couldn’t improve on the troll street samurai, but then you realize:
He’s got Willpower 1, so will be dropped the instant they fight an enemy mage, and
Such single-minded ferocity borders on being psychopathically boring:
Ork Street Samurai: “Hey, so we need to scale this wall, then we can dodge the cameras and…”
Elf Street Samurai: “…shoot out the lights on the corners.”
Dwarf Street Samurai: “I’ll use the Voice Mask to fool the workers and approach this door, where….”
Troll Street Samurai:
“SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” *sound of 10,000 light machine gun rounds being fired in all directions*
Ork Street Samurai: “Drek. Can someone call the Street Mage to mana bolt him again?”
All the previous incarnations of the street samurai have had them be adept at both melee and ranged combat, while the troll – and the historical samurai itself – are built for melee combat. Let the others snipe from a distance while the troll closes in and starts swinging his naginata (total of +2 Reach) for an insane amount of damage. Sacrifice some skill points to get higher attributes and address that fatally low willpower.
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Holy Drek. I just can’t shut up about Shadowrun, can I?
Elven Jazzer, a New Orleans archetype for Shadowrun (1st Edition)
I should not have made that crack about pants because Oh My Dunkelzahn what is she wearing?
I owe an apology to Darkvine, because I thought he represented the worst representation of an Elven Rocker, but…
Voici le Jazzer.
Which I suppose is a slight improvement, mechanics-wise, from the original Rocker, in that she now has a gun, but… why? The article straight up says
She’s a rare sight on shadowruns, usually only participating if she can’t find a club date.
because yeah, the obvious next step after getting bumped from a gig at Club Vampyre because of a rumor that Jetblack is in NOLA is MEGACORPORATE-FUNDED CRIME.
And not, you know, getting to your shift at Shadow-Taco Cyber-Bell.
Congratulations Elf Mage: you are no longer the worst elven archetype out there.
Shadows Across the Big Easy, for Shadowrun (1st Edition), from White Wolf Magazine. Prelude.
Some periodical history.
White Wolf Magazine was a gaming magazine (TTRPGs, CRPGs, CCGs, PbMs, etc.) that was published from 1986 until 1995, started by brothers Stewart and Stephan Wieck. White Wolf Publishing, their company, would merge with another company, Lion Rampant (founders Jonathan Tweet & Mark Rein·Hagen, editor Lisa Stevens), in 1991.
If those names are familiar, it is because they are Major Fragging Players in RPG publishing.
Jonathan Tweet was one of the primary designers of D&D 3rd Edition, Lisa Stevens would go on to form Paizo (of Pathfinder fame), and Rein·Hagen & the Wiecks are behind the immensely popular World of Darkness setting, with Vampire: The Masquerade being published in 1991.
Other TTRPGs have always stood in the shadow of D&D, and the same holds true for periodicals. TSR launched the monthly Dragon magazine in 1976, focused on all things D&D, with Dungeon starting 10 years later, printing shorter adventures. Later, I came to value the latter way more than the former. But both were, at their core, house organs. They primarily supported TSR publications (primarily D&D, but also with some Top Secret: SI and Marvel RPG content), and maybe gave the occasional shout out to some other game system.
Issue #203, March 1994, with cover art by Timothy Bradstreet.
Five years after Shadowrun was first published.
There were other magazines out there. Eventually.
White Dwarf was a UK magazine published by Games Workshop that started by covering wargames and TTPRGs but eventually focused solely on Warhammer.
Shadis, started by Knights of the Dinner Table author Jolly Blackburn, was another independent RPG magazine that always kept its independence, which meant it never got the wide readership it deserved. Shadis fragging rocked.
Then, back to the topic at hand, we have White Wolf, which started off like Shadis in covering all TTRPGs that weren’tD&D, but as the 90s bloomed and the World of Darkness exploded, gradually became their version of Dragon.
In 1994, it rebranded as Inphobia, in which yours truly has a published letter to the editor, but folded in less than a year (so I’m sorry for killing the magazine). With the emergence of the WWW, print media took a hit. Dragon, due to the continued popularity of D&D, lasted through 3rd edition and eventually went online only in 2007.
