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> Karma Levels, Your character has how much karma?!?
Karma Levels
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Sphynx
post Oct 20 2003, 08:01 AM
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After a thread where it was implied that most characters rarely exceed 50 karma before retiring or dying, then receiving characters in the excess of 500 karma when I started another thread asking for characters to put into my storyline, I just have to ask everyone to please let us know what their characters (or the average of their player's characters) karma is set at. Please. Feel free to post exact karma numbers unless you prefer your poll vote to be anonymous. ;)

Sphynx
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mfb
post Oct 20 2003, 09:01 AM
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my main char is just at 200--i can look and see where it all went, because i keep meticulous records for him, but it sure as hell doesn't feel like 200 karma, most days. my other chars are generally under 50 karma, because i haven't played them enough, though i do have one or two that i dumped karma into just for fun--generally around 100, just to see what i could come up with. some of 'em are pretty scary.
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Stonecougar
post Oct 20 2003, 10:18 AM
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I've got 3 PCs I revolve around, all of them floating at roughly 250 karma... one rigger (the best in the world in our campaign) one cyberzombie decker, and one ghoul adept. Each has their own truly vile stats, and their own little holes they tend to fall into.
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Rock-Steady
post Oct 20 2003, 10:57 AM
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My human Mage hit 156 Karma yesterday and my Ork Streetsam has 190 Karma.

I got a question myself?

Why do the most of you retire your chars after/at 50 Karma?
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Synner
post Oct 20 2003, 10:59 AM
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I assumed the replies here (if the poll is meant to be a baseline comparison) are strictly regarding characters that have actually earned their karma in play and that were made within the standard Chargen rules (and not house rules or GM "game balancing" handouts). Otherwise there's pretty much no basis for comparison. You either establish a baseline (ie. like strictly Chargen character with an average 8-9 runs) or there's really no point.

I know at least one power-gaming GM who always starts a campaign by handing out 200 karma so the players can build up their characters to his level of play and since they face everything from dragons to IEs to hordes of Shedim on a regular basis all his players have characters in the 300-350 karma bracket after 8-9 runs.

Comparatively, my players use out-of-the-book characters and after 8-9 runs average in at about 60-65 karma.

Rock-Steady - It all comes down to why the hell your character is running the shadows in the first place. Unlike what Sphynx suggested elsewhere most people are not in the Shadows to be the best there is at what they do. There are actually a very limited number of plausible reasons to actually run the shadows for an extended amount of time without:
a) retiring completely
b) retiring as a fixer (less hazardous)
c) selling out and going company man
d) buying a condo in the Carib League and living off the interest.

In game terms it also has a lot to do with how rough your GM plays. I see a lot of Street Sams retire after a few runs. They get shot bad once, their wired reflexes get damaged and they either can't afford new ones (I pay in the 10k-15k bracket for most runs, and really dangerous stuff only goes as high as 50k p/team member), the players think they've lost their edge and drop the character. Same happens with riggers and deckers having their toys blown up or shot up. Mages have the same problem when they lose that Power Foci or Ally spirit. Adepts on the other hand tend to get by pretty easily compared to other character types in the long run since they're more self-reliant.
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Stonecougar
post Oct 20 2003, 11:02 AM
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Mine have been played up from being 0-karma babies...
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NeO_ZeN
post Oct 20 2003, 12:33 PM
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My character of the moment has averaged around 6-8 karma per gaming session....and around 90 runs under his belt he's pretty, well, unstoppable....

Me : 'That'd be 17 successes..'
GM : ' Major guru ultimate enemy gets 11..'
Me : 'Bring on the deadly damage!'
GM : '(Yawn) Another one bites the dust.'
Me : ' When you said immortal, didn't you mean, physically challenged?'

