Ken Kaze

Awakened Investigator

A Character for Shadowrun (tm)
As you read the following page, keep in mind that I also have pages containing definitions of game terms and names of the people and places Ken Kaze knows.

Shadows hold knowledge
Ken Kaze seeks your answers
Secrets are no more

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Ken Kaze (ken 'käd-ze) aka "Ken", "Koz"


Physical Description

Shadowrunning look (mug shot)

A lean man moves gracefully through the turnstile of your security station.  His facial features look asian and from the sincerity you saw in his smile, he looks like a pretty nice guy.  He's short, like all humans, but he walks tall.  Looks like the mighty corporate machine hasn't crushed his will . . . yet.  His clothes are elegant but simple, an apparently unassuming attempt at business casual.  He definitely walks the corporate walk, but he looks a little dressed down for the attitude.

You've worked security long enough to have some idea what is causing the slight bulge under his armored jacket, but he looks like he belongs and he almost looks like a cop.  His visitor's pass looks legit and he certainly isn't here to cause trouble.  Besides, he's pretty good looking, for a human.  If he had a little more meat on him and some tusks, you'd do him.

The closest thing to jewelry he has is a sleek black wristphone that hugs his left arm.  His solid black eyes, barely visible as he glances at you over the rims of his dark sunglasses, are deep and liquid; his gaze is penetrating and cold, but offset by the smile lines around his eyes and the perpetual hint of a grin in his clean shaven face. Well, it was clean shaven recently, at least.  His very short hair has been loosely configured into a style that is sloppy and spiky.  It looks a little reckless, but is obviously a result of grooming, not disregard.  Something in his demeanor hints at a more dangerous person beneath the veneer, a smiling tiger of sorts.

He stops to tend to a scuff on his shoe, drawing your attention to his unassuming black footgear.  His shoes, partially framed by the neatly pleated cuffs of his pants, look like a hybrid between a dress shoe and an aerobic shoe; the kind of footgear one wears when they spend a lot of time on their feet.  Maybe you should get a pair of those . . .

As you look up, you suspect he has done this on purpose and, as you were looking at his shoe, he was examining you.  He smiles in silent acknowledgment as he walks out of sight.  On second thought, even though he is human, you wouldn't kick him out of bed.  As your attention falls from the asian, you notice a rough-looking Dwarf pass, walking away from you as well; he was probably checked by someone else, so you turn to the next person in line.

Normal garb, i.e. corporate detective look (mug shot)

  • slightly more expensive clothing, solidly in the business casual region.  He will intentionally dress like a professional detective
  • solid color silk shirts, typically black, red, white.
  • ties will tend to be silk and in a solid color complementary to his shirt
  • fake, spectacle style glasses
  • scarf of some sort


  • broad silver bracelet on right wrist with various magical runes from various cultures engraved in it, and some turquoise stones set in it
  • an antique silver necklace with a medallion in the form of a yin yang symbol made of white and black onyx.
  • lapel pin

