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> Karma Costs, For items not covered
BattleJester
post Aug 18 2007, 04:34 PM
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What do GMs use to keep balance for things not covered in Character Improvement?

What amount of Karma is equal to what amount of nuyen?

How about the cost of Karma for new contacts or a contact that has an improved Connection or Loyalty rating?

I've seen it as 3 karma per 5,000 nuyen and 2 Karma for a point of improvent in Connection or Loyalty for contacts.

I've also seen it as 3 Karma per new bound spirit (though it does have in the rules how to get new spirits, with a cost in nuyen associated with it).

Thoughts and suggestions, even additions to my oversites are very welcomed.
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WeaverMount
post Aug 18 2007, 04:55 PM
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I'm almost positive that nuyen for karma is a house rule so that would be my guess as to why you can't find it.

You are right that bound spirits don't have a karma cost, they just cost materials, drain and time. You might want to look at the rules for ally spirits in street magic, if you want to pay karma for better summons

General question to people, I don't charge my players for new contacts at all. I think that it brings up rather silly situations where they players do something extremely useful for an NPC, in the RP all the characters get a good hit off of each other, but they play just doesn't have the karma to keep them in there rollidex? Silly. How do you guys deal with that?
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knasser
post Aug 18 2007, 05:36 PM
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Once the game starts, players don't have to pay for contacts. In fact, I don't even stat them as such once the game starts. Loyalty, helpfulness, etc. is a factor of how the PCs behave. Just as they can actually lose contacts paid for during character generation by abusing them.

For the rest I agree with WeaverMount. I'd house rule karma at about 4,000 :nuyen: per point. If you think what a mage can do with 50 karma and compare it to what a samurai can do with 200,000 :nuyen: it might be in the right area. It's not something that I massively encourage however, and I would certainly require a justification. E.g. the Samurai, instead of training and improving himself, is teaching target shooting down at the firing range each night. Bit of a can of worms that I mostly sidestep on the whole, though.
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BattleJester
post Aug 18 2007, 06:19 PM
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QUOTE
I'd house rule karma at about 4,000  per point. If you think what a mage can do with 50 karma and compare it to what a samurai can do with 200,000  it might be in the right area. It's not something that I massively encourage however, and I would certainly require a justification. E.g. the Samurai, instead of training and improving himself, is teaching target shooting down at the firing range each night.


This is what I'm talking about. Mages don't have to focus so much on equipment and so can improve stats more readily without much distress, but those relying on gear or who focus on gear, should be able to get it with Karma points in my opinion.

I know that part of it is working with the player to figure out their goals so that they can be played out, but I was just thinking for balancing issues. Where one player may be looking forward to 5 karma to get they neat new spell, another might be hoping for a new piece of cyberwear.

The person with 5 karma knows that they'll get karma as a reward at the end of the session, but they also tend to think that they should get their share of the nuyen as well.

So one ends up with their spell and the other still doesn't have enough nuyen to buy his cyberwear.

I guess karma could be looked at as luck. Finding a cred chip on the ground worth 10,000 :nuyen: , a character's stock in the stock market doing well, scratching off a lottery ticket, etc, etc.

I was just thinking that you could do discount surgeries (nuyen plus karma cost) from a contact that knows somebody that knows somebody...

I just want to create balance and fairness among my players.
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knasser
post Aug 18 2007, 06:33 PM
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QUOTE (BattleJester @ Aug 18 2007, 06:19 PM)
QUOTE
I'd house rule karma at about 4,000  per point. If you think what a mage can do with 50 karma and compare it to what a samurai can do with 200,000  it might be in the right area. It's not something that I massively encourage however, and I would certainly require a justification. E.g. the Samurai, instead of training and improving himself, is teaching target shooting down at the firing range each night.


This is what I'm talking about. Mages don't have to focus so much on equipment and so can improve stats more readily without much distress, but those relying on gear or who focus on gear, should be able to get it with Karma points in my opinion.