Shadows Across the Big Easy, by C.R. Shaver & Jason Rush, a five-part 1st Edition Shadowrun series premiered in White Wolf Magazine #31 (May/June 1992). The series includes:
- City information about New Orleans in 2050
- Magic rules for Voodoo
- New Archetypes
- A pair of adventures set in the Big Easy
Get your gumbo ready.
How Houngans are different than Shamans and Mages in Shadowrun (1st Edition)
The Houngan archetype was introduced two issues ago, but said nothing about how their magic differs from existing types (Hermetic & Shamanic) present in Shadowrun up until this point. And with this article, we see that it’s like both and still unique. Stylistically, houngans seem more shamanic, eschewing the rigorous academic Hermetic style in favor of rituals and talismans (the gris-gris and voodoo dolls being examples). A houngan, however, has no totem and associated bonuses and penalties. Spellcasting and enchanting work the same for houngans as other magicians.
Speaking of rituals:
Houngans must perform at least one ceremony a week. Such a ceremony requires materials costing 200 nuyen, takes one hour to complete, and must be performed in the houngan’s Temple.
It’s like they have a church job.
They get no bonuses for such ceremonies but suffer cumulative penalties to Magic TNs for every week they are lax in their duties.
Conjuring, game-mechanically, is more akin to the hermetic summoning of elementals. Summoning a loa (more on them later) takes an hour and 750¥ of materials per Force point of the spirit, with the number of successes giving the number of services owed to the conjurer. Like elementals, loa stay controlled until all services are given, but one service is used up every 24 hours – still better than nature spirits vanishing at the next sunrise or sunset.
In addition to powers for each individual loa, it can also possess the houngan, letting the loa take control of the character and adding its Force rating to the houngan’s Physical attributes.
Except that there’s always the chance that the loa won’t want to leave the houngan’s body – so be extra nice to your GM when you do this stunt.
The creation of voodoo dolls is detailed. They aren’t cheap: 10,000¥ in materials and an eight-hour ritual. What does it do? It’s essentially a Ritual Sorcery focus, creating a constant Astral link to a particular target.
With all of this time spent in Temple, when does she have time for shadowrunning?
It Kills Your Eyes, or Things I Don’t Like About Critters in Shadowrun
The Critters section of Shadowrun (1st edition) has the usual “include it because it’s fantasy and we sort of have to”.
Like the unicorn.
(in case you forgot what unicorns looked like or wanted to know their genus and species name)
It’s enough to say unicorns exist. Fragging dragons exist, so, yeah, minor bone adaptation to a horse, not that big a deal. Not only could I never think of a reasonable situation where you would encounter a unicorn in Shadowrun, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a unicorn even when I was playing D&D. You going to fight them? Why? Why the frag do you hate unicorns? Just sit back and admire their fragging beauty, chummer.
(”I’m beautiful too,” it sobs while destroying your ports)
The kraken suffers from the same problem. You could easily see a D&D encounter with a kraken – where there is the obligatory long sea trip at least once in the campaign (if your DM did not provide one, please contact TSR for a full refund). But the kraken? It’s a giant fraggin’ squid. No magical powers. Just a giant squid that lives in the ocean. Yes, Seattle is connected but to the Pacific, but are you going to see a kraken swarm emerging from Elliot Bay to attack the Renraku Arcology?
Actually, that’s a pretty wiz idea. I mean, look at it. It’s just begging for a kraken attack.
Let’s make fun of the eyekiller instead.
(*squwak* “I kill your eyes!” *squwak*)
First off: sure, it looks a little frightening, like if an eagle had sex with an owl and its magically mutant babies came after you wanting to Kill your Eyes. It does have kind of a kick-ass power: Electrical Projection – a lightning bolt you can’t dodge or even roll Body to reduce the damage.
The problem? What does that have to do with eyes? Why does it have to be an Awakened owl? Is there some cryptozoic legend out there that somehow makes this make any sort of sense? Dragons, ghosts, vampires, all of these have firm foundations across multiple cultures. But the eyekiller? The only reference I could find was an only marginally similar D&D creature from the Field Folio (which, let’s admit it, was the Highlander 2: The Quickening of 1st edition AD&D monster themed sourcebooks).
