Quote Originally Posted by Downtime View Post
Are the source-book pregens bad but balanced against equally bad mission NPCs, or should I look for another source of characters? (It looks like Dumpshock has a thread of statted out characters).
The pregens from the original 4th edition book are mathematically bad. As in wrong. The math is incorrect on most, if not all of them.

The pregens from the 4th edition Anniversary book are mathematically sound, but they aren't optimized to the degree that even novice players to the system tend to make characters. As a rule, they're fine to use for 1-shots as long as 1) the group is new, and 2) they ONLY use the pre-gens. Combining pre-gens with custom characters is asking for trouble. The pre-gens are generally good enough against most street-level NPCs...if you're going up against gangers and such (see also: Food Fight), they'll be fine. If you're going up against Red Samurai, you're sasquatch chow.

If you want to use a more high-powered group of pre-gens, the character assistance subforum on the official SR4 boards (NOT Dumpshock!) has a large list of more...optimized...pre-gens that aren't totally broken. I prefer, though, to start brand new players to SR with the "official" book pre-gens. First, they have nice art. Second, they reinforce a major concept in Shadowrun that you shouldn't depend on your stats to carry you through a run - you should depend on good tactics and a good plan. Not having the stats there to fall back upon reinforces that concept.