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> Down Time in Shadowrun, How is it handled in your games?
jmecha
post Jan 21 2008, 10:51 PM
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The current group I am playing with is confused about how to handle down time in game. The GM doesn't want to fast foreward the game by weeks or months because he does not want the calander changeing faster then the pace of the Shadowrun source books, but the players are wondering how they can take the weeks or sometimes monthes needed to raise skills and skill groups.

So please sound off Dump Shockers about what methods have been used in the Shadowrun games you all run or play in.
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Fortune
post Jan 21 2008, 11:33 PM
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My group usually has as much fun in the 'downtime' periods as they do during the 'runs'. I typically incorporate training and stuff in the background, assuming that they are continually trying to improve something. This way, I don't have to worry too much about 'training times' unless the situation really calls for it. Even in the case of Initiation and the like, a lot of the 'fluff stuff' can be done off-stage, but assumed to coincide with regular activities, unless the individual situation would be too demanding or time-intensive (all at once) to justify this.

The players are there to play, so I try to make things easier for them to get to the parts that they enjoy, instead of wading through a quagmire in order to start having fun.
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BFaolan
post Jan 22 2008, 12:19 AM
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I generally give enough time between sessions for the players to do a certain degree of upgrades (basically, a week between sessions game-time, unless someone has a major time commitment in there)

I also use a newsletter that gets passed out at the start of each session, with the current 'in game' date to help us keep track (as of this Sunday, it will be February 15th, 2070 in our game)
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FriendoftheDork
post Jan 22 2008, 03:41 AM
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Until recently I ignored the rules for time spent learning new skills. There has been downtime, in which case I've just said some time passes and ask what the runners want to do in the meantime - which usually involves getting upgrades, talking to contacts, programming etc.

I think the most they've got is 2 months. As for the time, we haven't kept track of it. I want to use some material now that's set in the spring of 2070 so I just do that. I'll probably start keeping track of time during my Emergence campaign to give the world more fluff, but in the beginning it's not really necessary.
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HellHound
post Jan 22 2008, 04:39 AM
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I routinely have 6 months to 2 years of downtime between sessions in my current campaign. But then again, we are playing an "epic story arc" campaign and not a "slice of life" game. The characters have day jobs and do work "on the side" between game sessions, and then they all gather to do something big that affects the overall storyline as the actual game sessions.
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Karaden
post Jan 22 2008, 07:33 AM
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Wow, that is alot of down time. I'd think the characters would quickly get rusty at properly shadowrunning if they only do it once every two years and are busy working jobs inbetween.

As for downtime, I'd think it partly depends on how much they are getting paid. After all, if each member is only making 5k a run, then they'll need to run twice a month if they want to keep their high lifestyle, then a third time for some spending cash. That means they can't have more then a week or so down time.

You know, I actually just noticed that I've never seen rules spesifying exactly how long it takes to learn/improve skills, any sort of page number you can provide?

Anyway, if you look through the various flavor text and such, it really seems as though there is usually a week or more waiting time between runs, if for no other reason then laying low and letting the heat die. Of course just finding a job can be a problem too, it isn't like there are dozens of jobs for all the runners every day.

Honestly I don't see alot of trouble with there being.. say a month between runs. If you get a bit out of the books (Seriously, 4th just came out, I think it'll be a long long wait for 5th) so what? Just go through the new books when the come out and replace 20XX with 20YY and everything is fine. After all, if you do a month down time that is still 12 runs a year, so unless the next edition is set very soon, and you play through runs like crazy, you don't likely need to worry about it.
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Cardul
post Jan 22 2008, 09:57 AM
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QUOTE (Karaden)
Honestly I don't see alot of trouble with there being.. say a month between runs. If you get a bit out of the books (Seriously, 4th just came out, I think it'll be a long long wait for 5th) so what? Just go through the new books when the come out and replace 20XX with 20YY and everything is fine. After all, if you do a month down time that is still 12 runs a year, so unless the next edition is set very soon, and you play through runs like crazy, you don't likely need to worry about it.