(”Booooooo! I kill your eyes boooooo!”)
The Rise and Fall of Critters in Shadowrun
One criticism that could never be levelled on Shadowrun, regardless of edition, is that it is a poor looking game. While the later editions spiked up the production curve with full-color glossy pages (which I never liked in an RPG because I would, *gasp* often wish to annotate things in pencil when I would *gasp* actually play the game rather than just look at it), the 1st edition was still stacked with iconic art that would celebrate both the cyberpunk and fantasy elements of Shadowrun.
William Gibson called Shadowrun his “literary DNA mixed with elves”, and he’s not wrong – if Shadowrun had the type of profit margins that D&D did, it would be worth his while to sue for IMMENSE copyright violations. It’s not even really an insult, as you cannot dispute its accuracy. For some it’s an instant turn-off. My friend Walter – who was a big Cyberspace player – always had something else to do when the rest of us wanted to play Shadowrun. For a cyberpunk purist, I completely understand. I am not a cyberpunk purist – my first exposure was with Shadowrun, so I was always hooked on the “frag yeah I want a sub-machine gun and a fireball spell!” aspect of it. Walter was more of a fantasy purist – I only ever remember him playing wizards.
One of the great things about Shadowrun was that you could strip out a portion of the game you didn’t like and still have a playable game. Don’t like magic? Play it straight cyber and it’s still a better game mechanically than Cyberpunk 184.108.40.206. Sure, you need to ditch the magic-infused backstory, but that rarely impacts things at the game level anyway. Don’t like the cyber? Ditch it and you can play it as a classless fantasy game.
But speaking of art: something that encapsulates its meshing as a cyberpunk plus fantasy game is what was chosen for the full-color plates in the 1st edition. There were 16 physical pages, so 32 book pages. The first 8 were, wisely, the 16 archetypes I’ve spent so many electrons mocking already. The last 8 were Critters.
Nestled in the back half of the book, among the other GM-only chapters, was a sampling of the paranatural creatures that were present in the Sixth World. So, yeah, Monsters. It was clear that the writers of Shadowrun had high hopes for the use of critters in the game – with half of the “must be expensive because there are so few of them” full color pages in the book devoted to them. Two 1st edition “Monster Manual” style sourcebooks followed (Paranormal Animals of North America and Europe, respectively). Several of the critters made appearances in the first Shadowrun novel trilogy (dragons, cockatrices, wendigo, and spirits of course, just off the top of my head).
But like the Rocker (which also got its own 1st edition sourcebook with Shadowbeat), it was clear it just wasn’t something the players were really using. By 3rd edition, the “Critters” chapter had become “Spirits and Dragons”, which was an admission of just what paranatural creatures saw any use, and the rest were shunted to the “Extra Stuff We Had Laying Around” book they published with the gamemaster’s screen.
In hindsight, it’s a bit obvious why they never caught on – Shadowrun is still at its core an urban game, and most of these creatures are not urban. You can shoehorn in some of their presence – cockatrices present as security animals – but when are your arcology-busting runners going to encounter an eyekiller? Or a fraggin’ kraken?
So include the Spirits – magicians have to summon something. Include the Dragons – runners need to fight a dragon at least *once* in their careers. I’d make a case for including anything that might feasibly pass for metahuman in the city: shapeshifters and the vampire-variants. Maybe a few surprises when are in the wrong back alley in the Barrens, like devil rats or a stray pack of barghests.
Speaking of barghests…
6 Critter Encounters from Paranormal Animals of North America for Shadowrun (1st Edition)
So how would you use some of the weird critters here?
Sprawl Sites, the inspiration for this post, had critters show up in half of their Magic Encounters (Fire Elemental, Sasquatch, Eagle Shapeshifter, Vampire, Ghoul, Griffin).
I can be a shadowrunner…
Here are some I’ve thought of from PANA.
1. Agnes is a little old lady with a lost “cat” and wants the team to find it for her. The catch? It’s a Talis Cat, and it’s been using its pseudo-shapeshifting abilities to prey on squatters in the Redmond Barrens. Can the runners find Agnes’s poor little kitty before it kills again?
