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> Availability Rules Exercise, Let's check If we get the idea...
MaxHunter
post Feb 25 2006, 03:33 PM
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Gear availability is not actually limited, provided time does not matter. As the book goes, you could roll and roll forever until you get the thing. My group and myself are using the -number of rolls capped by the skill- houserule and it kinda works.

I still have problems with pricing. I mean: How does the legality index affect cost? (I go "F" meaning "crackdown = +50%" and "R" a 25% increase). Would it be more expensive to get the higher availability items? (by the present rules it does necessarily have to be so if you have ample time...)
Sometimes I roll availability dice and add a 10% markup for each hit.
Also, fixers and middlemen charge a 5%x connection rating fee.

But it does not get any "transparent".

Also, It's mathematically quite unlikely to end up paying 3x or 5x the listed cost, and I do believe some gear should cost as much. (missiles, for example)

I propose a sample activity for you:
A street sam :cyber: , planning a field trip to amazonia is interested on getting a Combat Armor Suit with environmental adaptation and an Ares Alpha Assault Rifle, he goes and talks to his friend fixer, who has a 3 connection rating and rolls 13 dice in the availability test. (5 charisma + 5 negotiation + 3 connection rating) How long does it take him to get the items and how much does the street sam pay?

Does this rationale sound correct for you?
Also, what other complications do you foresee? (besides pricing I mean)

Let's see if you get the same numbers I do...

cheers,

Max
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TinkerGnome
post Feb 25 2006, 03:36 PM
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Mine will be the obvious answer:

For the alpha:
6 days (average of 4 successes per test, 2 days per test)
1,700 :nuyen: base + 15% commission = 1,955 :nuyen:

For the armor:
10 days (average of 4 successes per test, 2 days per test)
8,000 :nuyen: base + 15% commission = 9,200 :nuyen:

I wouldn't throw in cost modifiers unless I had a good in-game reason for it. After all, it just boosts the cost a little.

Assuming you limit rolls to skill, a rating 3 fixers does very well up until about avail 22, when they've only got a 50% chance of finding the item. The best fixers (5 connection) start to get chancy around 22-23 as well.
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hyzmarca
post Feb 25 2006, 04:19 PM
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When does time not matter?
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hobgoblin
post Feb 25 2006, 04:50 PM
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when people only focus on the mechanics of the roll and not the mechanics of the world...
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Brahm
post Feb 25 2006, 04:56 PM
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On a tight schedule for those things you just gotta have, there is an option to get it try get it faster by paying more by adding a percentage per bonus die.
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Brahm
post Feb 25 2006, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 25 2006, 11:50 AM)
when people only focus on the mechanics of the roll and not the mechanics of the world...

Bingo.

EDIT

Though admittedly it appears MaxHunter didn't even fully read the mechanics of Extended Tests. :(
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Shrike30
post Feb 25 2006, 07:37 PM
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If a character doesn't try and rush the process, he's just got some feelers out in the market. He's not trying to get the item quickly at all... he's just trying to get it.

If you need an Ares Alpha *right now*, you're gonna pay through the nose for it. If you need one sometime in the next few months, and you're obviously not in a hurry to get it, the fixers are gonna sell their Alphas to someone who DOES need it *right now* and get around to selling you one when the market is slow.

So yeah... under the RAW, there's nothing you can't get if you're willing to wait long enough. It's the stuff you need quickly that gets entertaining.
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Zen Shooter01
post Feb 26 2006, 12:48 AM
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There's nothing you can't get listed in the BBB. But it doesn't list armored vehicles, mortars, artillery, really powerful explosives, lasers, WMDs...
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Brahm
post Feb 26 2006, 01:48 AM
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QUOTE (Shrike30 @ Feb 25 2006, 02:37 PM)
So yeah... under the RAW, there's nothing you can't get if you're willing to wait long enough.

If you have a high enough Skill+Attribute the chances are relatively low, but Extended Tests can still fail.

EDIT

Incidentally you might want to check out page 301 for the conciquences of Glitches and Critical Glitches.

