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> karma management
fatal2ty
post Oct 29 2007, 10:15 PM
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ok, I've been reading, and re-reading the karma rules and it seems to me that it can be kinda limiting for groups that don't play that often. Charactor progression seems to be much slower than AD&D and the such.

for example, if I ran my players through "On the Run", and at the end of the adventure I distrubuted an average of 6 Karma to each player, that leaves some upgrades or skills completely unattainable, and forces them to choose between a lot of things they could do. I don't have the PCG in front of me so I can't quote specifics, but it seems to me that giving more Karma than the rules say would allow for more enjoyable skillset advancement.

I guess my question then would be, how do the GMs on here handle Karma, do you give more or less that the PCG says, or do you leave it up to other factors.
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Simon May
post Oct 29 2007, 10:18 PM
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Personally, I hand out Karma as I see fit. Screw the rules. If someone comes up with a brilliant idea or wows me, I may give him a few points of extra karma. At the same time, everyone gets a little karma if they show up and play.

Of course, we run a weekly game. If it were monthly or less frequent, I'd probably hand out more karma simply to cover the downtime between missions. During the points where the PCs aren't playing, their characters are still out there studying, improving, and doing minor jobs.
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Jaid
post Oct 30 2007, 12:21 AM
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D&D advancement is ludicrously fast anyways. why would you feel the need to duplicate that?
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fatal2ty
post Oct 30 2007, 12:38 AM
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QUOTE (Jaid)
D&D advancement is ludicrously fast anyways. why would you feel the need to duplicate that?

well, my group for example has a chance to get together about once, maybe twice a month, we have short sessions so playing an adventure may take 3-8 sessions depending on the size of the adventure, if Karma advancement only happens once every 2-4 months, it would be nice if the advancement was substantial enough to get excited about. if we played On the run for 3 sessions, and I gave my team 5 karma each after the run, they would give me blank stares and utter WTF while they looked at the Charactor advancement part of the PCG and realised their 5 Karma would barely change their charactor.

if we played weekly, and played 10 hours/session, then ya, after 1 months they'd feel like 5 karma was enough, but to drag on an adventure for months and give peanuts in return is an insult
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NightRain
post Oct 30 2007, 12:43 AM
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I only play once every month or two with my group, so we give out karma not liberally, but I if undecided, I err on the side of giving the karma rather than not, because otherwise, in /real time/ the character is not developing, even if they are developing fast in /game time/.

I tend to err towards the higher end of the typical amounts listed in SR4, but still in the same ball park
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It trolls!
post Oct 30 2007, 12:43 AM
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I prefer giving players a little too much karma to risking to starve them karma-wise. It's not fun at all when karma is so sparse that you need a year of weekly gaming for your mage to be able to initiate.
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FriendoftheDork
post Oct 30 2007, 02:05 AM
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Fatal, you might want to give out karma after each session, not every adventure. I'd still advice not to allow them to spend it until the adventure is over, or a suitable downtime breaks out.

As for my group, we've been playing several sessions and they've earned themselves almost 70 karma, mostly because of a few really high paying ones. In fact, I may have given too much and now I'm holding back again.

However, if you're players are used to the advancement in D&D (which is often speeded up more than intended), remind them that a 400BP character is already something of a high-level character compared to the game world. Advancent is everything in D&D, but is hardly not necessary in Shadowrun as the starting runners are supposed to be competent enough to do most runs.

That said, the group should not expect to be increase their primary skill after a single run, although they could get enough to buy a new skill or start saving for a stat.
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eidolon
post Oct 30 2007, 02:41 PM
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QUOTE (fatal2ty)
QUOTE (Jaid @ Oct 29 2007, 07:21 PM)
D&D advancement is ludicrously fast anyways. why would you feel the need to duplicate that?

well, my group for example has a chance to get together about once, maybe twice a month

This is the exact issue I'm running into with my current game. I'm running a game over Skype, and so far we have played one session. Our second one is this Saturday, which is three weeks after our first. We're shooting for bimonthly, but with life and schedules it may be more like monthly. For the first session, I awarded normal Karma (I think everyone got 6).

So the issue for me is "how much to give out?" If I try to make up for the slow schedule by giving more Karma, then do I run the risk of the players advancing too quickly for the story? If I give out normal amounts of karma, do I run the risk of the players being unhappy with the pace of advancement?

To me, it also depends on how long we intend on playing. If we want to continue playing using these characters for a long period of time (schedule aside), then it doesn't make as much sense to try and give out lots of Karma to make up for the slow play schedule. If we're only going to play for a few sessions, then I could give out more, stretch out the amount of time in game between "runs", and it would make sense.

Actually, this thread is reminding me to bring this up with them. :)
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deek
post Oct 30 2007, 03:35 PM
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I run a high karma game. We play every other week, and regardless of the adventure, I give each player 10 karma as a base, just for being there. Then I add anywhere from 1-8 (normal karma rewards as written in adventures or BBB) depending on the session.

That is a lot of karma, but everyone is able to advance their characters in what "feels" like a good flow. No one has had a problem with it, and the group is certainly not god-like...
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Eryk the Red
post Oct 30 2007, 04:10 PM
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They key is: 1) Suit your karma awards to the goal of the campaign. If you want the group to be the bad-ass, elite-of-the-elite type, your karma awards should run high. Gritty, realistic games should keep the karma awards small. (Though I do not recommend the awards as written unless you always finish a run in one session. Award the players for every session. It's more fair and better for morale.)

2) Suit your game-world to the karma awards. My campaign has been pretty high-karma (though I have gradually scaled it back, since the mage's fourth initiation is imminent and power-levels started escalating faster than intended). So I always assumed that the character's high karma and high stats didn't make them top of the heap. It's been this easy for them to get this far, so that means there are likely others like them. There are runners who are much more badass than them, as well as weaker ones. The cops can still be very dangerous. My game is fairly high-power, so the world around them is fairly high-power (though not excessively so).

It's not easy to find the right levels (like I said, I had to change my ways, because I didn't like the direction it was going). But it's okay to experiment. If things seem to advance too slowly, toss the players some bonus karma and see if it helps. If it seems to work, stick with that level of karma. That's the best advice I can give.
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Blade
post Oct 30 2007, 04:14 PM
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Just be careful to balance karma and nuyen so that awakened characters don't get too far ahead or behind augmented or heavy equipped characters0
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