;)
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mfb
post Oct 20 2003, 12:59 PM
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hard to judge mine by those standards--he's only ever been played on shadowland. it's been more than two and a half years, though; he's been in thirteen seperate runs (jeez, feels like more). he's also bought a relatively large amount of karma--i went a little overboard, but it's not like i had much else to do with the money. on sl, because things take so long, we also give one or two karma for good rp encounters--random interaction in a coffee shop, taking class, etc.

i have, however, built him up from 0 karma. ...sorta. when i first played him, i was going to be with a group of more experienced runners. the GM at the time gave me 30 karma, so i wouldn't be left behind; in the time since, i've paid that karma back.
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krishcane
post Oct 20 2003, 02:18 PM
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The top players in our campaign are around 250 to 350 karma. There are a large number of second-stringers that only get played occasionally in the 50 to 100 karma range. I've never seen a PC with 500 karma earned -- it seems like they'd be off controlling the world somewhere.

1000?!? I'm really curious what THAT character looks like.

Some of my players actually run out of things they wanted to do after about 200 karma. They start taking random "eh, why not?" skills, and then around 250 total karma, those skills are getting toward 6, and they usually say, "Okay, this PC is finished... they're purposeless now."

--K
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 20 2003, 02:22 PM
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I've yet to manage to get into a game that has lasted long enough for me to hit the 20-karma mark, and when I GM (the overwhelming majority of the time) I tend to award a base of about 4 karma for a run gone well, plus individual awards, for an average of 5-7 karma/run for each character. I don't tend to give very easy runs, so it takes a fair amount of time to build up to the levels mentioned.
Of course, then there's the player I have who is convinced that each new character he makes is worthless, and so retires them after one run...
Now, admittedly one of those times said character had managed to botch a run in perhaps the worst way imaginable (I still need to send that run in to CLUE)...

~J
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TinkerGnome
post Oct 20 2003, 02:31 PM
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QUOTE (Rock-Steady)
Why do the most of you retire your chars after/at 50 Karma?

The big ones for me are character death or the GM dropping the game or having to drop out myself. On average my characters tend to see three to five runs, (10-20 karma) with one of the above happening at about that time.
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Grey
post Oct 20 2003, 04:33 PM
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The most karma I've ever earned for a character is around 90, not quite 100. Besides him, every other character has been under 50 (though more like 20-25).
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BitBasher
post Oct 20 2003, 04:40 PM
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From a GM point of view, most games stop before 60 karma, unless we really like a game and all the players can get into a character. In that case The games usually end about 350 karma over a few years. I think the system tends to break down around there.
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Shockwave_IIc
post Oct 20 2003, 04:41 PM
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I voted less than 750 for my now retired character, though his actual Karma is unknow and lost in the years past, All i know he's over 680 (due to being an ork and Bad karma flaw)
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Raiko
post Oct 20 2003, 05:02 PM
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I've just restarted my long-running (12+ years) campaign. There were two new players so I checked the total karma for all the old characters in order for the new players to create balanced PC's. Everybody had between 300 and 400 karma.

I don't think the system really breaks down too badly at this level though, provided characters don't specialize too much. Out of the six characters in the group only one skill (a sami's pistol skill) is into double figures, and it's still only 10. Most of the characters have 1 or 2 skills at 8 and a handful of 5 & 6's.

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CanvasBack
post Oct 20 2003, 05:06 PM
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The most amount of karma a character of mine has earned is 69 karma, and then the campaign ended. But I think the main reason why many of us don't make it beyond 50 before creating a new character is that even if your character is a bad-ass, SR is hard to survive. It's pretty much why Shadowrunners run in teams. Even though most pros want to avoid direct confrontation whenever possible, there is the occassional goof-up and even a few times when extreme ultra-violence is requested by the Johnson. Surviving those situations is made possible by team play. Or put another way 5 characters that have earned 30 karma have a better chance of succeeding or escaping during most shadowruns than a single 150 karma character. Casualties happen, but the incoming fire is more spread out. In one game I was in, two other people had to be operated on at the end of the run, one lost an arm and had his wired reflexes damaged, the other lost an eye, a point of body, and two points of magic/power points and it seemed like at the time both were essentially un-playable from that point forward. It really sucked for those players, particularly since they were new. But honestly, this should be a little more common and would explain many groups high rate of turnover.
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Talia Invierno
post Oct 20 2003, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE
Why do the most of you retire your chars after/at 50 Karma?
- Rock-Steady

It might also have something to do with sharply specialised PCs. After all, if all your karma is being pumped into a single skill or two (and it already started out at 6 or 7): what's left to challenge that PC within the area of specialisation? (And as a specialist: challenges outside that area are left for other members of the team, otherwise specialised, to meet.)