Glitches: If a character rolls a glitch on an Availability
Test, her inquiries may have attracted some unwanted attention:
Lone Star, a criminal syndicate, rivals or enemies, or
something similar. If the character rolls a critical glitch, she may
have somehow insulted someone important (cutting off that
purchasing contact until amends are made) or may fi nd herself
caught in a black market sting operation.
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Spoonfunk
post Feb 26 2006, 02:28 AM
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The modifiers presented in the book are basicly there to represent how the world that your playing in isnt in stasis around you. While your runner is out there procuring his assualt rifle for his trip to amazona, other runners could be getting caught with a shipment of arms just inside the metro borders by metroplex gaurd(or whatever law enforcment agency).
The piont is that the modifiers in the book(or your own) should be used to reflect this. The market fluctuates as supply and demand go up and down. Yes this seems like a hassle when you have to fork out more cred for that toy you wanted but consider for a moment the roleplaying possibilities that this offers.
Suppose that you purchased that assualt rifle before you headed out to amazonia. You forked out the extra cred cause you needed it and the GM noted under you fixers entry the transaction for a later date.
You return from your run from amazonia a month later to discover that your fixer is dead/imprisoned/in hiding. Apparently whatever law enforcment agency that has been cracking down on arms deals finnally busted your friend pal fixer (did i mention that he is your best friend) and now its up to you to repay the favor.
I know that this example might not be the best but its just an example of how you can take one detriment and turn it into a storyline.

For randomly deciding wether or a modifier may or may not apply whenever there is a transaction to be rolled for I take one die six and change it out with another die of a differant color. If that die rolls a one then i use a negative modifier, if it rolls a six i insert a positive one.
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MaxHunter
post Feb 26 2006, 07:01 AM
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First of all, thank you all very much for your opinions and remarks. I believe we are just getting to the point.

The point is that I do not think the availability rules because I have found that they do not reflect the mechanics of the world as I perceive it.

But perhaps I did not make it crystal clear since the beggining, as some people have started making making false assumptions. I have read the rules and I understand completely well that extended tests can fail (although a little arbitrarily) and that every piece of gear in the list can be bought given time and money. (provided one does not glitch) However, I have seen that the availability rules as they are have a distortion effect in game. This is what I have seen:

A. Street Sam wants a commonplace piece of item. zero sweat, Sam talks to his fixer, pays more or less the listed price and gets it in a couple days. So far so good.

B. Sam now wants something really nasty, Say, availability 15. Considering an Interval of 2 days it will take his fixer 10-15 days to get it. (2.5 successes each roll)

I think there are two possibilities, the runner needs his piece sooner or he doesn't really care.

If he does not care waiting, (and two weeks are not that much - think: SR4 books) he ends up with the goods at listed price. I believe that is not what would happen really. Waiting time nonwithstanding I think most dealers would charge a bigger markup for missile launchers than for stun batons, wouldn't they?
In addition to this, the legality rating of an item does not seem to affect its cost either.

On the other hand, If the runner wants the item right NOW, he needs to pay more, but even paying 250% more, (10 more dice) he would only change the waiting period
to 6 days, still too much.

I have not yet glitched an availability test ever, I like that angle of the ruling, though.

It all feels a little odd to me, what can I say, maybe I am old and I miss the street index.

The example that I posted earlier was intended to show how I go about it in my games and to see whether people agreed or not.

So:

Zenshooter01: Do you imply that what the list contains is what runners could reasonably get and the rest was deliberately left out? That's logical. How do you use the availabilty rating then?

Spoonfunk : I like your ideas. On the use of modifiers, I use them connected with the legality of the item instead of randomly rolling a different die. What do you think about that?

Brahm and Hobgoblin I hope you understand the original idea now. I can add all the color in the world to my game to an endless depth of wholehearted roleplaying, but when there is a rule written, players refer to it and I should too. And we do not like so much the results we are getting. Now, is our collective reasoning flawed? Should we change anything?


Cheers,

Max



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MaxHunter
post Feb 26 2006, 07:04 AM
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BTW. I love SR4. It took me back to gaming. :D
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Brahm
post Feb 26 2006, 10:26 AM
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QUOTE (MaxHunter @ Feb 26 2006, 02:01 AM)
The point is that I do not think the availability rules because I have found that they do not reflect the mechanics of the world as I perceive it.

