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GrinderTheTroll
post Jun 6 2006, 07:49 PM
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Hi all,

What I'm planning on doing is all player characters have a common Fixer contact that they use to aquire jobs. This always some sort of incidental relationship to pre-exist without needing some flimsy backstory. The Fixer would be the groups main source of job offers, offer additional team members if needed (PC & NPC types) and allow my players to draw from a pool of character they've had a hand in creating.

I figured that since we have other players who are GM-ing as well, we could just pool all the PC and draw from the pool our own main PCs or select the GM PC to use for a run. We discussed that PC used in this way, that is GM PCs used for team members, that they'd accumulate cash, but not Karma or a reduced amount.

The idea is to keep all the characters running active and productive instead of being atrophied 20-30 Karma before their own gets a chance to run with them.

Anyone else do something like this?

Your comments are welcome!

Thanks,

~GTT
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stevebugge
post Jun 6 2006, 08:37 PM
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Personally I have had some very bad experiences with a GM controlling their own character both because of GM hijinks and because the GM is unable to stay focused on keeping the game and story moving. It will depend on your group's members. Some people can run a game and play a character in it without the game becoming all about their character, others can't.

As for the common fixer, that works fairly well in my experience. On top of that in a runner community most of the fixers could be reasonably expected to know a fair number of their peers, so if there are 2-3 fixers in the group the possibility of their pooling resources to get a team together for a client is reasonable (your GM may have to get creative as to just why they had to pool resources, but it shouldn't be to much of a stretch). The only time this can be a problem is if you have a real ham in your group who needs 15 minutes to introduce their character to the rest of the team while the other players sit around and roll their eyes and plan the death of the new addition.
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Kagetenshi
post Jun 6 2006, 08:51 PM
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It's one way to do it. I'm not a big fan of the method (though I was once), but that's just personal preference.

~J
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GrinderTheTroll
post Jun 6 2006, 09:08 PM
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QUOTE (stevebugge)
Personally I have had some very bad experiences with a GM controlling their own character both because of GM hijinks and because the GM is unable to stay focused on keeping the game and story moving. It will depend on your group's members. Some people can run a game and play a character in it without the game becoming all about their character, others can't.

I was thinking more of the GM using their PC as an NPC (when needed) rather than playing them as a PC. I don't like to GM and roleplay my own stuff but sometimes it's nice to bring along 2 Hackers instead of 1, or maybe lean on other types when needed.

One of the other goals was to allow players to create more than one PC to allow them to experience SR from different angles but only use one of their own created PC's at a time. The GM would be the exception most of the time.
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stevebugge
post Jun 6 2006, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE (GrinderTheTroll)
QUOTE (stevebugge @ Jun 6 2006, 01:37 PM)
Personally I have had some very bad experiences with a GM controlling their own character both because of GM hijinks and because the GM is unable to stay focused on keeping the game and story moving.  It will depend on your group's members.  Some people can run a game and play a character in it without the game becoming all about their character, others can't.

I was thinking more of the GM using their PC as an NPC (when needed) rather than playing them as a PC. I don't like to GM and roleplay my own stuff but sometimes it's nice to bring along 2 Hackers instead of 1, or maybe lean on other types when needed.

One of the other goals was to allow players to create more than one PC to allow them to experience SR from different angles but only use one of their own created PC's at a time. The GM would be the exception most of the time.

That was actually what was originally envisioned when we tried our experiment with the GM character NPC. What it turned in to (some of the time depended on the person) was a game session where the GM NPC was the focal point of the game either as the adventure revolved around their skills, contacts, or personal goals. Eventually it went to far and the GM actually gave Karma to their NPC in one game and we said no more. As a result of this experiment is that some characters have other PC's as contacts, which hasn't been as much a problem as the use has been very limited, sometimes selling a piece of gear or providing advice or a service (like hacking) from a remote location, but never actually coming along on the run. This hasn't had the tendency towards abuse that the GM PC as NPC experiment did. AGain though our problems may be unique to some of the personalities in my play group, it may work just fine with yours. I would just advise that everyone have a clear idea of just what the line between PC as NPC and a GM PC is and agree on it before you give it a try.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 6 2006, 10:10 PM
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Personally I just have new characters turn up with minimal storyline patching and justification. Honestly I mentally visualize it as someone walking up to a Ninja Turtles arcade machine and dropping in a quarter and having their character suddenly appear flashing in order to join in with the people already playing.