Current Stats

Ken Kaze, Magic Detective

Attributes, Figured Characteristics, & Pools
Combat Pool
Spell Pool
Karma Pool
Good Karma
Edges & Flaws
Astral chameleon: Aura trace fades as if Magic were one lower and people suffer +2 to target when trying to read my aura.
Day job 2 (Detective): mostly boring, run-of-the-mill work right now.  He works out of his wristphone, making house calls for most things.  Consumes about 20 hours per week.
Adept Powers
Impr. Sense: Thermographic Vision
Impr. Reflexes 1 (+2 Rxn, +1d6 Init.)
Magical Power 5
* - Talisman geas (involuntary) - jade & sigils in silver arm brace, and Gesture geas (voluntary)
Lightning Bolt
Impr. Invisibility
Mind Probe
Heal (X)
Active Skills
Corp. Etiquette
Unarmed Combat
Pistols B/R
Knowledge Skills
Magic Background
Seattle Corporations
Police Procedures
Street Culture
Underworld Culture
Language Skills
English (R/W) 4/2
Japanese (R/W) 4/2
Spanish 3/1
Weapons and Equipment
Ares Predator x 2 (int. SL; 1 legit & -1 RC; other street)
Browning Max Power (street, int. smart link)
12 clips & one silencer
EX hvy. pistol rounds: 67
Normal hvy. pistol rounds: 146
Gel hvy. pistol rounds: 150
2 concealable holsters (ankle & shoulder)
Shock Glove
Asp (telescoping metal club, concealability 6/4, (STR)M, cost 500 ¥)
Stun Baton
Grenades: 12 smoke, 13 concussion, 12 flash, 1 off, 1 def
4 kg of commercial plastique with timer detonator
Clothing & Armor
Secure Jacket
Wrist phone with flip-up screen
Firearms kit
Surveillance and Security
Surveillance Measures & Countermeasures
Security Devices
Plasteel Restraints
Survival Gear
Skillsofts and Chips
Autonav chip: Seattle
Datajack (0.2)
Knowsoft Link (0.1)
Image Link (0.2)
Smartlink (pad, rig, processor, PSS, 0.4 Essence)
Biotech Gear
Slap patches: Stim 1 (4), Stim 3 (2), Tranq 11 (2), Antidote 8 (2)
Magical Equipment
Shamanic Lodge, Force 6
Middle Lifestyle
Fine Japanese Tea Ceremony set (2 k¥)
Office gear: Armored Curtains (rating 4, 1 k¥)
Nuyen Remaining (Middle Lifestyle)
9545 ¥
Contacts & Buddy
Buddy: Pete Miller, aka "Rock", is a Physical Adept bouncer at Armageddon.  He is a very large, dangerous looking Troll.  Ken helped him in a serious street skirmish with the Humanis Policlub and befriended him.  Since then, Rock and Pete often have drinks together and talk about magic, philosophy, and any number of topics.  Rock's philosophical side never ceases to amaze Ken.  Pete has some sort of contact with the Shadowrunning culture, and was Ken's initial contact for Shadowrunning.
Contact: Patches, a Sorcerer Street Doc.  He put in all of Ken's cyberware and seemed to do a good job.  He has a clinic near Seattle University.
Contact: Malcolm MacDougal, aka "Mac", is a Hermetic Mage and an old college buddy of Ken's.  Their current relationship is quite casual, confined to occasional shared lunches.  Ken hopes to become better acquainted with Malcolm ultimately, but he has avoided that until the dust settles from his investigation of Howard Walsh.  Mac works as an administrator of a magical
R & D group at Ares.
Contact: Nicole Bennett, a Hermetic Mage and Magical Forensics Researcher.  Ken and Nicole were casual acquaintances and even more casual lovers.  Their relationship was shallow, simple, and served a simple purpose - helping them avoid being distracted from their research by complicated entanglements.  Ken has seen Nicole occasionally for business or lunch.  Sex has become a rarity for them, as Nicole is married now.  The marriage is one of convenience to a very unattractive man though, and the sexual relationship continues on as rare and exciting encounters, almost always outside Seattle.  Ken promises himself he will stop seeing her if he ever finds his "Miss Right."  She has secured tenure at Seattle University, Ken's Alma Mater.
Contact: Miner, an Ork Decker.  Ken found Miner after hiring a number of Deckers to obtain information for his cases.  She worked out the best and was always reliable and honest.  From her manner and some of the comments she makes, Ken is pretty certain she is  former academic.  She has done questionable work for Ken at reasonable prices.