Seriously, where the bloody heck is this "5th Edition" non-sense coming from? It has been mentioned already in various places by TPTB themselves that they are NOT working of 5th Edition, and that 4th Edition still has a long time left to it. 1st edition was out for what, 10 years before they made second edition? Second edition was out for like 10 years before theydid 3rd Edition, which was more Second Edition Revised. So what if 3rd was only like 5 years before 4th..4th was actually a new edition. Also, they seem to go the reverse of battletech, where 2 RL years=1 In Game Year. I would not expect a 4th Edition Revised around 2075, and a bonafide 5th Edition probably around 2080 in the SR time line.
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Fortune
post Jan 22 2008, 10:26 AM
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QUOTE (Cardul)
1st edition was out for what, 10 years before they made second edition? Second edition was out for like 10 years before theydid 3rd Edition, which was more Second Edition Revised. So what if 3rd was only like 5 years before 4th..4th was actually a new edition. Also, they seem to go the reverse of battletech, where 2 RL years=1 In Game Year. I would not expect a 4th Edition Revised around 2075, and a bonafide 5th Edition probably around 2080 in the SR time line.

What? I don't know where you are getting your numbers from.

Shadowrun 1st Edition was released in 1989. (Game year 2050)

Shadowrun 2nd Edition was released in 1992. (Game year 2053)

Shadowrun 3rd Edition was released in 1998. (Game year 2059)

Shadowrun 4th Edition was released in 2005. (Game year 2070 ... note the forward skip of 4 years of game time)

And as for SR3 being basically SR2-revised ... WTF?? There was a much bigger change between SR2 and SR3 than there ever was betwee the first two editions.

QUOTE
Seriously, where the bloody heck is this "5th Edition" non-sense coming from? It has been mentioned already in various places by TPTB themselves that they are NOT working of 5th Edition, and that 4th Edition still has a long time left to it.


As for TRTB, up until the day the SR4 was announced (when writing was basically completed and play-testing was underway), there was a note on the official Shadowrun website claiming that there were no plans for a new edition.

Be that as it may, SR4 has not yet run its course, and I am sure SR5 is a few years off yet.
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Stahlseele
post Jan 22 2008, 10:29 AM
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and there was that aprils fools joke where they mentioned SR5 i think *g*
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Fortune
post Jan 22 2008, 10:34 AM
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QUOTE (Stahlseele)
and there was that aprils fools joke where they mentioned SR5 i think

Shadowrun D20. ;)
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Karaden
post Jan 22 2008, 10:52 AM
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That was kind of the point in my post. SR5th edition is a long way off, so it doesn't seem very prudent to worry about synching up the timeline so that it will hopefully match up with whatever they may come up with for 5th edition.
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Dayhawk
post Jan 22 2008, 12:42 PM
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My group typically spends a month downtime between each run. In which I give them 4 downtime actions (one a week) to spend karma or earn a little extra cash using their professions.
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The Red Menace
post Jan 22 2008, 03:56 PM
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The thing is...just because 5th edition isn't coming out, it doesn't mean the fourth edition books aren't going to forward time lines in the SR world. I agree that you can always just supplement 20XX with 20YY.

John Mecha, it sounds like your GM is a smart individual. I'm sure that handsome devil will come up with something creative and interesting. I'm no psychic, but Dayhawk's idea sounds like a good way to deal with downtime. Expect a similar change possibly coming your way.
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Stahlseele
post Jan 22 2008, 04:00 PM
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let me guess . . his GM? *g*
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Ryu
post Jan 22 2008, 04:20 PM
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We are not talking SR5 before there is a german license for SR. No!
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Earlydawn
post Jan 22 2008, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (Dayhawk)
My group typically spends a month downtime between each run. In which I give them 4 downtime actions (one a week) to spend karma or earn a little extra cash using their professions.