I don't bother to give new characters karma boosts or anything like that. Starting characters are powerful enough and personally I sometimes make underpowered characters for a bigger challenge. Beefy high karma characters are also really powerful and hard to kill. I don't think the game benefits from a power level inflation.
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Kurb
post Jun 6 2006, 11:03 PM
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This is a toss up to me. I GM with the same group of players, who change their characters as often as their socks. So for me, it is always needed to yank out one of my characters as NPC support. But I roleplay them as the "quiet" type, so that my players can focus on their on character development. Not have a story revovling around my character.

Now when I run as a character (an entirely different group) most of my GM's require a common contact during creation so that it's easier for them to group everyone together without wasting an hour discussing the freak chances of nature they would all wind up at the same spot when needed. And if we are short on support in one area, they exploit it!
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PH3NOmenon
post Jun 6 2006, 11:28 PM
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My players tend to get one character, and stick with it. Sure, there's the occasional death, but they don't exactly keep spare or alternate characters lying around. As such i try to set up a reasonable excuse for them to run together and keep running together.

this is working well for the current characters, (face, decker and covert-ops). I ran them through a few solo runs first, the last of the solo runs coming out of the same fixer for all of them. This last 'testrun' involved them running against eachother. The face had to seduce some unknown low level corp sec (that turned out to be the decker's longtime girlfriend), the decker had to go steal a car and return it to its original position (that turned out to be the face's home-on-wheels, which the player had meticulously documented in advance) and the covert op got to do some shadowing assignments of two seemingly random people (which, of course turned out to be the other two PCs) to get some incriminating evidence on them.

A few weeks after these runs, the fixer called them all up to meet, and showed them the footage the co-ops PC had made. A whole lot of surprised faces, a whole lot of shouting and a whole lot of hilarity ensues.

After they'd been introduced to one another, a nice love-hate realationship bloomed between them. Each of them can't stand eachother for what they did, but they also know they're good at what they do, thus they run together instead of picking up 'randoms' that always bring some level of risk with them. Unless ofcourse a fixer or someone they trust vouches for said random, which leaves the door open for walk-on neccesary NPCs to join in (mostly mages, since the group is magic-lite) and new players to jump right in too.


It's a bit of extra work, but as a GM you can set things up so the Characters will refuse to run with anyone besides their chummers.
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eidolon
post Jun 7 2006, 01:30 AM
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We tend to use one of two methods. They've both been described.
1: *poink*<<the_new_decker>> "Hey guys, so what's our next run all about?"

&

2: *ring,ring*<<PC_SAM>>"Hello?" <<new_PC_mage>>"Bob the fixer said you guys were in need of some magical support." <<PC_SAM>>"Well as a matter of fact!"

It gets more in depth on occasion, but usually its not nearly as important why the character is there as it is that he/she is there.
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FanGirl
post Jun 7 2006, 05:54 AM
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When (if) I get to GM a session during our current campaign, I plan on removing my PC from the picture as much as possible. The other PCs will get a message from her at the beginning that says, "Hey, guys, I'm going to 'TrixComicCon! Four days of meeting all my favorite Matrix comic artists...I'm so excited! Unfortunately, it's all the way over in Portland, which means that I won't be able to get together with you guys this weekend. Good luck anyway! Bye." If they try to contact her during the Con, they'll have about thirty seconds in which to speak with her before she's gottagobyenow--if they manage to reach her at all. It seems a little unfair to send my character on a Super-Fun Vacation while the others are toiling away, but it's the only way to be certain that I won't use my meta-game knowledge to turn her into Psychic Mary Sue. Just my 0.02 nuyen.
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eidolon
post Jun 7 2006, 06:03 AM
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Is that because you honestly, personally feel that you wouldn't be able to run your character as an NPC, or because you've been programmed into thinking that it's impossible and a VERY BAD THING?

When you play her as a PC, you have knowledge that she lacks, do you not? Do you have a hard time keeping this out of the game? If the answer is no, then what makes you so sure that you're unable to do this mental separation while running her as an NPC (if that is the case)?
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FanGirl
post Jun 7 2006, 06:31 AM
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Well, I suppose that it's more to protect myself from the charge of meta-gaming than anything else. No matter how hard I would try not to use OOC knowledge, I'd still do little things that might strike one of the players as pushing the limits. He'd accuse me, I'd react snippily, he'd defend his position, tensions would rise, and things might be said that can't be taken back. I know that such a falling-out is unlikely, but I'd really rather err on the side of caution.

