As someone who has played and enjoyed a significant amount of Shadowrun, the set playbook style of Powered by the Apocalypse and Forged in the Dark games has always felt a little...confining.
In the original version of Karma, character creation was almost completely free-flowing. The game came with sample archetypes, but you could ignore them almost completely. This turned out to be a little too chaotic once people started mixing and maxing abilities however they wanted. It also create some paralysis/indecision during the character creation process.
In v2.0 when I switched to a more faithful adoption of core Forged in the Dark mechanics, I also moved back towards set playbooks.
The release of v3.0 was my attempt at a middle ground: set playbooks to start, but you could choose your second discipline from any three playbooks (i.e. all disciplines within your soul).
As I've been talking to a number of players and GMing more Forged in the Dark games (Karma and others) I found myself telling people repeatedly, "Nah, you can make your own Xp trigger...pick any starting action dots...basically, just pick a soul and playbook with the equipment and first discipline you want."
I've led players through creating their own xp triggers often enough (and shrugged off the need to have 3 action dots set by the playbook), that I figured it's time to make it official.
By the end of the week, I will be releasing a revision of v4.0 character creation.
In this new system you will pick your soul, pick your starting discipline, and gain the associated playbook equipment. Each playbook gives you a list of xp triggers to mix and match as you want (or roll randomly). It will also come with 6 build templates with suggested actions dots and special abilities, but you will have complete freedom to pick your actions dots.
This version feels the closest to a happy medium between complete control and structure.
Examples for the Shadow and Drifter are below.
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