Personal Philosophy

At the start of his shadowrunning career:
  • Corporations: "Corporations are a force to be reckoned with, and it's better to be giving than receiving when dealing with them.  The people that work for them are just like anyone else, but as a whole, corporate entities are selfish to the point of being evil, for want of a better word.  If you want to get something from one, you would be wise to start making friends there first.  Even then, don't let your guard down." After run 2: "Corporations aren't a shadowrunner's friend.  They will probably snuff you out for the bottom line.  Don't let flowing nuyen cloud your judgement."
  • Shadowrunning: "Shadowrunning always sounded like a romantic pursuit.  Now it seems like the natural next step in my life.  Corporations take a lot, and I have no reservations taking some back.  I'd rather not hurt anybody that doesn't deserve it, but I know damn well that a corporate security guard will happily kill me in pursuit of his duties.  I'd rather not kill him for his blind dedication, but I don't plan to die because I refuse to take off my kid gloves."  After run 1: Ken likes Shadowrunning thus far.  The challenges he seeks in investigative work are found in shadowrunning, along with higher stakes and dangerous obstacles.  He likes the intensity of the experience, but appreciates the day-to-day work in between.  At this point, he imagines that continuous shadowrunning would burn him out.
  • Metahumans: Ken could care less what race someone is, although he keeps a wary eye on Trolls he doesn't know for the simple reason that they are damn big and he is not.  If you get the job done and don't shaft him, he could care less if you were a little blue gnome.  He has found it expedient not to openly preach equality for all, but he would probably step in to stop race crime if he had the resources and opportunity.
  • Dislikes/Hates: Ken prefers not to get dirty, but his professional ethics are strong and he rarely thinks twice about in the course of a job.  He does not smoke, and prefers not to dwell in heavy cigarette smoke.  He dislikes killing, but will do it.  Drinking is a social lubricant in his mind; he drinks, but responsibly, as he greatly dislikes being drunk.  He can drink sake when the occasion calls for it, but he has never been able to acquire the taste.
  • Likes/Loves: Ken loves the pursuit.  Investigating mysteries and exposing truths and secrets is very satisfying for him.  He likes to compose haiku when the mood strikes him.  An ideal day of relaxation for him would be reclining in a forest clearing with a thermos of green tea, alternately speaking to nearby spirits or simply staring at the sky and reflecting on his life.  He is a shaman of the Sky Father, so he actually enjoys rain, the more intense the storm, the more jazzed he gets.
  • Goals: Get back in shape; he had really let himself go in university, and the pistol team was not exactly an athletic past time.  Find a magical group; he needed to hone his magical skills and he needed a group of people he could trust to back him if a corporation decided to come after him.  Try to come to grips with his family's recent past.
  • Family: he has lost touch with them, but intends to remedy that . . . some day
  • Yakuza and organized crime: "They are a reality of the streets."  He does not endorse them or despise them.  He also sees little difference between them and a corporation, except that they put up less pretense.  "You have to take people for what they are, just be aware of where their loyalties lie and how strong they are."  He likes the cool, business-like nature of the Yakuza; the subtle, traditional ways of the triad; the swaggering, chummy attitude of the Mafia; and the unpredictable, familial ways of the Seoulpa.  As always, the people he can deal with, the entity as a whole leaves something to be desired.  Ultimately, he'd prefer to maintain friendly relations with them.
  • Cultural Influences: Ken grew up in Seattle, not Japan.  His early childhood was more closed and he was surrounded by Japanese people, their culture, and their language.  Through the course of his life, this influence was diluted progressively.  He speaks both English and Japanese without an accent.  He used to know a little cityspeak, but that was a decade ago, and by now it had been integrated into yuppie catch phrases.  The lingo that filled the hard streets of his adolescence were now nothing more than buzzwords tossed about by cocky stockbrokers trying to sound tough when playing sports in their air conditioned health clubs.  Ken has no great love for any one culture.  He views them all essentially equally.  His previous views of corporate culture have fallen, but he knows now that he had been a little too hopeful.  If there is one culture he still has unusual respect for, it would be Ancient Japan; yet he fears that if he learned more about it, his views would be likewise deflated.
  • Religion: Religion has played a small role in his life.  Having bootstrapped his way up from the streets, he has had little use for traditional, organized religion.  He firmly believes that most religions were simply the twisted dogmatic spawn of the Awakened culture that fell asleep five thousand years ago.  He has always had a greater trust for the more individualistic philosophies, such as buddhism, tao, etc.  He walks his own path with Sky Father, and he believes others should likewise seek their religion within themselves.
  • Affect:  He shares the cynicism of the common man, but rails against giving into it as many do, feeling it to be a capitulation of spirit.  Most people would describe him as affable and upbeat, but not too much so.  Generally people like having him around and talking to him, and he likes dealing with people, especially those willing to have in depth discussions on complex issues.
  • Killing: Ken has killed people and it has bothered him surprisingly little.  He is aware of his relative nonchalance and wonders if it is some genetic legacy of his cold-blooded parents. After run 1: Killed two guards pre-emptively in to escape with team; it did not bother him, and he is unsure if he should be worried about that.
  • Awakened Community: "The Awakened community is a lot more tightly knit than the unawakened community is."  After run 1: A patrolling Mage almost thwarted his mission and got him killed; this was a real slap in the face for him, his first real confrontation with a "fellow" Awakened..  His idyllic view of camaraderie with the Awakened community in general is fading.  Ken realizes that now he was probably a lot more realistic in his perspective, but he still thinks there is hope.  After post-run 2 stuff: "The Awakened community is not really any more tightly knit than the unawakened community is.  Magical groups are the place to find community among the Awakened."
  • Eco-Terrorism: After run 2:  He never really thought about until now.  Probably not a good thing to have people dying to save a tree, but it wouldn't hurt for someone to slap the corporations around a bit to keep them in line and "green".
  • Tribals: After run 2:  Ken feels he needs to get to know them, haven't met any that aren't eco-terrorists yet.  Their mysticism is interesting, and Ken hopes to take a trip into the tribal lands sometime on a journey of discovery.
  • Physical Fitness: After run 2:  Ken has put a higher priority on physical fitness after being knocked out cold by a Tribal Adept with one shot.  "A strong mind in a weak body is like a katana wielded by a glass arm."
  • Magical Groups: After post-run 2 stuff: They do exist.  They seem the best hope for an Awakened person to realize their personal vision of the Awakened world and community.  Anyone that is Awakened should seek out a group that suits them.
  • Professionalism: After run 3: Get the job done.  Avoid unnecesary collateral damage unless that's the job.