Besides, if I really wanted to create a scenario that involved my character in even a semi-meaningful way, I'd write a short story about her. In a GMing session, I want as much focus on the PCs as possible, and I feel that the best way to accomplish that would be to move my character to the periphery so that the others will have more room in the spotlight.
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Tiralee
post Jun 7 2006, 09:58 AM
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My group have figured out something very, very important.
I expect when they go off and improve themselves, or try and hunt down that elusive piece of killer app, it takes TIME.

Case in point - Troll Minotaur Archer Adept, bucketload of karma, pile of credits and a desire for a ranged skill of 9.
-Not a problem I say.
"Uh, and, uh, can I be prettier?"
-Sure, knock yourself out.
"<Drooooooool>"
After a good 2 hours of him working out just what new-and-improved character he was expecting to play next week, I asked him how long all of the self-improvement took.
(I wish I had the forethought to bring a camera)

I HAVE EXPLAINED to my players that these things take time. Lots of it. But some are a little too used to "that other system". So what did he do? I mean, even after he removed half of the new stuff, he still rolled crap and it's taken him 6 months to improve his charisma by one point (4->5)

Simple - He used "Kronk". (The Walking Wall)

Most of my regular players have a "backup" on the upgrade cycle. I'm allowed to farm these out (Kronk being a case in point) in case we need a backup or courier or meatshield (Kronk again.)

As GM, I do run a character (Often she's the only reason they live, hurrah for backup) but I'm experienced enough to keep what that character does seperate from what I (the GM) am planning to ruin their day with.

Never yet been accused of metagaming - my long-time player and partner is irritated when she doesn't get some of the player interaction she craves, but I do fill it all on in, eventually.
I may be planning 5 different possible outcomes to various types of player stupidity and not be able to deliver what she wants now, now, now, now, NOW! But after asking her to GM a session (lasted 5 minutes, tops) she's a lot more patient.

Summary: Multiple characters, at least 2 per player, some kept in the "pool" in case of sudden called, staged head-shot.

-Tir
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GrinderTheTroll
post Jun 7 2006, 07:40 PM
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QUOTE (Tiralee)
Summary: Multiple characters, at least 2 per player, some kept in the "pool" in case of sudden called, staged head-shot.

:rotfl:
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Kyoto Kid
post Jun 7 2006, 08:54 PM
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Common Fixer.

We do this a routinely in our group. It makes not only integrating new (or alternate) characters in easier but serves somewhat as a focus for the team as well

GM PCs as NPCs.

Personally I tend to avoid this with PCs I am currently playing. First off, I don't really care to risk one of my favourites being killed off "accidentally" when there's no Karma or financial gain at stake for them.

On the other hand, I frequently develop retired PCs into NPCs. The best (and longest running) example was the wiz-kid demolitionist and virtuoso Leela Groznek, who was the "star" of the Rhapsody in Shadow campaign arc I recently ran. In supporting roles I brought in three other retirees, the stunningly beautiful and inquisitive reporter Lana Lane, the dashing adventure minded archeologist, Margo Grande, and drone rigger-pilot extraoadinare' "Dynamo" Josie LeSarre. Both Lana and Margo already had contact with Leela while they were still PCs so it was pretty natural to continue this relationship after they became NPCs.

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Sahandrian
post Jun 7 2006, 09:31 PM
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I actually run my PCs alongside the team when I GM fairly often.

The biggest was when the cat shaman was hired for a run she thought would be a major undertaking worthy of having a lot of backup, so she called in whoever she could, and three of my characters (each one was run under a different GM in older campaigns, while she always ran her shaman) owed her favors...

But usually, it's just one of mine providing either plot or filling in missing team abilities. My decker has run overwatch (no need to bother with rolls, just tell them what they need to know), my shaman has provided magical support, and my mercenary has been the only real combat-oriented character at times. But I manage to keep them out of the way.

When Sahandrian is doing the overwatch decking, there's really no need for him to be with the team. Devin is great magical support, but he's a bit crazy and tends to run off on his own when nobody's looking. And I make sure to only have him drop in when needed, since he gained some vampire powers at the end of an old (and extremely long) storyline, so he's very overpowered compared to a starting character. And finally, Fireball (the merc) tends to hang back and provide support like supressive fire, or heads of to "handle a personal objective" or something, dropping in again in the middle of a battle.
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