But perhaps I did not make it crystal clear since the beggining, as some people have started making making false assumptions. I have read the rules and I understand completely well that extended tests can fail (although a little arbitrarily) and that every piece of gear in the list can be bought given time and money.

I might believe you more if you didn't make incorrect or misleading statements about the rules.

Besides the 6th world is the kind of place where pretty much everything is for sale if you have the time and money. If the PCs end up having unlimited amounts of both of those then my attention would be on wondering why that is?

I'm also puzzled by your use of the word arbitrarily since the rules leave leeway to the GM for such things as limit, if any, they want to put on rolls?

QUOTE
B. Sam now wants something really nasty, Say, availability 15. Considering an Interval of 2 days it will take his fixer 10-15 days to get it. (2.5 successes each roll) 


How nasty? Because you could be talking about changing the interval to 1 week. Especially with tight market conditions.


QUOTE
It all feels a little odd to me, what can I say, maybe I am old and I miss the street index. 


I don't, mostly because they have the basics of it on page 303 only set up more generalized and ready for the ebb and flow of different situations and locations. I sure as hell don't miss the SR3 legality matrix. All those alphanumeric codes and two table lookups. That was basically all junk because legality, and especially punishments, changes between jurisdictions.


QUOTE
Brahm and Hobgoblin I hope you understand the original idea now. I can add all the color in the world to my game to an endless depth of wholehearted roleplaying, but when there is a rule written, players refer to it and I should too. And we do not like so much the results we are getting. Now, is our collective reasoning flawed? Should we change anything? 


Availability is handy for character creation saving a lot of GM/player time talking back and forth. But past that it is mostly training wheels.

It is perfectly fine to toss the written rules for these auxilery systems that are ment to help GMs that lack the creativity, don't want to bother with adding depth, or are not yet confident enough to add the depth. Just make sure to be upfront with the players. It is fair play to try avoid dropping this on them later.
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Spoonfunk
post Feb 27 2006, 12:55 AM
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QUOTE
Spoonfunk : I like your ideas. On the use of modifiers, I use them connected with the legality of the item instead of randomly rolling a different die. What do you think about that?


That would be one way to control all those panther assualt cannons from cropping up in game.

One thing that I have done is instead of limiting extended tests to the size of the die pool in rolls i have limited it in the size of the skill(or defaulted att) and it has worked out quite nicely. I found that anyone with a decent die pool would never fail in extended tests especially in availability rolls wich seemed a little to overblown. This way the lower to mid items arent that hard to get while the high rating items you have to either luck out of sling around some serious cred.
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Shrike30
post Feb 27 2006, 10:16 PM
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I figured that "Street Index" was largely rolled into the listed cost of items. Compare the prices of, say, Predators and Manhunters in SR3 with those of Predators and Manhunters in SR4. The Predator's relative cost dropped a lot, right? It *used* to have a street index of 0.5.

As for really huge illegal nasty things, you're going to be paying through the nose for them anyway (because they're expensive), and you're going to be eating a lot of the cost increase multipliers (i have a feeling the government "cracks down" on missile launchers hitting the street a lot more than they do on Kibble).

The RAW works pretty well for me. Not a perfect market simulation, but if I wanted something like that, I'd be a stockbroker or something.
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mdynna
post Feb 27 2006, 10:58 PM
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I think the general problem here is that most of us are used to SR3, which had much more rigid rules. The street index was listed right there with the gear.

The general theme of all of SR4 seems to be "gamemaster's discretion". They've made everything far more open. However, in so doing, they've left us all with little or no baseline.

To me, "Street Index" in SR4 seems to be "whatever the GM wants".
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Thanee
post Feb 27 2006, 11:05 PM
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QUOTE (Shrike30)
I figured that "Street Index" was largely rolled into the listed cost of items.

"Street Index" is basically dynamic and left to the GM (p. 302-303).