Sphynx: I can't answer your poll. My PCs start out per book rules, my current lowest active PC has barely cleared the first 50 karma, and my currently highest active PC is running well over that 1000 karma mark (all derived in-play, all notated, average somewhere between 3-5 karma per session). Others range somewhere in between.
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Seville
post Oct 20 2003, 06:22 PM
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I've only ever really played one character for more than a few sessions, and he was the first character I had that survived more than a few runs. I understand what some people are saying about retiring characters to soon to get into the "prime runner" category, as that's what always happens to the other characters I play: they lose their motivation to run, or they get killed.

That said, my long running character (three big guesses as to his name) is an adept with 338 total karma, started about six years ago, and played in approximately 100 sessions, so I don't feel too bad. We played in most of the "big" adventures, like Super Tuesday, Harlequinn's Back, and a few Renraku Arcology runs. Anyway, he's kind of powerful at what he does, but really, the advantage of all that karma is that he has dozens of skills: I really diversified. His reason for not retiring is that he's a crusader of sorts although I won't bore you all with the details.

One change that can be made as a character gets more experienced is that he or she can pursue more active goals: Seville has a wide network of contacts and informants that help him uncover information relating to magical threats, and he'll devise runs that he can approach interested parties, as opposed to wait for Mr. Johnson to call. I'm not talking about hobnobbing with Dunkelzahn or Ehran (although he did meet Harlequinn as part of Harlequinn's Back), but operating about one or two notches below the movers and shakers of the world, just good enough to exert a little influence on people who's opinion actually matter.

For example, one of his "watchers" (a contact developed to give a steady stream of information on a certain subject) forwarded him some info on a transportation of great interest to the Draco Foundation. The Azzies were transporting a strange and ancient artifact (the exact nature was never discovered in character, but we think it was several petrified scales of a great dragon). These scales had been stolen from the Draco Foundation, but they were never able to recover them (maybe Ryan Mercury was having his teeth cleaned that weekend). We recovered the scales after a very difficult run, and Seville presented them rather non-chalantly to the VP, Nadja Daviar, at a book-signing for her memories (we couldn't find a public appearance of Aina). Now, we don't chum around with the former pals of the great gold wyrm, the head of a very important organization knows us by face and reputation, and views us in a slightly charitible light, and we did manage to make a small difference in the six world.

That campaign was a great time, we played characters of enough importance to be noted (and sometimes squashed like a bug) but never descended into the pure cheese of IE hunting or dragon wrestling. So high karma doesn't mean munchkin, or unrealistic, it just means high karma. In my opinion, the metaplot shouldn't be so overwhelming that you never even get to see it.
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Lucyfersam
post Oct 20 2003, 07:58 PM
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I think the highest karma I've ever had a character reach is around 110 before I retired him. In our group we have a mandatory retirement at 200 karma for game balance, as it becomes more and more absurd to put things that challenge very high karma parties, without having them directly facing off against IEs and GDs, which I really don't like to do.

Lucy
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Sahandrian
post Oct 20 2003, 08:04 PM
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Malkav, my shaman, has 8. He's currently the highest. Sahandrian had about 15 in a previous campaign, but I dropped that for a new game.