Be a little wary with this. There are still plenty of ways that a mage can spend money. Especially if they're a build that makes use of spirits. Whilst most teams will share the cost of spirits used on behalf of the team (at least I expect this to be the general case, it would be interesting to find out I'm wrong), there will be inevitable extra demands for what the mage wants. Binding materials are a lot pricier than bullets. Likewise, it takes a while before the Samurai runs out of things to spend her karma on.

The more interesting case is where people trade money for karma. In this case, you have to be pretty careful, because that one big pay-off could catapult the mage up the initiation ranks further than you'd like. I allow selling karma for cash on specific request, but not buying karma for cash which is very dangerous to game balance.

My advice is to suspend any karma trading for the first couple of games and see how the games goes with the rules as written.

EDIT: Conversely though, I could conceivably allow cash to be spent in exchange for contacts. You can meet a lot of people with the right amount of money spread around. Loyalty rating might be low (unless the player comes up with some neat fluff reasons), but influence could go as high as you could afford.
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hyzmarca
post Aug 18 2007, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE (BattleJester @ Aug 18 2007, 01:19 PM)


This is what I'm talking about.  Mages don't have to focus so much on equipment and so can improve stats more readily without much distress, but those relying on gear or who focus on gear, should be able to get it with Karma points in my opinion.


:rotfl:

If you have a mage who has enough karma to easily get all of the stuff that he wants, then you're paying out way too much karma. Mages are karma sinks. This is not a good thing. This severely limits them. In fact, it is the one huge limit to the unbounded progression of the Magic stat.
And lets not forget quickening, and foci, and anchors, and all of those fun little extra karma sinks.

Mundanes can branch out, improve a variety of skills and stats, and become well-rounded characters. Mages have to focus almost exclusively on magical things or else risk getting left behind.

It is far far easier to improve with money than it is to improve with karma, which is why so many mages to sacrifice essence for some very important and useful pieces of cyberware.

If you have mundane characters who can't afford any upgrades, then you aren't paying them enough. Cyberware isn't cheap, but it isn't expensive, either, it certainly isn't as expensive as initiation. More importantly, equipment comes in boxes. Things that come in boxes can be stolen. Initiation is a metaphysical experience. You can't steal metaphysical experiences.

If a character with very little money wants a piece of cyberware, he can loot it. At the very least, he can cut the cyberware out of his opposition. Cutting useful cyberware out of dead bodies is a very popular pastime for shadowrunners.
You can't cut an initiation out of an enemy's dead body.

There are plenty of opportunities to make money, from organlegging to looting, PCs can potentially make a great deal of money off of even a low-paying run.

If they aren't taking advantage of this, it isn't the fault of game balance. It is the fault of the players. If they buy stuff that could easily be stolen, it isn't the fault of game balance, it is the fault of the players.

Spending precious karma on gear is the worst thing a mundane can do. He should be using it to upgrade skills and to make pacts with Free Spirits.
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BattleJester
post Aug 18 2007, 07:57 PM
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I wasn't trying to say that all a mage wants is karma to increase their abilities. I do realize gear is important to them as well. Well, if you were going to spend money on karma, it would make sense because you could spend it on training, but I hadn't thought about the transaction going that way, thanks for bringing it up.

I do realize that gear is an Obvious, Accessible Focus and that things like Initiation is an Inobvious, Inaccessible Focus, but that isn't my point. Costs vary to compensate for this, I believe.

Ok, let's say that 2 players have characters from different campaigns and then want to play in mine. How do I know if they are equal in power and will feel the same way? I'm very much a math person. So I like to see an equation of equality.