Bye
Thanee
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Shrike30
post Feb 28 2006, 12:58 AM
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I'm referring more to the change in prices from SR3 to SR4. Street index went away, but it seems like prices for items which made the change seem to have had street index figured into them somewhat. The current incarnation of street index mostly comes from how badly you want something (driving the price up) and the modifiers for things like the market being dry. As you say, pretty much up to the GM.
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Johnnycache
post Feb 28 2006, 08:59 AM
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Good points, max...but I think there are certain other factors. Specificity for one thing: Getting "An aussault rifle" on the black market should be easier then getting a "Like new FN P90 with a laser sight, extended mags, and a sound suppresor"

There is also how connected his fixer is, and what their relationship is. Remember: The seemingly forgivng black market rules in the book presuppose a good relationship with a blackmarketeer that sells that sort of goods. That means maintaing a good working relationship with a dodgy criminal. Seeing too it that they have enough different contacts to alwasy get their goods and that they keep those contacts happy is a part of the cost of doing business most GMs overlook. If you aren't satisfied with the rules for purchases, you can always propose that the players need to do more upkeep with a a fixer, or that the fixer offers them a job, ie "I can't get a thermite bar, but I know where one is - you break in, take the thermite, get me some other stuff from the warehouse, and we're square." Along these lines, there are too many generic "fixers" in SR campaigns - players trading stolen mcguffins directly for automatic weapons means you've let them have a contact who, lucky for them, is in the mcguffin and weapon markets, and well connected in both.

OR you can hit them with "complications" like they try to buy one thing and get shipped another, or they get paid for a job in BTLs and not credsticks, or the gun-runner wants them to introduce him to one of their contacts instead of charging them cash, but the gun-runner is an ork and the contact is racist - that's how the black market ends up working. That's why the job before the job is a part of every great heist movie.

Then there's signature issues. They get ahold of say, a panther assault cannon or a barret rifle, how many people are going to be using it and how many jobs does being caught with them tie them too? After a while, is their fixer even going to want to risk being known as the guy that sold the .50 bmg apds ammo to the guys that shot the president? The more unique the goods and gizmos used for a job are, the more likely the 'trail of custody' for those goods is to get them in hot water later.

Balancing gear is all about considering the real world ramifications of stuff WITHOUT becoming a crazy jerk about it - simply pricing/availing everything by utility is a good way to break suspension of disbelief and punish your players for thinking, preparing, and planning.

I also like to reward players with self sufficiency skills, IE I am more likely to let a character have something with a lower cost if he is doing part of the assembly/fabrication himself, as in, "All the carbine ak-97s were sold to a breakaway african republic this month? Well, I guess sell me a rifle model and a folding stock (glad I took that armorer skill) and I'll see what I can do in my garage?"

or "Well, he doesn't have any ex ammo, but he can get you the frangelating bullets, the explosive compound, and the re-loading dies"

"Well, there goes my saturday."
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MaxHunter
post Feb 28 2006, 01:16 PM
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Great. Thank you all very much, I am getting more confident now with the whole Availability issue.

I had decided not to fudge with the rules until I had played some time and It has paid out quite well.

At first, the players were a bit worried about not knowing exactly what to expect from the NPCs. I was worried about exercising too much of my unlimited powers and becoming a DICK.

After a while, it's starting to work. We agreed to limit extended rolls to the skill rating. "Crackdown" modifier has been applied mostly to heavy military hardware. Contacts and "palm-greasing" are an important part of rpg time, but that is not a difference with the past. No assault cannons yet.

Talking things over beforehand and developing mitual trust is key. It has always been, but with "opener" Gm ruling, it is more important than ever.

Some interesting roleplaying situations have been coming up as a consequence of the "gearing up" part of some modules. Unfortunately, we now we need more time to finish runs. : (

Cheers,

Max



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hyzmarca
post Feb 28 2006, 02:41 PM
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Of course, there is also the flip side of the realism coin to think about. Your local illegal weapons retailer is probably going to keep some rocket launchers and such is stock to encourage impulse purchases. Why force availabillity rolls when it would be a simple matter for the PCs to drive down to the local crime mall and buy these things off the shelf?
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Brahm
post Feb 28 2006, 02:49 PM
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That is why Availability rolls should instead be made with Logic + Willpower. Logic to navigate yourself around that mall, and Willpower to make it past the Cinnabon without dropping all your cred on that fatty sugar goodness!
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