I can not find anything in the shadowrun books about official licenses. I know why a runner would prefer to have a fake SIN and fake licenses, but if you have an official SIN (with the disadvantage SINner), wouldn't you be able to also have official licenses, like a drivers license or license for flying helicopters?

I can think of a few problems with those already:

  • a corporation would probably quickly revoke all official licenses if you leave (How dare you!) or if you get kicked out
  • It is relatively dangerous as you always have to present your official SIN with these licenses
  • the people who gave you the license can probably just mark them as "no longer in use" or whatever without you even knowing

But still, is there any reason a shadowrunner should be unable to have official licenses when he is a SINner? I know of the possible risks (at least of those I named in the list above), but what would Shadowrun be without risk?


1 Answer 1


There is nothing preventing a runner with the SINner negative quality from earning and associating legitimate licenses with their legitimate SIN.

Core Rulebook, page 419

Licenses and permits can be obtained through legal channels, as long as you’re a solid citizen with a legal SIN—of course, that goes for shadowrunners with fake SINs acquiring fake licenses, too. A fake license is connected to a fake SIN, and if one of them is exposed, the other becomes worthless (see Fake SINs, p. 367).

Core Rulebook, page 367

A basic SIN allows a person to function within the most basic parameters of the law. If a person wants to operate outside these very confining strictures, they need special permission in the form of a license. What actions or items require a license vary widely with the laws of the country, but there are some common similarities shown in the Common Licenses Table below. Acquiring a license (legally) is, again, dependent on the laws of the country. For the most part, acquiring a license involves making an application, paying some sort of fee, a SIN check, and possibly passing one or more certification, testing, or training programs. The exact details of acquiring a license are left up to the gamemaster, but government bureaucracies are notoriously slow and frustrating.

The biggest problem, in addition to those you point out yourself, is that not every act can be made legal with licenses. Only Restricted items can be made legal to possess with a license, and technically according to the Core Rulebook you need a separate license for each individual type of item (which means you need a separate license for your Katana and your Shock Gloves to stay completely within the law). The first time you get caught with that Forbidden Cavalier Arms Crockett EBR or FNP93 Praetor then both your legit SIN and all the licenses associated with it are burned. So it's basically a complete waste of time and effort. But sure, if you want to make the game more difficult, you could do it. If it were me I would restrict myself to Restricted gear despite all the best weapons and armor being Forbidden to make the choice slightly less dangerous, and I would use exclusively Stick-N-Shock ammo for living targets to avoid committing murder whenever possible since sooner or later your illicit activity will catch up to you.

Also, while fake licenses merely need to be purchased, your GM may make you jump through additional hoops to earn legitimate licenses. I'm reminded of the episode of Star Trek: Voyager (S07E22) where Tom Paris is accused by the locals of reckless piloting and is forced to take what amounts to a "safe drivers" course in order to regain his permission to fly within their space.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "If it were me I would restrict myself to Restricted gear..." That's a bit oversimplified. That would mean you would never use items such as sequencers. Burglary is illegal no matter what means you use. Crime will inevitably be part of a runner's career. You shouldn't get caught with Forbidden gear, but not using it at all is not an option for all characters. Also in the barrens or SOX getting caught with forbidden gear may be the least of your worries. "...both your legit SIN and all the licenses associated with it are burned". No, the SIN becomes criminal and licenses may be revoked. \$\endgroup\$
    – fabian
    Jun 10, 2015 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fabian I don't suggest trying to actually use a legit SIN and legit licenses in the first place. If we're talking about a practical character, you're absolutely right. But obviously the OP either wants to make things difficult for himself or has a player in his group that does. As far as I'm concerned, a criminal SIN and revoked licenses (and they WILL be revoked if caught) are worthless. I don't see the point in arguing over semantics. I'll continue to call it burned and the readers can decide for themselves. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2015 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ From a runners point of view it would be banned, yes. It's not that I want to make it hard for myself, I was thinking about licenses like a drivers license or helicopter piloting licenses. I could use these for when I won't do anything illegal, for the every day life: driving or flying to a chummer and stuff like that. When on runs, I would for sure not use those official licenses, and instead use fake ones. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patta
    Jun 11, 2015 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Patta I think you underestimate the degree to which a legit SIN hampers you. In order to get that legit SIN in your character's backstory, you handed over your biometric data, your fingerprints, they took photos for facial recognition, DNA samples, etc. All of that is tied to your legit SIN. If you leave any kind of evidence behind on a run, it won't matter that you were using your fake SIN and fake licenses at the time. Your legit SIN will still tie you to the scene. And as soon as the databases connect the dots, bam all your legit licenses get revoked and you now have a criminal SIN. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2015 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I never said that this would be helpful for a long time, did I? ;) I was thinking about "police" controls and stuff like that, not really about leaving evidence behind at a crime scene, but your point is more than valid. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patta
    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:32

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