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> SR Campaign without credits, Anyone playing without cash rewards?
Fuchs
post Nov 28 2005, 05:49 PM
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I recently returned to Dumpshock with the advent of SR4 to brush up on rules and news, and I am curious about how far my campaigns have drifted off from the baselines.

A central point my campaign differs from canon rules is that I don't bother with credit rewards anymore. Runners get paid "enough" for missions to live their chosen lifestyle, and if the players want to acquire some new piece of gear, or upgrade some ware they tell me, and I either prepare an adventure/run for it, or just tell them they get it.

If they want heavy weapons they either do some travelling to the ivory coast, and smuggle the stuff back to Miami, or they rob the stuff from other sources, or get it as a reward for a run.

A new car may lead to a daring heist during a car show, or some meeting with an old race team techie, and get his help in restoring some souped up classic - or seducing some corp bigwig and get a porsche as a gift.

Instead of buying a mage library and formula the mage can gain access to a circle or society, get a job at the local university as an assistant for an eccentric professor prone to dangerous experiments, or raid some corp lab.

Basically, there is no availability roll, no saving up money, no calculating street index tables and target numbers - all depends on the GM. I found it saves me a lot of hassle with getting the runners to agree to a job, and with controlling what gear goes into the campaign without more drastic measures. It also allows me to tailor the reward and upgrades to individual characters, without worrying what the adept may do with the 100K per team member that the samurai needed to get a new piece of 'ware.

Opinions?
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Demon_Bob
post Nov 28 2005, 06:07 PM
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Kinda sounds familiar to the Special Ops campaign.
Players work for a large organization such as a government, mafia, or mega corp.
The organization supplies them with the equipment they need, and sets them up with enough pay for a comfortable lifestyle. Extra Equipment is returned at the end of the run and large scale souvenirs are discouraged.
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Fuchs
post Nov 28 2005, 06:09 PM
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They are working for the mob in Miami, actually.

Edit: It is just that there are no exact credit amounts in the campaign. None at all. Everything is abstract.
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stevebugge
post Nov 28 2005, 06:30 PM
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While it changes the flavor of the game somewhat, I personally see nothing wrong with it. If running this way works for your group and everyone enjoys it that's what's important.
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Aku
post Nov 28 2005, 06:41 PM
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i think it would be a good way to run for newbs. let them choose the basica achetypes and cyber for their character and all of that, but no "gear" per se, and then, for each run, let them pick and choose whateber they wanna take with them.
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blakkie
post Nov 28 2005, 07:08 PM
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Pinko Communist! :grinbig:

So Fuchs, do you still use the price list in the book as a guideline as to how tough it is going to be for them to find the goods/gear? Because going to SR4 will change things around a lot on the cyber/bio front there.

Other than that, sounds like you have something that mades complete sense for a company/made "runner" POV.
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Drac
post Nov 28 2005, 08:48 PM
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Yeah, I had a Gm who hated money too. Bastard.
Shadowrunners are money hungry mercenaries so we's gotta get paid.
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SL James
post Nov 28 2005, 09:50 PM
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So how do they save for the future?
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Fuchs
post Nov 28 2005, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE
So Fuchs, do you still use the price list in the book as a guideline as to how tough it is going to be for them to find the goods/gear?  Because going to SR4 will change things around a lot on the cyber/bio front there.


Only criteria is what the stuff does, and if I can handle it in game. I don't really care about price and availability, so nothing will really change with SR4.

As far as saving up - there is no saving up. If a player wants something he tells me, and we check how best to get it in game, if acceptable - usually we try to get a run or two out of it. It requires a lot of trust, and the players had to get used to the fact that they could not "earn" something, but had to ask the GM for it. Though it also means they don't have to worry about a GM trying to destroy stuff they bought to "restore game balance".
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SL James
post Nov 28 2005, 10:56 PM
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I guess it works. I'm too anal not to want to keep track of finances and have IC reasons to want to keep track of money to the penny (one of my PCs was a CPA in his previous life and recently he's gone back to that life by helping other PCs and NPCs with the economic and money management side of the shadows when visiting a connected counterpart (e.g., a Mob banker) is out of the question), but hey if it floats your boat, more power to you. I like to think that just because they have the money is only the beginning of the fun, because then you can still run them through all sorts of hoops, especially if they aren't connected to someone like my PC and try to walk into a black clinic with a suitcase full of certified credsticks they've collected from a bunch of jobs.

I also like the idea of another PC who had a little program like the protagonist in Cryptonomicon which calculated the status of his "fuck you" money.
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Syd
post Nov 29 2005, 01:40 AM
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From a DM perspective, it's fantastic. You deny anything that may break the game, and there's little recourse for the players. From the player's perspective, I agree with SLJames: I like having the milestones and goals of saving up for gear. In the games I'm involved with, the money has turned out to be a way to get a lot of humor out of sessions. My players come up with 'interesting' means of making more money out of any given situation:
  • arranging for shadowy transport out of Amazonia, then eBay'ing an extra ticket
  • secretly filming runs so that the footage can be sold and turned into a reality TV series
We have a good time, and I make sure that the reward is sensible given the risk and feasibility of the scheme.