2. Mr. Johnson said this job was to be a quick corporate extraction, null sweat. What he didn’t tell you is that the target you’d be extracting is a stonebinder, a bat whose saliva turns your flesh into calcium carbonate. Can the runners get one out of an exhibit at the Aztechnology Complex without being petrified?
3. The runners arrive at an abandoned church in the Puyallup Barrens for a meet with their new fence. They are in for a surprise when they discover a nest of gargoyles that have take up residence, and they are not happy at being disturbed.
4. Your street doc, Pamela, has not been answering your calls. Tracking her down, you discover them in the early stages of transforming into a loup-garou. She thinks finding the specimen that infected her might lead to an antidote. Can the team find patient zero before Pamela fully succumbs to the virus?
5. Your team is slogging through the muck along Puget Sound in Tacoma, trying to sneak aboard a cargo ship carrying the newest Fairlight cyberdecks when bright lights suddenly appear behind you. You are initially relieved when you see it’s not Eagle Security, but rather a half dozen very close and very hungry corpselights. Are those decks worth the Essence drain?
6. Your shaman’s talismonger warned you that this Mr. Johnson was a little… different. Meeting him in a forest clearing in Snohomish, you see why: it’s a Man-of-the-woods. It cannot leave its grove, but needs a team of runners to bring a certain Gaeatronics executive to him. He cannot offer nuyen, but the promise of a potent magical item if the task is accomplished before the next new moon.
Critters in Shadowrun (1st Edition)
In preparation of an upcoming post about Paranormal Animals of North America, here is a summary of some things I’ve written before about those crittery critters
The Loa, Part 1, for Shadowrun (1st Edition)
Often misnamed the “voodoo gods”, the loa (lwa) are closer to saints or angels, acting as intermediate spirits from humanity and the Creator: Bondyé (from the French Bon Dieu, or Good God). In Haitian vodou, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of loa, but for game purposes, only 8 are detailed.
Auga – loa of the storm. More powers than both an Air Elemental and a Storm Spirit. Kind of a mixture of Raiden and Storm.
Agwé – loa of the sea. Similar powers to a Sea Spirit.
The veve of Agwé
Samedi – loa of death. Aka Baron Samedi, aka, probably the only loa you’ve heard of.
Baron Samedi is French for “Baron Saturday”, for those working for the weekend.
The veve of Baron Samedi
Players of Vampire: The Masquerade will recognize him as the inspiration for the Samedi bloodline.
He is also, with the cigar and rum, likely the inspiration for Jobu from the movie Major League.
Damballah – loa of the cobra. In Christian syncretism, equated with Saint Patrick or Moses.
The veve of Damballah
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The Street Samurai is the classic protagonist archetype in Cyberpunk and Post Cyber Punk, but also shows up on occasion when those genres are mixed with Dungeon Punk and Urban Fantasy. Hackers, warriors, and anti-authoritarian loners, these characters fight against the dystopian governments and Mega Corps that rule their worlds. They are down-on-their-luck souls that Walk the Earth because their own personal codes of honor make them refuse to sell out to authority. Typical goals for this sort of character are Information Wants to Be Free and bringing down the very society in which they live in order to make a better one.
They are the tech-savvy mercenaries, bounty hunters, assassins, bodyguards and general badasses of the urban jungle. They're far cooler than standard Mooks, often sporting a Badass Longcoat, Cool Shades and other stylish gear. Edged weapons are common despite being strange for the era, and Katanas are recommended, but not mandatory. Street samurai by no means eschew firearms however, and are frequently expert gunslingers who use guns andswords together, but expect Cool Guns and Abnormal Ammo. In classic Cyberpunk, the samurai would often be heavily augmented with cybernetic parts, but this is no longer mandatory. Hacking, at least at a rudimentary level, or other similar tech skills (creating prosthetics, building custom weapons systems and vehicles etc.) is required.
Despite the name, these characters have a lot more in common with Rōnin and even more so with Ninja (see also Cyber Ninja) than they do with samurai, being essentially descendants of recognizable types drawn from hard-boiled private-eye literature and Film Noir.
Compare Samurai Cowboy, Corporate Samurai and Western Samurai. Note, that merely having the toys of a Street Samurai does not make you one if you don't have the personality and skill set. Not to be confused with the Steel Samurai.
