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> Renegotiating Payment After the Job?
FlakJacket
post Apr 22 2008, 04:01 AM
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So this came up in a debate I was having with a friend a little while back where we ended up on different sides of the issue. Suppose a team of runners are hired to break into a building and steal a data file. The Johnson is straight with them, the job checks out just like he said, the security levels/opposition they have to go up against are generally at the level he said they would be and he pays them a reasonable fee for the run. Everything goes to plan and they make it in and out of the building collecting the data file with minimum fuss and no real expenditure. Now before they meet back up with the Johnson the decker - yes decker, so sue me (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) - decides to have a poke around the data and through some fluke manages to break the encryption on it and find out what it's about. The runners find out that if the Johnson and his corporation receive the information they'll be able to make somewhere in the region of a hundred million nuyen in profit somehow.

So what do the runners do and what do people think is 'acceptable', yes I know how amusing that term is when used in regards to people that commit crimes for money, behaviour for so called professional runners? My stance was that the team were paid to transfer the data from point A to point B irregardless of what it actually was and since the Johnson hadn't tried to screw them it'd be wrong to now try and blackmail him into paying more. My friend though basically argued that for what it was worth the team had been massively underpaid and should hold out for an additional five to ten percent finders fee/administrative charge of what it was actually worth to the corporation. So where do you lot weigh in on this?
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Adarael
post Apr 22 2008, 04:12 AM
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Is it wrong? Morally? No, not really. Or at least not anywhere near as immoral as taking it in the first place, plus whatever other incidental activities (casual brutality, poss. murder) along the way.

Is it wise? Probably not. You can have the most valuable item in the world, but unless you have a way to profit from it it means squat. It also means squat if you can't hold onto that wealth. If they dick the Johnson on this, the J will probably know as soon as they try to sell it, and may try to get it via force. It may also be that they'll just get blackballed from the Js in that area for pulling a stunt like that. Who wants to hire a crew that ups the stakes later?

Generally I'd say it's an unwise decision, career-wise. At least if everything is as you say it is. Without extenuating circumstances, there's no justification for it. It's just greed.

And nature abhors greedy runners who step out of line.
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Cthulhudreams
post Apr 22 2008, 04:20 AM
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Even if the johnson can make lots of money, he's the only one in a position to exploit the infomation, unless you can take it to the competition and see it for millions more.

So while the insights on the desk are worth 'lots' to a johnson, if they are worth 'nothing' to everyone else, you have no choice by to sell to the johnson at his price. If they are worth 'lots' to others, I'd suggest onselling if it's particular valuable.

Remember though that there will be significant reputational risks if you try and upsell your services.
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kzt
post Apr 22 2008, 04:28 AM
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Runners are always underpaid. You have to accept that whatever you are doing it's worth a lot of money or something to someone, a lot more than you are being paid. If they wanted to pay $25 million for that prototype they would have done the R&D themselves instead of hiring someone to steal it for them. It's like how fences only pay a fraction of what the electronics you stole are worth. If they paid you 20K for a days dishonest labor that isn't too bad.

I'd have no problem with the runners making use of the info to gain a big advantage themselves. like by shorting or going long on a stock in a big way using margins, etc. But if I was the Johnson I'd pay up if they try to extort, then pay the fixer to have them set up on another job that has them steal something else from somewhere, that something with the extra feature of an anti-handing fuzes and 50 Kgs of C-12. Or, when they call him with the renegotiated deal, just make arrangements with another runner team to show up and whack them at the meet, with the Johnson present only via tri phantasm. After all, it's worth millions, and they can ruin it all, so why not spend a few hundred k to hire professionals to fix this issue?
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masterofm
post Apr 22 2008, 04:29 AM
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Delay in bringing him back the info. Invest in whatever would make the Johnson those hundred of millions of (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) . Then give him the file and try to make as much money as you possibly can. Generally a Johnson always says "Never look at the package or what you are retrieving." If you do look and tell them to their face they might try to kill you, or just not pay you. Either way he is going to try and get that data one way or another.

