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I have a very simple question about character backgrounds in Shadowrun.

If there's a character who has spent time in prison, is that character effectively required to have a real SIN? i.e., if a player is making his character have a criminal background, is that player effectively forced to take the SINner quality?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

A character who had done jail time would have had a SIN while in jail, but might have lost it in a variety of ways afterward: had a decker wipe it out as a favor, had the database destroyed as a side effect of someone else’s op, had it trashed on release because a vindictive warden didn’t want him to be able to get a legitimate job afterward, got it purged as payment for a past run. If they aren’t a SINner, there should be some story as to why they used to be in the system and no longer are.

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+1 for examples of how to get rid of a SIN without involving the Erased quality. – Trajan Jul 14 '13 at 11:06

It's doable.

Admittedly, the "SINner" negative quality specifies that the 10 BP version of the quality represents having a criminal SIN and a verifiable criminal record; It'd be kind of weird to have a criminal background without having the SIN to prove it.

That being said, the Erased positive quality represents having a friend who actively works to erase any criminal SIN you might acquire on an on-going basis.

It seems reasonable that this could also have been a one-off event in your character's past, allowing you to start the game with a criminal history and no criminal SIN or record.

Also, don't forget the possibility that your character could have had a criminal past but was never caught, or who managed to get off due to having very skilled lawyers.

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Criminal SINs sort of limit a player, but it's not necessary to force a criminal SIN upon them for a criminal background-they may have been using a fake SIN that wasn't discovered that they've since burned to avoid the association, for instance. That said, it's certainly possible to have them removed; the Erased quality explicitly does this ad infinitum, so it's not an impossible feat to get rid of them.

That said, if they were convicted, there's an ID somewhere with their name on it; it just may not relate to them anymore.

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Another possibilty, depending on why your character ended up in jail, is that his fake SIN was tagged as criminal, if it's a very good fake and his crime was a minor one (so the authorities wouldn't bother too much checking all of the SIN's data)

More extreme, change identity : get cyberhand / remove or change fingerprints, get a voice modulator, face altering surgery / find a geneware clinic which will give you ork DNA to alter your whole body, get cyber eyes with a set of different retina... Leave town, friends and family, or fake death, so your real (and criminal) SIN won't link to you. Could go well with the Dark Secret quality, and with a paranoid RP. Would be a perfect reason to join the Shadows and be a runner.

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