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Anime and Manga
- Rōnin is probably the Trope Codifier for comics.
- In the Crapsack World of Judge Dredd, the Judges of future Japan dress and act like high-tech Samurai warriors.
- Fray starts out as a freelance cat burglar and saboteur in a cyberpunk future, but one who's fiercely protective of her local community. Then she learns she's also a vampire slayer.
- Being inspired by Neuromancer, the human protagonists of The Matrix exhibit characteristics of this, especially Trinity.
- The main character from Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a gangster hitman who lives by the code of Bushido and has a number of anachronistic habits, such as communicating by messenger pigeon. RZA has a cameo as another one of these.
- Jef Costello from Le Samouraï. Besides the title, it gets points for having the protagonist wear a Badass Longcoat. And it was an inspiration to John Woo (hence the gun-slinging and Cool Shades elements).
- Kill Bill: The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad is a group of assassins, some of whom use katanas. While The Bride is in a coma for several years and Bill is in semi-retirement raising their daughter, the group disbands and the members either retire or work solo, essentially becoming Rōnin.
- In Elysium, the main villain is Kruger, a cyborg for hire who carries a katana.
- Katana has always had shades of this, but her incarnation in Suicide Squad (2016) embodies this trope.
- In Avengers: Endgame, Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) goes rogue after his family's disappearance as Ronin, terrorizing Yakuza and other criminals who survived the Snap while innocent people vanished. He even gets a Cool Sword to boot.
- Molly Millions from Neuromancer and other works by William Gibson is the Trope Namer and Ur-Example. She's a "razorgirl" with cybernetically enhanced reflexes, lenses grafted over her eyes, and double-edged scalpel blades implanted under her fingernails.
- Hiro Protagonist in Snow Crash is a pizza deliveryman and freelance hacker, but his combat skills, talent for working high-tech espionage, and willingness to take on enemies far larger than himself to do what's right are what make him an example. Raven does work as a mercenary, but he's got his own agenda.
- Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age has a Decoy Protagonist, Bud, who behaves a bit like one of these. He's mostly just a street hoodlum who spends his money on bionic weapons. He's messily executed in short order.
- Sri Death from Tais Teng's Memoirs of a Matriarchy and Neon Moon anthologies. Though he is practically invulnerable and possibly immortal by the end of his arc, he still suffers from Badass Decay to make the point that the universe is ruled by forces greater than any single person can control.
- The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy song, "Satanic Reverses" has a line:
Sent Joey to the Supreme Court
Cause he made a statement, they called it
Desecration of the symbol that was meant to represent
The freedom of so-called choice and dissent
They almost had me believin' it, I was bleedin' it
He said, "Burn, baby, burn"
Til the Street Samurai said to my face
That any flag that's worth shit
Was woven from fire in the first place.
- In this context, the "Street Samurai" is likely Rono Tse, fellow Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy bandmate.
- In Shadowrun, this trope describes the archetypical Shadowrunner, i.e. the Player Character. The title 'Street Samurai' is used in-game for one of the classic runner archetypes, specifically the independent fighting guy who augments his abilities with lots of cyberware, though not so much to the point where they end up killing themselvesor worse. Fighters who augment themselves with magic, who augment themselves with corporate backing, or who rely on pure skill rather than augmentation do not legitimately fit this definition.
- Rifts has a number of these and the Corporate versions in the High-tech cities of Japan. Many of whom clash, ideologically or physically, with their traditional counterparts in the anti-technological countries elsewhere.
- Cyberpunk has the Solo class, which operate similar to the Shadowrun counterpart above, but differ in that these characters do not hold a personal sense of moral code and are more ruthless in their pragmatism to get things done.
- Powered by the Apocalypse game The Sprawl has the "Killer" playbook, the only playbook that starts with more than one implant without sacrificing a special move and gets a custom weapon along with multiple "normal" ones. The "Soldier" operates more on the tactical side of things.
- V in Cyberpunk 2077 is this, and is referred to as "Samurai" by Johnny Silverhand on at least one occasion.
- Mass Effect 2 decides to go a bit more cyberpunk, especially on Omega. This is where you can find Archangel, a mysterious vigilante and capable hacker (who is really your old buddy Garrus).