In the end though it really is a mixed court. Maybe the Johnson will negotiate depending on how desperate for the info. On the other hand if you really shaft him he might just try to hire someone to kill you out of principle. In the end it's always up to the GM to determine how a Johnson will react to this info. Also what corp he works for will also probably have an effect on his behavior.

*edit* damn it... well... basically what kzt said is the side of the line that I would stand on (considering how much that data is worth.) *edit*
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Adarael
post Apr 22 2008, 04:37 AM
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Now THAT is how you play the game.
Invest and bet on the outcomes of your own ops. If the op gets blown hard enough to matter, you'll probably be dead anyway!
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Cthulhudreams
post Apr 22 2008, 04:38 AM
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The real question is, why didn't the johnson pay more in the first place? If I can make 10 million nuyen, cutting the runners in for, say, 400k isn't exactly onerous if it makes sucess that much more certain.
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masterofm
post Apr 22 2008, 04:40 AM
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Why pay the team more? He basically gave them the entire rundown of how to get in and out with the data? If it's entering a zero point facility and the Johnson doesn't know anything about it then yes you pay more. Otherwise why bother? If you drop 20k what makes the runners so sure that they are going to be getting millions and millions worth of pay data?
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Method
post Apr 22 2008, 04:45 AM
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More likely that the corp will make the multi-millions. The J has a budget and his bonus comes from getting the job done as cheaply as possible.
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CanRay
post Apr 22 2008, 04:46 AM
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QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Apr 21 2008, 11:38 PM) *
The real question is, why didn't the johnson pay more in the first place? If I can make 10 million nuyen, cutting the runners in for, say, 400k isn't exactly onerous if it makes sucess that much more certain.

Ah, but the Johnson ISN'T making Eleventy-Billion (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) . His CORPORATION is.

"So, the budget for this is 100K (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) . Pay team of Runners 35K (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) , state on the financials that it was really 40K (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) , come in under budget, get job done, have money for myself for JoyToys. Now, it's time for a three martini lunch after a hard day of planning."
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Cthulhudreams
post Apr 22 2008, 04:54 AM
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Yeah, but for a payment of 10 million in cash, you're going to be willing to stump 1 million dollars for the suitcase with 10 million in cash in it. So the guy in the corporation that authorizes the black Amex cards is going to say 'okay a million dollars with 0% upfront for 10 million dollars in cash is a no brainer'

it's not hard to make the business case for that one guys. The only thing between you and 10 million nuyen is the team that extracts the briefcase. Paying x20 times as much to reduce the risk of failure from say, 25% to 15% is definitely worth it.

Paying 400k leaves you with a gross margin of 96% and a net margin in the order of 94% which is extraordinary profits.

If there is an execution risk in implementing the savings well, then you pay much less.
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Earlydawn
post Apr 22 2008, 05:04 AM
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From a GM perspective, it's fine.. just ensure that they face the appropriate challenges to reinforce it as a decision to be made carefully. In terms of in-plot, renegotiating after the job falls into two categories.. reasonable, ("We had to use missile launchers, dude. You just said it was a nursery!"), and suicidal. (Holding the NERPS hostage post-run. Stealing part of the NERPS. See Case, Neuromancer.) React accordingly.
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Jaid
post Apr 22 2008, 05:16 AM
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well, first off... if Mr. J has all this info, the run isn't necessarily costing him only the runner's fees. obviously mr. J has invested some time and effort into legwork (or at least, the corp he represents has done so).