Character Progression (karma spending)

Run 1 (Datasteal from DEM)
  • Awarded 7 good karma for mission plus 1 for serious action
  • Karma Pool up to 1.8
  • Spent Karma:
    • Unarmed Combat 2 - 4 karma
    • Intimidation 1 - 1 karma
    • Pistols B/R 1 - 1 karma
    • Clubs 1 - 1 karma
    • Athletics 1 - 1 karma
  • Unspent karma: 0
Run 2 (Courier mission for Vogel)
  • Awarded 6 good karma
  • Karma Pool up to 2.4
  • Spent Karma:
    • Joined The Sixth Guides - 3 karma
  • Unspent karma: 3
Run 3 (Recover and redirect researcher and his research)
  • Awarded 8 good karma for mission (+ 3 unspent)
  • Karma Pool up to 3.2
  • Spent Karma:
    • (3) Increase Athletics to 2 - this relates to a general rediscovery of physical exercise and a continuing concern that he is not in good enough shape for shadowrunning.
    • (3) Meditation 2 - Ken will be studying meditative techniques, starting with the Tea Ceremony he plans to give for his Oath of Initiation into his Magical group, the Sixth Guides (see Ken's Magic for more).
    • (1) Negotiation 1 - he's used a lot of negotiation in role-playing with decent success, he's probably learned something significant by now; there's also the torrent of fast-talk he rained down on Lou in this run.
  • Unspent karma: 4

Ken's Lifestyle

Ken has a "Middle" lifestyle.  He chooses to live in a nicer place in a crappier neighborhood to discourage casual investigation of his personal life.  He lives in a large complex to facilitate getting lost in the crowd.  However, he keeps his office in a more socieconomically neutral location so as to discourage neither the wealthy nor the poor.  Some details:

Neighborhoods (GM e-mail)

The office is in a nicer part of the Central neighborhood (Lone Star rating A) of the Seattle District. This neighborhood is just SE of Downtown, close to Ken's old SeattleU stomping grounds and the hustle and bustle of the heart of Seattle. 

Ken's apartment is in the southern Seattle District neighborhood of Riverton (rating B/C) along the Green River about halfway between SeaTac Airport and Downtown. The neighborhood has a small business area of miscellaneous stores, plus a Festival Foods canning plant and the Emerald Center Mall. Labor and service jobs at the airport also draw
many residents from Riverton. Ken chose the place because it had enough of a low-class gritty feel to dissuade corp types, but is still a far cry from the Barrens. Ken's apartment building, Fiesta Towers, is one of the nicer one's in the neighborhood (although one couldn't tell from the outside pollution and graffiti).

The mafia runs some small time gambling and extortion operations in Riverton. The area has a single gang called The Pack who serve as muscle for the mafia. Their presence is rather low key, content with their current position in life. You get the feeling that most of the gang
grew-up in Riverton and so is at least mildly sympathetic to the families there. There are rumors of another larger gang moving into their territory, but Ken doesn't know any details.