- Raiden has evolved into this archetype by the time that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance rolls around. The Big Bad of his story is a corrupt United States senator that has plans to devolve the entire world into anarchy. Raiden himself exemplifies old school warrior codes, even taking on giant robots not with guns or missiles, but with an Absurdly Sharp Blade.
- There's an obscure PS2 game called Seven Samurai 20XX based on the Seven Samurai set in a cyberpunk world.
- In SNES classic X-calibur 2097 the player character is this; same well for his Evil Twin brother.
- All the player characters in the Deus Ex series can end up this way, depending on the path you choose.
- You can choose to play this way in E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy if you decide to utilize Sword and Gun style and augment yourself with cybernetics.
- Batman as portrayed in the Batman: Arkham Series, more so than other versions of the character. He wages a vigilante crusade against a corrupt society, is bound by a strict personal code of honor and tends to use fighting techniques originating from medieval Japan against foes using modern weapons and tactics. Given this particular incarnation's constant use of advanced computer tech (his mask's detective mode, the disruptor, the remote hacking device) and the notably cyberpunk-influenced plots of the series (City's focus on government control and surveillance, Knight's focus on drone warfare, the prominent role the Bat-family's resident hacker Oracle has throughout the series), this version of Batman is actually one of the purest examples of the trope.
- Dechs, the title Antihero for Hire.
- The protagonists of Ronin Galaxy take the "samurai" part a bit literally.
- Daniel, the protagonist of Aqua Regia has a little fun with the archetype — he works as a mercenary, and has the weapon of choice, but just in the first chapter, which ends up broken and with him fatally injured. Also, he quickly ascends to Corporate Samurai.
If you’re playing Shadowrun Hong Kong as a Street Samurai, you’ll want to know how to optimize your build for the best, most OP shadowrunning action you can get. There are a ton of builds you can make in Shadowrun Hong Kong because of its flexible Karma system. This Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build guide will teach you how to allocate all your karma for the best possible Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build and what equipment you’ll want to acquire.
Race Selection – Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build
Honestly, because of the way we’re dipping into Cyberware Affinity, your race selection doesn’t matter that much. Every race can take Quickness up to 9 except Trolls (who can only go to 8) and Elves (who can go to 11), but we only need 7 Quickness so it’s just not a factor at all. You might want to avoid Trolls if you’re planning to subspecialize as a Decker or Rigger because they have low intelligence. Human might technically be the best because they get an extra point of Karma but it’s just 1 point.
Stat Allocation – Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build
For this build we’re going to be going with Ranged, because melee Street Samurais are mostly terrible. It’s not that they’re terrible, but if you’re going a melee character, Cyberware Melee and Physical Adept Melee are both leagues better than Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Melee, so you should do one of those builds instead.
Here are the stats you’re going to want:
Cyberware Affinity 6
Quickness 7 (11)
Ranged Combat 7 (8)
Spirit Control 3
That costs 118 Karma, which is a little under half the Karma in the game, so you should be able to achieve that by mid-game, leaving you with room to move into a subspecialty like Decking or Rigging.
Actually, Decking and Rigging are kind of your only options because you’re going to totally kill your Essence with Cyberware here in a minute, but you could also subspecialize in Conjuring by making a few tweaks. It’s absolutely not worth it and I don’t recommend it — all you’ll gain is Haste (+1 AP) at the cost of Wired Reflexes (+1 AP) and every other thing you gain from Cyberware.
Some things that might not be immediately obvious:
- You only ever need 3 points in Rifles to unlock Full-Auto. Further points just give Crit Chance, but Full Auto isn’t capable of crits, so if you’re just using Full Auto, you’re throwing those points away
- You want 4 Charisma for Etiquettes.
- If you take the 1 point in Conjuring you can pump 4 points of Charisma up to 7 points of Charisma to be able to pass every Charisma check in the game by picking up the 2 charisma boosting fetishes and installing the 0 Essence Enhanced Pheromones cyberware.
- You want 3 in Spirit Summoning to get a Totem. You’ll want the Cobra Totem for a ranged Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai (+1 Damage, +5% Accuracy)
- You want 6 points of Cyberware Affinity so you can go beyond your racial maximum in stats, which has the added benefit of letting you raise dependent stats above the core stat’s level if you have the Cyberware for it.
Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Rigger Stat Allocation
If you want to go the Rigger route, your final stats should look like this:
Cyberware Affinity 6
Quickness 7 (11)
Ranged Combat 7 (9)
Intelligence 8 (9)
Drone Control 9
Drone Combat 9
Spirit Control 3
That costs 243 Karma which is almost all the Karma in the base game + the bonus campaign, and you have to sacrifice maxing out Ranged Combat for this but it’s worth it. This is the most broken combat build in the game by a huge amount. You get Full Auto, your Drones get Full Auto, you get a total of 10 AP per round. It’s bonkers. If I was going to recommend one build in the game it’s this build. Do this build.
However, I also recommend the Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai/Decker build if you want a more utility-oriented character and less focus on combat. To be honest, the Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai/Decker is just fine in combat and makes the awful, tedious hacking minigame a lot more bearable. Up to you.
Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai/Decker Stat Allocation
This build is very similar to the above build, but you have a little more wiggle room because the ESP line isn’t as integral to Decker as the Drone Combat line is to Rigger (in fact, it barely matters at all).
Cyberware Affinity 6
Quickness 7 (11)
Ranged Combat 9 (10)
Intelligence 8 (9)
Decking 8 (9)
Spirit Control 3
That takes 242 Karma. Honestly, you don’t need to take Decking above 7, which unlocks the Farlight Excalibur, and ESP Control is mostly garbage since ideally, you’re not getting into a lot of serious fights in the matrix that would require the use of ESPs. So you should be able to achieve the main parts of this build before you even hit the bonus campaign if you deprioritize ESP Control and Decking past 7. Do this build if you don’t want to have to take Is0bel with you on missions.
Note the 6 strength there. That’s so you can use Miniguns which can’t flush enemies out of cover, but do ridiculous damage overall. This build isn’t too far behind the Rigger build damage-wise on account of the Miniguns.
Cyberware – Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build
There’s a little bit of personal preference you can apply to the Cyberware for your Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai, but I’ll get into that afterwards. Since you have 8 Essence, you’re going to be spending a ton of money on Cyberware. Here’s what you want:
Auto-Loader (1 Essence, +1 Quickness, Free Reloads)
– This lets you Full Auto every turn without ever having to reload
Saeder-Krupp Skillwires (0.25 Essence, +1 Quickness, +1 Ranged Combat)
– Self-explanatory. Gives you bonuses in your core stats.
Note: If you’re going the Rigger build, you may want 2x Skillwires instead of the Auto-Loader; you won’t be reloading as much since you’re giving your turns to drones and your Ranged Combat isn’t maxed, so you may prefer the extra accuracy
Wired Reflexes (1.5 Essence, +1 Movement, +1 AP for 2 turns)
– This gives you your own personal Haste 1 that costs 0 AP to cast. It’s extremely good.
Vision Magnification Eyes (Alpha) (0.5 Essence, +6% Accuracy)
– Full Auto penalizes your Accuracy, so this is a must.
Universal Omnitech Cyberleg (Alpha) (1 Essence, +8 HP, +2 Quickness, +2 Dodge)
– Increases stats you need. Get 2 of these.
Datajack (0.5 Essence, Datajack)
– There are a ton of smartlink guns that require a Datajack, and whether you’re going Decking or Rigging, you’re going to need one.
Encephalon NEXT (1.5 Essence, Intelligence +1, Decking +1)
– If you’re going Decking, get this. Otherwise, get the Cerebral Booster below
Cerebral Booster (Bioware) (0.5 Essence, Intelligence +1)
– If you’re going the Rigging build, get this instead
Tailored Pheromones (0 Essence, +1 Charisma)
– This helps you hit the 7 Charisma milestone for passing all Charisma checkpoints. I’d recommend this because extra health/armor is not super necessary on a ranged character. But if you want it…
Ares Dermal Plating (Alpha) (1 Essence, +1 Body, +2 Armor)
– With this you’ll hit the Armor cap and get a little extra health on top of it. Not bad.