but either way, it doesn't matter how much the data is worth; that only decides whether or not it's worth hiring a team or not. if the data is easy to get, you shouldn't be paying a lot for it, simply because competition will drive the price down. your team wants 400k nuyen because it's worth that much the corp. well, guess what? team B is willing to do it for 390k nuyen, and so on and so forth, until you come to a small scale team that will do it for 40k nuyen and just be happy they actually have a job rather than Mr. J using a corporate team (sure, you're payed a little more for being deniable, but do you think the corp would be paying a corporate team anywhere near 400k nuyen for an easy run? heck no. if they were going to be forced to pay that much for it from runners, you can bet they'd spend 300k making their own resources more deniable, pay their own resources maybe 10-15k, and keep both the remaining 85k plus have a team of semi-deniable assets of their own still handy for future runs at a reduced price.

of course, the real question is: why does the target corp have such valuable information at a poorly secured site? because really, we're not talking about a world where corporate espionage is rare. the target corp should be taking every reasonable measure and a number of not-so-reasonable measure to protect their millions of dollars worth of data, and even a small (compared to the value of the data) security budget can very quickly make a run go from cakewalk to challenging. after all, if you had something worth 10 million bucks (and you had a very realistic chance of getting 10 million bucks for it) i bet you'd be willing to spend a 'mere' 300 grand on a security budget. that wouldn't get you any tanks or anything, but you could certainly afford to hire a couple security guards, install a CCTV system, put in some security checkpoints requiring that you swipe a card through a reader, etc. it just seems unreasonable to ask about "hey, what if the run is a cakewalk but is worth 10 million nuyen" when the nature of the sixth world is that runs where the target is worth that much money won't be a cakewalk...
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Method
post Apr 22 2008, 05:35 AM
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Also, if you're stealing a case full of cash than its a no brainer for the corp to pay more- intrinsic value = guaranteed predictable return.

But things are seldom that simple. There is risk involved for the corp. The data might have a high *potential* value but there is no guarantee the crop will see it. What if their intel was wrong? What if the runners snag the wrong data? What if the original corp can still capitalize on it before the hiring corp? What if its incomplete? What if the hiring corp lacks the technology / personnel / facilities / etc to use the data?

Thus you can also argue that it makes good business sense to differ some of the risk to the runners. If there isn't a guaranteed return you pay the runners less.
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Cthulhudreams
post Apr 22 2008, 05:36 AM
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thats why my net margin estimates include another 200k to have done the legwork (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Stahlseele
post Apr 22 2008, 09:11 AM
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depends . . if the run ws much harder than i was told i will roll 30 dice in negotiation . . because i have 30 bullets in my clip that want to go where my anger is . . if the run was as described i won't demand more money, 'cause i accepted the run as described to me for the offered ammount of monetary gains . . and of course there's allways doing more than you're paid for . . if you just happen to drop some hints at another corp pulling your stunt off and tell the johnson about some troubles that a certain corporation might be expecting in the near future he may very well be willing to pay you a little bit extra neh? O.o
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Velocity219e
post Apr 22 2008, 11:07 AM
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QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Apr 22 2008, 05:38 AM) *
The real question is, why didn't the johnson pay more in the first place? If I can make 10 million nuyen, cutting the runners in for, say, 400k isn't exactly onerous if it makes sucess that much more certain.



Here are all the schematics you need, shift patterns patrol routes and personnel profiles of everyone that is on site, go in get the thing from the unsecured thing and hand it to me.

I'll pay you a, 400,000 bucks

or b, the standard rate.

one rings alarm bells the other is standard business practice.

Masterofm personally gets my good runner plan award (and probably extra karma the first time for being a smarmy bastard) buying up shares in a corp that is almost certainly going to take a massive hike in value after releasing a fabulous new technology is basically them paying you your 'bonus' without them realising, and you can make your bonus as big as you like effectively, it happens every day.
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ornot
post Apr 22 2008, 11:36 AM
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Renegotiating is unprofessional, and would garner the runners notoriety.

And frankly, as has been stated, Mr J could probably arrange for someone else to kill the runners when they turn up for their payday for less than the runners are asking for (assuming it's 400k (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) or so).