I always wished that the core rulebook had a small "downtime" section that gave some actual rules for what players could do with their specialties in some kind of unified, simplified way.
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Riley37
post Jan 23 2008, 09:02 AM
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One approach: after a run, ask your players when the characters would be looking for another run. If the PC would rather spend a week cracking software or training at the gym, and says "I'm only taking a mission this week if it's really, really lucrative or someone calls in a favor", then give that PC a week of downtime.

In other words: let the players choose the actions of the PCs.

Of course, some adventures choose the character, not vice versa. Perhaps the PC has gone off to their isolated lodge for some downtime task, and gets interrupted by the arrival of Lone Star gunships. At which point the PC *can* insist on finishing their task, but only if they're suicidal.

My group has two characters per player, so if PC Smith takes October as downtime, and the other PCs are calling their fixers looking for work, and Mr. Johnson is hiring in mid-October, then Smith's player can run their alternate character for the October mission. Also, if any PC stops a bullet, then the player has another character ready to go and already known to the other PCs.
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deek
post Jan 23 2008, 02:19 PM
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QUOTE (Karaden)
You know, I actually just noticed that I've never seen rules spesifying exactly how long it takes to learn/improve skills, any sort of page number you can provide?

Its in the Errata:

p. 264 Improving Skills and Skill Groups [4]
Add the following paragraph:
“To learn or improve a skill or skill group, the character
must succeed in an Extended Intuition + skill Test, with a
threshold equal to the new skill rating x 2 and an interval of 1
week (1 month for skill groups). A teacher can add bonus dice
to this test (see Using Instruction, p. 123).?

I have been using this rule for our entire campaign and it works very well. It really balances the karma expenditures in my campaign, as I award a lot of karma each session (at least 10 points for our twice a month game). The only thing lacking has been how much it costs, where to find a trainer, etc. So, I created a house ruling to handle that:

deek's Training Rules

Individual Skill = Intuition + Skill (New Rating x 2, 1 week)
Skill Group = Intuition + Skill (New Rating x 2, 1 month)

A trainer needs to have a 3+ rating in Instruction skill in order to teach a skill. The trainer also needs to have a skill rating equal to or greater than your desired new skill rating. At the end of training, they roll Intuition + Charisma. Every 2 successes gives the player a +1 die to their training test.

[so far, all by RAW]

To find a trainer you roll an availability test (or your contact can). The availability rating of a trainer is Instruction + Skill Rating. The cost of training is 100 nuyen x (Instruction + Skill Rating + New Skill Rating). So, someone with a 3 Instruction, 4 Pistols and you are trying to get your first point in Pistols skill would cost 800 nuyen.

Using the cost, you can look up the Availability Interval on page 303.

[the availability test and interval are my own, but they are in the spirit of RAW]

At this point, you have located the trainer for the skill you want to train. The next step is payment. The player makes a Negotiation + Charisma test and for every success, the cost is decreased 50 nuyen. This adjustment occurs after contacting the trainer.

[again, my own creation, but in the spirit of RAW]

Up to rating 3, the Matrix can be used to get a training program and an Intruction rating for the program is assigned by the GM.

You can train an amount of skills equal to your Logic per week, with a brand new skill
costing 3 points.

[my own creation as well, but it allows players to train multiple skills and not have to take ungodly amounts of downtime. By using this, the players usually tell me what they are training and keep track of it as they are doing regular runs, so they are constantly progressing. But, if they just think of something, they normally only have to wait a couple weeks, so it all works out.]
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paws2sky
post Jan 23 2008, 06:36 PM
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QUOTE (jmecha)
The current group I am playing with is confused about how to handle down time in game. The GM doesn't want to fast foreward the game by weeks or months because he does not want the calander changeing faster then the pace of the Shadowrun source books, but the players are wondering how they can take the weeks or sometimes monthes needed to raise skills and skill groups.

So please sound off Dump Shockers about what methods have been used in the Shadowrun games you all run or play in.

I suggest using whatever makes your story flow best.

Currently, I'm running a "slice of life" style game centered around a Corp War between Renraku and Aztechnology. The players have very little downtime between games.