As for the comment about harvesting cyberwear. You have to be a good surgeon to do that without ruining it and you would probably need a facility. It would be second hand goods and I don't think you'd be inobvious carrying around dead bodies or cut-off limbs. The game is gritty enough, that seems to be more like a horror movie than a dark movie. But that's make feeling on that.
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streetangelj
post Aug 18 2007, 08:56 PM
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I doubt you'd need a full-blown facility to get anything that you could use for resale. The way I see it, only the high-grade stuff would require a facility and most of that is user-specific and not valuable used. Some stuff could be pulled with a kit, most with a shop, and a preserve spell will keep the corpse from ruining your van until you get from the scene to the ripper-doc.
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hyzmarca
post Aug 18 2007, 09:05 PM
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There is no equation of equality. There is very little actual balance in costs. It is possible to spend an absurd amount of resources building a totally worthless character and it is possible to build a specialized ass-kicker using the bare minimum of resources.

Also, the effectiveness of a character is going to depend very much on the type of game he is in. James Bond isn't goign to last long in a game designed to challange Thundarr the Barbarian. Likewise, Thundarr won't last long in a game designed for James Bond.

It is more important to look at the characters' dice pools for various activities than it is to look at the costs of the characters.

Removing a piece of cyberware without damaging it only requires a basic knowledge of anatomy. This is butchery, not surgery. The doctor who installs it on its recipient can clean it up.
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knasser
post Aug 18 2007, 09:49 PM
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Out of curiousity, BattleJester, how much karma do you envisage giving out per "Run" and what divisions will you use to distinguish between runs. Some GM's even give out the karma per session, rather than per "run" so it's a question worth asking. If you have a very fast pace of development, then you may well want to house rule a cash for karma option, but if its more reasonable it could probably be avoided.

Hyzmarca is right in saying that no mage will ever have enough karma and also that you can't compare characters based on karma earned or build points. You can use it as a guide if you think both players are spending their points in a fairly power-concious way, but it's really not safe.
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DTFarstar
post Aug 18 2007, 10:16 PM
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Worst case scenario you rip up some of the neural connectors while pulling it out, but it has to be a hell of alot cheaper to replace the connecting wires on that cybereye than it was to make a cybereye(hand, arm, foot, blade... whatever). The main one I would require medical kits and preserve spells for is basic bioware. You can rip the Suprathyroid Gland out of someone, or even just remove the heart for the Synthacardium, but you better know what you are doing or you will likely irrevocably fuck up said organ.



Chris
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WeaverMount
post Aug 18 2007, 10:47 PM
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IMO DTFarstar nailed it.
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Jaid
post Aug 18 2007, 11:38 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
Be a little wary with this. There are still plenty of ways that a mage can spend money. Especially if they're a build that makes use of spirits. Whilst most teams will share the cost of spirits used on behalf of the team (at least I expect this to be the general case, it would be interesting to find out I'm wrong), there will be inevitable extra demands for what the mage wants. Binding materials are a lot pricier than bullets. Likewise, it takes a while before the Samurai runs out of things to spend her karma on.

i dunno... sure, binding is expensive, but i wouldn't say it's any more expensive than upgrading the samurai's ware, or repairing/replacing the rigger's drones. heck, even the face is going to want upgrades (probably of bioware too, which is even more expensive) and even the hacker has stuff he's gonna want to get (if nothing else, probably something to help fill a secondary role).

everyone has expenses that will make them better able to help the team, and if you're going to help the mage out with magic expenses, you should help the sammy out with any gear they may need also.
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BattleJester
post Aug 18 2007, 11:49 PM
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QUOTE
Out of curiousity, BattleJester, how much karma do you envisage giving out per "Run" and what divisions will you use to distinguish between runs. Some GM's even give out the karma per session, rather than per "run" so it's a question worth asking. If you have a very fast pace of development, then you may well want to house rule a cash for karma option, but if its more reasonable it could probably be avoided.


Well, I prefer to give out about 1 or 2 karma per section of the adventure completed, making every piece count. But I run into the problem that karma is easier to explain giving out than money. And it's not always easy to custom tailor an adventure to help everyone achieve their goals.
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