5hadowrun: Rigger class

I’ve now updated (improved?) this class – see here.


In the continuation of my 5hadowrun project, I present: the Rigger class. (Click the ‘5hadowrun’ tag for the rest of the project.)

The Rigger is one of the standard Shadowrun archetypes, being someone who’s very good with tech, and is normally accompanied by a drone companion or two. Hence I’ve based this class on the Ranger, replacing ‘nature’ with ‘city’ and ‘animal companion’ with ‘drone’.

It’s different enough to the existing 5e classes that I thought it needed a whole new class. It’s basically a Ranger, with no spellcasting but with both the hunter and beast master features (or something quite similar). As always, balance is the hardest thing to get right, so playtesting is needed.

If you’re a Shadowrun player, I should probably apologise for what I’ve done to the Rigger. In the process of fitting it into 5e mechanics, I’ve moved further away from what it originally was. Hopefully you like what I’ve got though!

wp-1450881658703.jpgAn oil-covered human artfully disables the lab’s defense turrets, while her floating drone circles the room, watching for incoming corporate security.

Abseiling down the building, the orc guides his armoured drone into position inside the ventilation duct. After disabling the security cameras, he crashes through the window, orc and drone beginning the assault in perfect synchrony.

A Rigger is the master of technology, having an almost innate connection to the ‘matrix’ and automated systems. Most Riggers are competent hackers, but tend put their skills towards more physical systems, such as vehicles, drones and guns. Riggers are recognisable by the heavily-customised (or in some cases, custom-built) drones that invariably follow them, which are regarded more as trusted friends than tools.

They are more than able to defend themselves in a fight, but tend to favour ambushes and hit-and-run tactics over an all-out firefight. Relying on stealth and skills to out-manoeuvre their enemies, some employ high-tech gadgets to control and confuse their foes.


  • Hit dice: 1d10 per Rigger level
  • Proficiencies: simple and martial weapons, handguns and proper guns, light and medium armour
  • Saving throws: Strength and dexterity.
  • Skills: three of Athletics, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, Stealth and Survival.
  • Starting equipment:
    • RentaCop body armour or leather jacket
    • A simple melee weapon
    • A rifle or shotgun
    • Usual other crap

Class Features


At level 1 you gain a DataJack and proficiency with it. You may use the jack to attempt to hack computer systems, defence drones, vehicles and others. Due a Rigger’s innate ability to use technology, you may make a Wisdom check for these hacking attempts.

City Explorer

This functions exactly as the Ranger’s ‘Natural Explorer’ but only in urban environments. Tracking and foraging should be re flavoured to be patching into security cameras, hacking vending machines, etc.

Fighting Style

Choose from Defense, Duelling, Grenadier, Marksman, Spray-and-Pray, or Two-Weapon Fighting. See fighter class for gun-related fighting styles.

Getaway Driver

At level 10 you may use your innate skill with tech to gain proficiency with any vehicle you successfully hack into. The proficiency only lasts while you are patched into the vehicle via your DataJack.

This is one of the features I’m most unsure about. Depending on how it’s played it could be totally lame or amazing. A campaign that includes a lot of vehicles, travel and driving skill gives an chance for a Rigger to show off, especially if they have the opportunity to get hold of something exotic like a helicopter or tank. Whereas a campaign that’s more of a dungeon crawl will never makes use of this.

Although compared to the Ranger’s level 10 abilities, it’s not bad at all…

Mind Shield

At level 14 your constant technological improvement has affected your own mind. You gain proficiency with Wisdom saving throws.

Matrix Senses

When you reach level 18 you have a near-constant connection to the technological matrix around you. While in a technologically-dense area (city, building, etc) you gain 30ft blindsense, as you feel the presence of creatures around you.

Matrix Slayer

At 20th level your technological mastery guides your attacks. You may add your wisdom modifier to your attack and damage rolls.


Choose one of the following archetypes: scout (sneaky stealth), hunter (big hitter), or controller (mess with the enemy). At levels 3, 7, 11 and 15 you gain an archetype feature, detailed below.

Some abilities have a save DC, which is calculated as 8+proficiency bonus+wisdom modifier. Also, while some Rigger abilities replicate the effect of spells, the abilities are technological, not magical in nature (hence dispel magic etc have no effect).

I not sure there’s any real point having 3 distinct archetypes, so would be tempted to give a player a free choice between all three abilities at each level.

I’ve also tried to make most abilities equivalent to one of the ranger spells or abilities (although slightly better to account for the loss of flexibility).