I think 1 week was the longest so far and that was because one of the players (the Troll Street Shaman, of all things) had sustained some physical wounds in a fight. I wanted to give her a chance to heal before sending them on the next run, especially since this is her first time playing a PnP RPG, much less Shadowrun.

As for raising skills, I'm of the opinion that as long as you're using a skill regularly (including defaulting if you don't have the actual skill) you have the potential to figure out a new trick or whatever. If you use it, you can spend Karma on it. And if you have a skill you're not using much on runs, I let people handle things during downtime. A few hours at the range here, a few hours there. It adds up.

Sure, its probably less realistic, but that doesn't bother me because I prefer a more cinematic game.
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deek
post Jan 23 2008, 07:05 PM
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I have to agree with a few of the other responses...most of our downtime is just as exciting as runs. I think that is mostly due to my players not wanting to stop playing and have their runners sit around for a few weeks.

One time, I have given them up to 12 weeks "off". I had their lifestyles paid up so they didn't have to worry about that and let them do whatever training, karma spending, equipment purchasing, etc that they wanted. They ended up taking a total of 45 minutes real-time and 4.5 weeks off in game, then wanted some more action.

So, it really is up to your players and flow that the GM is comfortable with. One of the thing I like about SR is that you start out with a very solid character (assuming 400BP), so its not always as noticeable in-game unless you start advancing brand new skills.
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Hank
post Jan 24 2008, 01:37 AM
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I usually screw my players with downtime...they often have a big run to do on Monday (game-time) followed by another on Tuesday, etc. So we just ignore upgrade rules; months of real time will translate to days of game time. If we applied the rules for training time (or just followed what made sense), we'd never get to use Karma with me at the helm.

How did my character suddenly go from STR 2 to STR 4 in the course of a couple weeks? Eh, he did push-ups in the van on the way to all the runs.
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Ravor
post Jan 24 2008, 02:11 AM
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QUOTE (Hank)
How did my character suddenly go from STR 2 to STR 4 in the course of a couple weeks? Eh, he did push-ups in the van on the way to all the runs.

Or he was popping 2070 grade steroids. :cyber:
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deek
post Jan 24 2008, 08:48 PM
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That's why I added this:

You can train an amount of skills equal to your Logic per week, with a brand new skill costing 3 points.

to my rule. It allows the runners to do there Monday, Wednesday, Friday runs and still upgrade their skills and attributes. We don't roleplay the 19 hours of the day where they aren't running.

It ends up working fine, even with the boatload of karma I give my players.
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Pendaric
post Jan 24 2008, 11:05 PM
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I generaly work out with my players what they want to do and add a little in game pressure depending on runs. They have done rash things like taking a two run hit two days apart and also lain low for six-seven month after a big collateral hit on a mega. Depending on the time, I ask what they are up to and add in roleplay peices and ajudicate their actions.
My trick is to have a realistic world with which they interact. They all have history, friends, contacts and enemies that they want to interact with. This leads to personal plot interacting with the 'straight' runs.
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Kalvan
post Jan 25 2008, 02:15 AM
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In our campaign, downtime was used to:

1. (by our Magical Characters) Initiate, read up on magical trends, network with other magical characters, do some research/consult with the totem, shop/forage for new magical toys and supplies, perform some magical public services (which in the barrens means dealing with wiz gangs).

2. (By our Street Samurai) Windowshop cyberware, shop for skill/know/tutorsofts, swap war stories/throw the bull at local bars, do minor bouncer or bodyguard work, sometimes go under the knife.

3. (By our Deckers/Comlinkers) Replace blown/obsolete hardware in the case, clean out browser FATs and caches, build new/debug/repair utilities, perform matrix related public services (which in the barrens means break copy protection for people)

4. (By our Riggers) Tune up team vehicles. Repair/upgrade drones. Shop for new drones, Research new control protocols, perform minor public services (which in the barrens means setting up low cost custom security systems.)
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