Detective Business - Skoto Investigations, Inc.

Ken uses the professional name "Ken Skoto".  Skoto (actually skotos) is Greek for "shadow" and it's a personal joke that it sounds Japanese as well.  His business cards and business dealings use this professional name as well.  Again, he retains the first name Ken, confident that such a common first name is unlikely to help someone track him.  On the contrary, if someone was looking for his "real name" they might exclude anything with the name Ken.  In the end, it helps insure that he will at least respond to his alias.

Skoto Investigations is a small, single office with an adjoining storeroom and private bathroom with a shower.  The office is not well-appointed, but it's elegant austerity hides whether it is a matter of lacking funds or an aesthetic choice.

His office benefits from various magical protections (see Magical SOPs below).

Nifty gear in his office includes

  • Armored curtains (rating 4)

Magical SOPs

  • When needed (usually bi-weekly) Ken summons a F5 hearth spirit and has it create a F5 Ward around his office, but not visible from the outside of the building.
  • Ken maintains a F5 hearth spirit while in the office on standby (which is defined as waiting in the metaplanes).
  • Upon leaving the office (day and night), Ken orders the hearth spirit to confuse anyone who enters the office except himself.
  • At the end of the day, Ken opens the window and summons a F4 sky spirit. He commands the spirit to confuse any physical (larger than a dog maybe) or astral (any size) entity that comes close to the window (a zone extending 4 meters in the plane of the wall and 1 meter perpendicular).
  • While Ken is in the office, he periodically summons a F3 1 hr watcher and orders it to shout out a warning if any astral entities enter the office.

to be continued . . .

Up on a Soapbox About Magician Adept Initiation

"Magic in the Shadows" has sentence in it that reads: "If a magician adept initiates, she can choose to either gain an extra Power Point or learn a metamagical technique."  This appears to mean that unlike all other Adepts, Magicians, and Aspected Magicians, an MA could not gain a power point and get a metamagical technique.  The GM of the campaign Ken is in has already agreed to this beforehand, but I felt bad about the prospect that I might be unbalancing the game.  So I read over the rules and have come to a conclusion:

A Magician Adept (MA) should be able to advance in initiation grades normally.

One could 'sort of' create a Sorcerer with an MA.  If you pump two points into Astral Perception and four into Magical Power, then you have a Sorcerer with 24 Force Points.  Have you cheated the system?  Obviously not.  However, taking Geasa, you could have Magic 6, 36 force points, and Astral Perception, which would be the same as a Sorcerer, but all of your ability is held hostage to your Geasa.  Because that method requires complete reliance on a Geasa, it's somewhat unfair to consider them equal.  To take advantage of being an Adept, you would have to take the point you would spend on Magical Power and spend it instead on Physical Adept stuff.  Of course, you will need two full power points just to shed your Geasa.  However, there is the ability to Conjure.  How valuable is that?  That's a real wild card.  Spells are clearly useful, but Conjuring depends on a lot of other things.  Of course, MAs

MAs pay the building points (BPs) of a full Magician, five more than an Aspected Magician like a Sorcerer, but they lack the ability of Astral Perception and Astral Projection.  Aspected Magicians lose one Magical Skill and Astral Projection.  Astral Projection as written is a remarkably useful ability that can be a really beneficial wild card for a player to use.  Conjuring can be useful, but it requires money and/or great ability to be really useful.  Regardless, the ability to Conjure is not in itself worth five BPs.

MAs are essentially watered down versions of Aspected Magician with access to both Magical skills.  Their ability to gain Adept abilities is directly balanced by the fact that their Magical Power is bought from the same points.  They pay five extra points to have access to Magical Power, and they are not given Astral Perception (though they can buy it).  Additional development via initiation again is balanced as the points that would make them formidable Magicians are the same points that would buy them Adept abilities.  APe costs 2 points (cf. starting amount of 6) to buy, and without taking Geasa, they can not match the abilities of a starting Aspected Magician.

So, they seem pretty well balanced.  If anything, you might say they have spent a couple of BPs too much.  There is no need to make initiation harder on MAs, and absolutely no rationale.  So, MAs should have the option to take a Power Point and take a metamagical technique.