I do get tired each time they try to hock off dead bodies. (sigh)
QUOTE
It also allows me to tailor the reward and upgrades to individual characters, without worrying what the adept may do with the 100K per team member that the samurai needed to get a new piece of 'ware.

This is a little tricky. My shaman has managed to spend a lot of money, but there are certainly magic-types out there who have no idea what to spend some dough on. I wonder if the concept of a 'group reward' is worth pursuing.... Give the pay for the run and the karma for completion to the group (keep rewards for good role-playing individual). Let your players decide what a fair cash/karma exchange rate is and divy up the reward as they see it. The adept takes mostly karma and the rigger takes mostly cash.
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FrostyNSO
post Nov 29 2005, 02:01 AM
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Heh, I piddle away at my players cash reserves through pricy contacts and friends-of-friends on the trail of hard to find info. Nobody does anything for free (well nobody without any signifigant attachment to the runners). A little bit here and there...adds up. Group cash rewards work great, but usually the players just split it evenly anyways in my group. Group karma reward on the other hand is bad news.
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Dog
post Nov 29 2005, 04:25 AM
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Sounds fascinating. I'd like to try it. Suggests a really good cooperative atmosphere between the GM and Players.

P.S. See you at the polls.
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Edward
post Nov 29 2005, 02:09 PM
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I wouldn’t like it for a standard runners game, it works if your playing company men or many of the other variant games.

The lack of the ability to save up means you cant earn a item over several runs, it has to be all at once. But more significantly you cant save enough money to meat your retirement criteria (if money is a retirement criteria for your character) or choose to forgo something now so you can have savings to cover lean times (or conversely spend all your money now and have to do something nasty when the lean times come around.)

Edward
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Fuchs
post Nov 29 2005, 02:26 PM
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QUOTE (Edward)
I wouldn’t like it for a standard runners game, it works if your playing company men or many of the other variant games.

The lack of the ability to save up means you cant earn a item over several runs, it has to be all at once. But more significantly you cant save enough money to meat your retirement criteria (if money is a retirement criteria for your character) or choose to forgo something now so you can have savings to cover lean times (or conversely spend all your money now and have to do something nasty when the lean times come around.)

Edward

Instead of "earning" an item over several runs by saving money - and we all read enough threads that detail how to get rid of player characters' cash to prevent them from getting their hands on some powerful gear you don't want them to get - players in my campaign simply state what they want, and then their characters get a chance to get the item if the item is acceptable. This can take several runs as well.

The lack of exact money tallies means that once a player wants a character to retire, he or she can simply declare that the character made enough credits.

I put "earning" into "" since I do not believe any player can get something without at least tacit approval by the GM. If the GM doesn't want your character to wield a panther, then you won't get to wield a panther, or not for longer than the LS SWAT team or similar "item/character control device" needs to destroy it.
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blakkie
post Nov 29 2005, 04:57 PM
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So how do you incorporate the flexibility of cash? For example what happens if a PC starts working towards one big thing, then due to circumstances something else requiring multiple sessions worth of time becomes much more pressing? They have to restart anew, or do you adjust the steps they have to go through in a "time served" way?

EDIT: I don't ever remember having a problem with draining cash reserves to keep the monsterous gear out of a PC's hands? Although SR[3] does have serious issues with allowing enough cash into the game to allow meaningful purchases of cyberware/bioware (likely Deckers too if we actually played them) while keeping other gear sane.
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Fuchs
post Nov 29 2005, 05:46 PM
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Nothing happens - any big thing will require a series of runs to aquire that thing, either by working for someone who offers it as a reward, or by getting a chance to swipe it one way or the other during a run, or by running a mission with the goal of stealing that thing. So once you complete that stuff, you are done. If things come up, I can adjust it, or just continue with "hunt for the red panther" after those have been dealt with.

Basically, I look at most such things from a game/player perspective, not a character perspective. Like "ok, player wants a rocket launcher. Let's do some smuggle trip to Africa, with a side order of smuggling for the mob, and some local troubles, and while the runners are in Sekondi the character can pick up a rocket launcher at the merc store there with the rest of the cargo they will smuggle. Maybe add some complications, like the rocket launcher having been used in an assassination attempt before. All in all maybe 4 sessions, or 1 month. Hmm... the mage mentioned a desire for some focus last week, maybe have him see something - or stumble upon one - on the local market there? Something sought by a number of mage groups?"

In short, what counts are player wishes, and real time/number of sessions, not cash or time flow in game. In that sense, players get to shape the campaign in a way, by stating wishes, which will lead to situations in game getting created.
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blakkie
post Nov 29 2005, 05:53 PM
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I can definately see some benefits. Unfortunately they lose the flexibility of emergency cash reserves. :(

So how do they pay off bribes? With barter? What happens when they come across a suitcase of cash or a certified cred stick? Or has the entire world devolved to a bartering system? If so what's the going rate in chickens for your standard BTL? ;)
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Fuchs
post Nov 29 2005, 06:07 PM
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They pay bribes by stating they want to bribe target X. I may have them roll some social test to check if the characters - not the players - got the amount right, or if they botched it and offered too few.