So, under 50 for me.
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RedmondLarry
post Oct 20 2003, 08:16 PM
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I've been in three different campaigns that ran for about 2 years. After 100 gaming sessions (8 to 10 hours each) the surviving characters were each at about 300 to 350 earned Karma and it became more difficult to maintain the challenge / thrill / satisfaction.
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Reaver
post Oct 20 2003, 08:29 PM
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I've got one in semi-retirement that just broke over the 1,000 mark (and he's been played since 1st ed.). Of course, in our games, karma pool is seriously slowed after the 100 mark to preserve some game balance. Most of the current ones are around 250 or so.
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spotlite
post Oct 26 2003, 12:29 PM
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Most of ours are now at the 90-120 mark. our karma awards are way higher than the book recommends, because if you apply all the possible karma awards to each player (drama, roleplaying, threat averaging about 2, success, comedy, right skill - admittedly rarer, driving the story forward, and then the ones for the objectives, as per the printed adventures, i tend to find that the players get around 10 karma per run.

e.g.

Roleplaying - its very rare for people not to get 1 in our games. Often one or two of them get 2 if they are exceptional. Generally its just 1 point though., so - current total 1 GK
Drama - its a poor shadowrun if there isn't some drama at our table, and there's always at least one character gets this. We won't count it as an average though, and I'll include right skill right time in this assessment. total still 1 GK
Threat - usually at least two, which is awarded regardless of what the players did - its the potential threat remember. If they circumvented the fights through cunning then they still dealt with the threat. So total now 3GK, higher if it was especially dangerous.
Success - 1 point. They don't often screw it up to the point where its all hosed.
Comedy - easily 1 or two points awarded here. I tend to award them on the spot though, and then write whatever it is in the quote book, but its still total karma earned, so we'll average it out at 1 point so the total now stands at 4GK
Driving the story forward - yup. Usually one or two people per game get this one, regardless of who's playing. Its not the same two people each time either! Average it out at 1 point so the total is now 5GK
Surprising strategy - If I award it, its not usually to the individual, but the team, since its invariably a team effort. I award it on the spot to people who do something surprising off their own bat in a given situation, but I won't count that here. Total now 6GK
Objective awards (e.g. Mr Johnson didn't get geeked, you didn't get discovered etc) - usually only 1 point as they already have a point for success, but sometimes more depending on which objectives I've written up before hand. total now 7GK

Then you start adding individual awards as described above, and that can go up by another three or four points on top of the basline 7GK (based on averages, so no its not a set figure they automatically get).

Result? For a general run, the players will get from as low as about 6 or 7GK up to a max of about 11, 12 exceptionally. Average is around 10 per character, per run. We've been running one campaign a year or so, and the other three years.

Interestingly, the two groups are about equal for karma awards, because of differences in how the teams work, though I won't bore you with the details here. Suffice to say, one gets karma more frequently that the other because of the campaign style.

It really isn't that high. Characters spend karma on all sorts of things and if they are good roleplayers they'll realise that a skill of 6 is still an expert of the highest caliber and concentrate on learning new skills up to a reasonable level rather than putting specific skills up to stupid levels. Mages especially so. A 120 karma mage just won't be that advanced in skills and attributes compared to the other characters. They may have a large spell list and a couple of levels of initiation, maybe a foci or two, but no real character advancement. i m very expansive o, anyway!
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spotlite
post Oct 26 2003, 12:32 PM
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I'm just checking - we're not talking about how big the karma POOL is, are we? If we are then HOLY CRAP!!! In that case, yeah, most characters in my games would retire at about 50 karma pool or in the case of mages initiate grade 10 (at which point they become NPCs. No arguing! There are good reasons for this limit on mages in our campaigns but given the amount of space I've taken up already I'll not go into them).

That 50 karma pool would not include any which had been spent permanently. its more to do with the sheer number of re-rolls available to a character with that level of karma. The grade 10 refers specifically to the grade and not the magic rating, either.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 26 2003, 05:42 PM
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Spotlite, I know you mean Good Karma, but every time you say GK I keep thinking Gigakarma, and think "Holy SH—, what kind of game is he playing???"

~J
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