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> Bulk Quantities of Equipment, Can Players affect the market?
stevebugge
post Jul 10 2006, 10:21 PM
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Normally supply isn't to much of an issue in the Shadow Markets. Rare items are already very expensive and have availabiliy ratings to indicate a limited market. Common items are usually readily available in reasonable quantities, but what happens when a player decides to buy a lot of something? If it's being bought through the black market should the price and delivery time go up? How much? If they try to buy through legitimate channels big orders will leave records and may raise flags. I'm curious how people would deal with some of these situations as far as markets and law enforcement inquiries would go:

Runner trying to buy 1000kg of Commercial Explosives.

Runner trying to purchase 144000 Data Chip Blanks.

Runner purchasing 5000 RFID Chips.

Runner Trying to purchase 10,000,000 Rounds of Standard Ammo.


EDIT: In light of this:
QUOTE
For the record, buying 10k rounds of ammunition isn't going to get anyone's hackles up.  You can buy quantities like that on the Internet today with a credit card. :P

My last example has been enlarged

Or work with any other example you've had in a game of runners trying to make bulk purchases.
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Geekkake
post Jul 10 2006, 10:29 PM
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By the time you're ready (and need) to make bulk purchases, you've probably got at least one low-maintenance shell company set up, or have a contact who has such things. This is good for laundering money, buying stuff on credit, etc. You can wring them dry for relatively short amounts of cash, discard them, and start more on another fake SIN.

These shell companies are excellent for throwing off pursuit with questionable purchases. Make the purchase, then, *gasp*! the company folds, leaving behind only a P.O. Box registered to one "I.P. Freely", with a SIN that falls apart like boiled meat.
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Shrike30
post Jul 10 2006, 10:37 PM
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Obviously, a push in the shadow markets that says "I'll buy any C-12 you've got... I don't care how much it costs..." is going to draw attention. Honestly, the shadow market is not really set up to handle bulk illegal purchases through normal channels, and any fixer with half a brain is gonna say "I got a solution to yer problem, but it ain't cheap."

This solution is usually a run. Hire some guys to break into a shipping facility and redirect some cargo, or into a manufacturing plant and change what the autolathes are producing, or into an army base to steal a truck full of equipment. If the runners don't want to do this themselves, they can be their own Johnsons or, more likely, have their fixer set it up for them. This could easily lead to anything from an encounter to an entire campaign arc.

For the record, buying 10k rounds of ammunition isn't going to get anyone's hackles up. You can buy quantities like that on the Internet today with a credit card. :P
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HappyDaze
post Jul 11 2006, 01:27 AM
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Depending upon your Notoriety, trying to buy 1,000 kg of C-12 is likely to get you turned-in to the authorities - by your own contact! Why? No one really likes the idea of a street-level WMD in the hands of a total wildcard (shadowrunner).
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Clyde
post Jul 11 2006, 02:26 AM
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You needn't be using the 10,000 kg for terrorist purposes. The runners could easily have a job supplying a mercenary unit outside normal channels.

I think massive purposes like this do merit a Shadowrun, however. See the novel "The Dogs of War" for a good fictional example of how bulk acquisition may be handled under the radar (in that book: combat boots, camouflage uniforms, rucksacks, 100 Schmeisser machine pistols, bazookas, mortars, some twenty thousand rounds of ammunition and a merchant ship).
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Jaid
post Jul 11 2006, 02:55 AM
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QUOTE (stevebugge)
I'm curious how people would deal with some of these situations as far as markets and law enforcement inquiries would go:

Runner trying to buy 1000kg of Commercial Explosives.

Runner trying to purchase 144000 Data Chip Blanks.

Runner purchasing 5000 RFID Chips.

Runner Trying to purchase 10,000,000 Rounds of Standard Ammo.


EDIT: In light of this:
QUOTE
For the record, buying 10k rounds of ammunition isn't going to get anyone's hackles up.  You can buy quantities like that on the Internet today with a credit card. :P

My last example has been enlarged

Or work with any other example you've had in a game of runners trying to make bulk purchases.

no idea on the explosives.

the data chips you can buy legit using cash by just buying a few at a time.

same thing for RFIDs

ammo you'd probably have to do a run for.

of course, if you really want to represent the limited supply, you can rule that the time needed to find the item is per item... that is, the amount of time it takes to get APDS is per 10 rounds of APDS, and if you want 20 rounds you have to do the whole thing twice...
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Toptomcat
post Jul 11 2006, 03:19 AM
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Commercial explosives are used in quantanties far surpassing that on a daily baisis in the mining industry.
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stevebugge
post Jul 11 2006, 04:16 AM
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QUOTE (Toptomcat)
Commercial explosives are used in quantanties far surpassing that on a daily baisis in the mining industry.

Sure but those are bought with purchase orders showing valid permits, which some, but not many shadow operators might be able to pull off. The questions of how to get the bulk items aren't to difficult. I guess the question I was trying to get to is how do you handle the runner who calls his fixer and goes "Hey can you get me 1,000kg of RDX?, and 10,000 RFID's?"

I think Happydaze is probably right about the high notoriety runner.
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Slump
post Jul 11 2006, 11:15 AM
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QUOTE (Toptomcat @ Jul 10 2006, 10:19 PM)
Commercial explosives are used in quantanties far surpassing that on a daily baisis in the mining industry.

But alot of those commercial explosives are just glorified 'chemical fertilizer and a blasting cap' bombs. They usually don't use honest-to-goodness TNT anymore, and I doubt they are going to use C-4 (or C-19 or whatever shadowrun is up to). I bet it's cost-to-blast ratio isn't good enough. They do tend to be bulky, which is not a shadowrunners best friend.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jul 11 2006, 11:27 AM
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QUOTE (Slump)
But alot of those commercial explosives are just glorified 'chemical fertilizer and a blasting cap' bombs.

Proper ANFO can release more than 0.8x as much pressure per mass as TNT, and is about 0.8x as dense. You don't need to glorify that, that's quite brilliant as is.

According to Wikipedia, 7,400 metric tonnes of explosives are used in North America every day, and of that 80% is ANFO. That leaves 1,480,000kg of other explosives per day. Getting away with 1,000kg of most explosives (and that includes C-4) should not prove difficult for serious organized crime operators. As long as you aren't looking for rare explosives, worst case scenario is that the fixer proposes a very simple run to a construction site, warehouse or plant from which to take it.
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Bira
post Jul 11 2006, 11:32 AM
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Getting that many RFID tags or data chips also shouldn't be too much problem. Either setting up a shell company and purchasing through it, or raiding a single warehouse should get you those things.
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Clyde
post Jul 11 2006, 02:40 PM
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I think the main lesson we can draw from this, however, is that someone has to go through some special effort at looking legitimate to load up on that quantity of illegal gear: setting up shell companies, obtaining fake licenses, etc.

Basically, I'd say that bulk purchases don't much affect the shadow economy because they've got to be special ordered. A smaller (but still large) purchase, however could be different. It's one of the YMMV things - maybe in your campaign somebody buying up 10 Ares Predators will deplete the shadow market for those guns (and raise prices) and in someone else's its 50 Ares Alphas.
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