Which brings me to an important point: The cash rewards are gone from the game for the players, the characters are still very much spending and receiving cash. worrying about gambling debts and so on. A character may still try to get as much creds as possible for a job, f.e., it is just that the GM and the player don't throw around actual numbers.
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blakkie
post Nov 29 2005, 06:18 PM
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QUOTE (Fuchs @ Nov 29 2005, 12:07 PM)
They pay bribes by stating they want to bribe target X. I may have them roll some social test to check if the characters - not the players - got the amount right, or if they botched it and offered too few.

Which brings me to an important point: The cash rewards are gone from the game for the players, the characters are still very much spending and receiving cash. worrying about gambling debts and so on. A character may still try to get as much creds as possible for a job, f.e., it is just that the GM and the player don't throw around actual numbers.

So how do you know if they paid off the gambling debt, or had enough cash for the bribe? You actually do carry a size of the cash reserves in your head, just not a specific number on it? And the PCs have to guess the size when planning if you aren't there to describe the size of the reserves?
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Fuchs
post Nov 29 2005, 06:59 PM
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I do not know this size. As I said, I see it from a game point of view, not from a character's view. The gambling debts are a plot device - the reason for a runner to do runs for the mob. As long as the player wants that plot device the debts will remain. If he wants to change this, it will change. If I want to shake his character down for a run, and put some pressure on the runner I can simply do so.

Same for the bribe - which usually is no problem anyway, and therefore not that essential for the run/fun.

And again - the player characters do not have to guess anything, they know what creds they own - the players do not. Big difference.

I also think we plan runs much differently. Planning a run is not a big part of our game sessions. I usually prepare a run, and think a few ways up to get in. Then the runners can roll appropriate skills, and I tell them possible ways inside.

"Ok... we need to get into this warehouse. I recon the site. Mage does an astral flyby. Decker checks plans at the municipal system. Anything we notice?"

(after dice rolling, if appropriate) "Your character notices that from the way birds land on the roof there seem to be no sensors there that register movement. You may have to deal with pressure sensures though. You also notice that a number of advertising blimps are flying around over the area, so you might possibly use one of those to reach the roof without much trouble.
The decker finds out that there used to be a subway shaft beneath the warehouse, which was sealed off. Entry might be possible using some magically silenced demolition device.
Astrally, the area is rather unprotected, but the building has wards on it. If you want to press through you might consider checking who put the wards on, and create a distraction for that firm.
Finally, there are several trucks coming and going from the same firm, you might be able to infiltrate that firm, or stow away on the trucks through stealth, and get in that way."

Then the players pick the option they prefer. (Site recon may lead to complications and alerts, naturally, and further misadaventures if stealth tests are blown and so on, but that's the gist of planning.)

It is just, how to say, more cooperative than most campaigns I think, from gear aquisition to planning a run.
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blakkie
post Nov 29 2005, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE (Fuchs @ Nov 29 2005, 12:59 PM)
And again - the player characters do not have to guess anything, they know what creds they own - the players do not. Big difference.

I never said the PC didn't know, i assumed they did in an unobserved-tree-falling-in-the-forrest way. But as you are describing it, whether they put a number on it or not, the player decides how much the PC has in cash, their debts, etc. The player in fact knows....unless you change it. Which is where the guessing part comes in.
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Drac
post Nov 29 2005, 08:49 PM
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Sometimes you NEED cash, and fast. A magic item,a bribe,a vehicle,etc... needed immediatley. Such a thing requires substantial savings stashed away.
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Aku
post Nov 29 2005, 08:53 PM
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assuming that the characters are actually keeping what it is that they want (as opposed to a barter/company box, where the players go to a meet with a company boss, and requisistion what they need on a per mission basis) you COULD assume that the character has also kept a % of his net worth aside in a slush fund, that can be dipped into for immediate needs.
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TheNarrator
post Nov 30 2005, 02:16 AM
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For a game where the PCs are part of a SpecOps team or something similar, in the employ of a government or corp, it makes sense. A team of soldiers get gear by asking for it from their bosses, not by buying it out of pocket, and get paid a salary, not per the job. They do the missions out of duty, not for the cash, so it's a non-issue. (Plus, most soldiers couldn't afford the gear they carry on their own dime... it's pricy stuff.) I've thought in the past that a cash-based gear system wouldn't work for a soldier game.

For mercenaries and shadowrunners who work for cash rewards and often have to buy their own stuff, it's a little less appropriate. It makes a lot of sense for them to be thinking about how much money they have and how it affects what they can do and what they're willing to do to get more. But if your campaign runs more smoothly and more fun by not worrying about cash, then more power power to you. It's about having fun, after all.
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