The total essence cost is 5.75, or 6.75 if you get the Ares Dermal Plating. You should be able to cover this with your Cyberware Affinity. Getting this cyberware will vastly improve the effectiveness of your Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai.
Equipment – Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build
There are a number of options here. For the main game, you’ll want the Ares Alpha (Smartlink) until you find the Steyr AUG-CSL in Prosperity Tower, which has 1 less damage, but has Armor Piercing and gives an accuracy bonus. If you’re going the Decking build I suggested and have access to miniguns, you’ll want to have the Vindicator minigun as well. The idea being if they’re in cover, you flush them with the Steyr; otherwise, melt them with the Vindicator. You can also use the Prototype Sniping laser for a long-range option until you get the Vindicator.
If you’re going the Rigger build, you’ll want 2x Guardian Mk 2 Autos. That only leaves you with one weapon slot, so you’ll want to use the Ares Alpha (Smartlink) until you can upgrade to the Steyr.
In the post-game missions, you can upgrade the Steyr to the Ares HVAR, which adds 2 additional shots to Full Auto at the expense of 2 lower damage. You can also upgrade the Vindicator to the Panther Assault Cannon, which is stupidly powerful (35 damage/shot).
For the Decker build, you’ll also want to get a Farlight Excalibur, ASAP. To sum it up:
Rigger: Assault Rifle, 2x Drones
Decker: Assault Rifle, Minigun, Deck
Either of these Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai builds will plow through the game with ease. Choose whichever one you like.
That about covers it for the best Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build. Be sure to check out the Games Section for more articles like this and click here for more game guides for Shadowrun Hong Kong.
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Samurai shadowrun street
Street Samurai Catalog
Role-playing game supplement
Street Samurai Catalog is a supplement published by FASA in 1989 for the near-future cyberpunk role-playing game Shadowrun.
Street Samurai Catalog is a supplement that presents new weapons, vehicles, cyberware, and other accessories, using the conceit that this is the equipment catalog of a fictional company called Ares. The book is divided into two parts: items for the general public, and items for security and quasi-military forces. As well as a variety of firearms and personal weaponry, several cybernetic implants are also described. Each item takes up one page and is accompanied by an illustration.
The book also includes new rules for some of the items, new street samurai archetypes and a blank street samurai character sheet.
Street Samurai Catalog was written by Tom Dowd, and was published by FASA in 1990 as a 116-page softcover book, with illustrations by Timothy Bradstreet, Jeff Laubenstein, and Karl Martin, and cover art by Steve Venters.
In 1996, this book was updated to the rules for the second edition of Shadowrun, resulting in a slightly smaller page count of 109 pages.
In 1999, material was taken from this book, updated to the new rules for Shadowrun 3, and then divided between Man & Machine (1999), and Cannon Companion (2000).
Stephan Wieck reviewed Street Samurai Catalog for White Wolf #20, rating it 3 out of 5 overall, and stated that "If you've got [the money] to spare I'd say buy it because you will enjoy it and the Catalog will enrich your Shadowrun campaign, but you can get by without it."
In the November 1992 edition of Dragon (#187), Allen Varney said that this book "belong[s] in any Shadowrun game player's library." Varney noted the items listed in the book already "figure prominently in many of the published adventures." He concluded with a strong recommendation, saying, "its extensive illustrations, samurai archetypes, and cyberware rules enhance every campaign."
Several months later, in the April 1993 edition of Dragon (Issue #192), Rick Swan was less impressed. Although he liked some of the items in the book, especially cyberguns and shock gloves, he found that "too many mundane items (such as precision arrows and — yawn — survival knives) result in a less-than-memorable volume." He concluded that the book wasn't worth the money, pointing out that "each entry fills an entire page, much of it empty space, which hardly makes this a bargain."
The. Next moment, her other hand rested on my groin. My dick got up at a moment, from the side it must have looked funny. I did not wait any longer and argue why she needed all this, but simply threw this slut on the trestle bed.
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And then I started working with redoubled energy. I put her legs, in turn on my shoulders and with my hands I massaged and massaged my feet, calves and thighs, gradually moving up. Anyuta, lying down, closing her eyes, her hands hung with whips along her body, a half languid smile wandered over her lips, and her breasts.