Level 3
  • Scout: You create a nano 3D printer, allowing you to change your appearance. You may use the spell Disguise Self a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day.
  • Hunter: You detect the weakness of injured foes, allowing them to be terminated more effectively. You may do extra 1d8 damage with your attacks if the enemy is below maximum HP.
  • Controller: You quickly hack an technological item or weapon, preventing its use for a short time. You may use your action to force one opponent within 30ft to make an intelligence save or have their weapon/item hacked and be unable to use it for one round. Items that can be affected include most guns (not revolvers or other simpler designs), drones, vehicles, and computers, with others at DM discretion.
Level 7
  • Scout: You may weave through the melee, relying on your upgraded reactions to dodge foes that strike at you. Opportunity attacks against you have disadvantage.
  • Hunter: You install an early-warning system in your mental firmware. Gain advantage on saving throws against grenades and burst fire.
  • Controller: You may create modified grenades that deploy a rapidly hardening foam. All creatures within a 10ft square must make a strength save or be restrained. They may repeat this save at the end of each of their turns to remove the condition. You may use this ability a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day.
Level 11
  • Scout: You create a short-term cloaking device. You may use your action to become invisible until the end of your next turn. You may use this ability a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day.
  • Hunter: You upgrade your body, allowing you to rapidly target and attack multiple foes. Make a ranged weapon attack (not burst fire) against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see, or make 3 attacks against a single creature. You may use this ability a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day.
  • Controller: You release a cloud of nanodrones to block an area and protect you. Create a 50 foot long, 15 foot high, 1 foot thick wall of bots. The wall lasts up to a minute, or until dismissed by you. Firearms and ranged weapons cannot penetrate the wall. Anyone trying to cross it or caught inside it takes 4d8 piercing damage (dex save for half). You may use this ability a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day.
Level 15
  • Scout: You digitise your entire body, allowing it to be transported through the matrix. You may use your DataJack to connect to any computer and transport your body to any connected system within 500 feet. You may use this ability a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day.
  • Hunter: You upgrade the systems of your firearms, allowing them to penetrate armours more easily. Your firearm attacks counts as one calibre size larger.
  • Controller: You deploy mobile attack drones, to harass your enemies. You may use the spell ‘Conjure Animals’ as if it were cast with a 5th-level slot. The beasts are mechnical in nature, but otherwise use the same stat block. You must finish a long rest before using this ability again.


You might notice the mechanics of the drone companion are very similar to my beast master rework from a while ago.

At level 2 you acquire or build a drone companion. The drone can have any form, so long as it is medium or small sized: it could be a wheeled tank, a walking robotic dog, an insect-like form, or a hovering spheroid. Choose one of the basic forms below, either flying, or non-flying, as applicable.


The drone will always attack any creature who attacks its Rigger or itself, and will follow its Rigger, but will otherwise wait for instruction. It acts on your initiative and you may use your bonus action to give the drone a simple command: attack (specific enemy or group), guard (area or creature), move, pursue, patrol, etc (DM discretion). It will carry out this command to the best of its ability until complete (e.g. the enemy is defeated) or told to stop. You may spend your action to control the drone directly, allowing more complex actions. You may at any point choose to see (and/or hear) through your drone’s sensors, but you are blind (and/or deaf) to your own body while you do so. You must be within 100 feet of your drone to control it or give it commands. As the commands are delivered by neural link, you do not need to speak to deliver the command.

I will call him F1D0.

As a Rigger, you are always tinkering and improving the drone: add your proficiency bonus to the drone’s AC, attack rolls and any skills it has proficiency in. The drone gains additional hit points as you increase in level. In addition the drone has d6 hit dice equal to your Rigger level that may be spent during a short rest as normal (as the drone’s repair routines work).

At level 2, you gain a basic drone. At levels 6, 9, 13 and 17 you may improve your drone. For each improvement, select from the following:

  • Armour plating: your drone gains +2 AC. You may select this improvement multiple times.
  • Multiple redundancies: your drone gains an extra 2hp per level. You may select this improvement multiple times.
  • Repeater turret: your drone may use burst fire for its ranged attacks.
  • Tractor beam: your drone gains proficiency with the Strength(Athletics) skill and may attempt to grapple as its action.
  • Increased sensors – your drone gains expertise with the Wisdom(Perception) skill (add double your proficiency).
  • Improved sensors – your drone gains either 60ft darkvision, keen hearing, or keen sight. You may choose this improvement multiple times, selecting a different choice each time.
  • Silenced actuators: you drone gains proficiency with the Dexterity(Stealth) skill
  • Grenade launcher: your drone may attack with grenades.
  • Targeting system: increase the damage dice of your drone’s attack (d4 → d6 → d8 → d10). You may select this improvement multiple times, increasing the dice size each time.
  • Support system: as an action the drone may deliver medical support to any creature within 5 feet of it. That creature recovers 1d8 hit points. The drone may perform this action a number of times equal to half your Rigger level, per day.

This is first time I’ve tried to create a whole class. By basing it on the Ranger, I’ve hopefully not broken everything too much, but it certainly needs testing and tweaking.

Please let me know what you think!

4 thoughts on “5hadowrun: Rigger class

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