That being said, in SR people do double cross one another, if the stakes are high enough. If the runners can sell the paydata on to someone else for enough, there's nothing to stop them going to ground with the money and waiting for the fuss to die down (is the payout more than the several months worth of runs that you'll miss while lying low?) IT certainly isn't easy or risk free though.
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Siege
post Apr 22 2008, 11:44 AM
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Other questions -

1. Is this a personal run for Mr. Johnson? Does he or she actually know what the package is? Or were they commissioned by someone else to broker the job for an unknown package, unknown specifics beyond functional mission parameters?

It depends on the fixer who set up the job and the relationship with him/her -
a. Operational costs higher than anticipated due to poor information/communication (this is a tougher one to justify: most teams do their own legwork to supplement or verify the background data given them)
b. Deliberate deception or betrayal

My crew was not above trading services for payment rendered - barter patch time at a "neutral" streetdoc, for which the fixer trades medical supplies...trading weapons and ammo to compensate for resources expended on a run and so on.

-Siege
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Shiloh
post Apr 22 2008, 12:44 PM
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QUOTE (Velocity219e @ Apr 22 2008, 12:07 PM) *
...buying up shares in a corp that is almost certainly going to take a massive hike in value after releasing a fabulous new technology is basically them paying you your 'bonus' without them realising, and you can make your bonus as big as you like effectively, it happens every day.


And short-selling the shares of their competitors gets money from *both* sides of the fence. Runners get so much information that they should all have a stockbroker... It's not like they're worried about SEC investigations on "insider trading" is it? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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CanRay
post Apr 22 2008, 12:47 PM
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You got to know the well-informed Johnsons are doing that very thing!

Mine certainly is!
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Phantastik
post Apr 22 2008, 02:23 PM
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It's an ironic feature of criminal "society" that honor or "your word" is weighted more heavily than in the "legitimate" world, because there's no recourse to law or the courts to right a wrong.

So while breaking one's word tend to result in a bad reputation or the like in the "legit" world, it tends to get you dead in the underworld.

In this case, at best the team is getting Notoriety - that's why the Notoriety mechanic exists. This will make it hard for them to get any kind of sensitive work in the future, harder to negotiate for equipment or services ("those are the guys who ripped so-and-so!") and, maybe more importantly, hard to get anyone to help them if they are being hunted (does the street doc really want to mess with these guys?) Also bear in mind they might lose any contacts who are connected to/loyal to/friendly with that Johnson... that's how notoriety works, you learn REALLY FAST who your real friends are!

If we're talking 10s of millions less profit for the Johnson, I see no reason why he wouldn't engage a prime runner team to eliminate the betrayers and recover the goods - ideally a team he has a long history with. It's certainly worth it to pay them a million nuyen for a day's wetwork to recover a hundred million (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

...

Ini short, it is NOT COOL to rip your Johnson. I can see it as an opportunistic move before relocating to another city (actually that could be a cool campaign development, ripping off someone powerful in, say, Denver and then have a few harrowing game sessions playing "stay alive and escape" before making to to Hong Kong or wherever... of course they burn their contacts and have to start over with those. Still...)
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nezumi
post Apr 22 2008, 02:48 PM
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The Johnson paid the party appropriately. At least in my neighborhood, we pay people based on the work they do, not based on how much we have in the bank. Anyway, if they paid more it would have alerted the runners that either a) they're carrying a suitcase full of cash or b) they're about to get double crossed. The Johnson can pay a bonus after the fact if he wants (or offer that when they're preparing for the second meet or whatever). But I don't pay the janitor $100,000 just because the clients who bring me income have a pretty pisser to use, nor do I pay runners $400k for doing a job worth only $20k in work and experience. If I need insurance against the runners, it comes from other venues.

In regards to the decision tree at hand...

You basically have to remember that renegotiating will result in a loss of future income, both because Johnsons are less willing to hire you, your rep takes a hit, you're seen as less professional, etc. It's difficult to quantify this, but ultimately that's what you're aiming to do. Will the GM apply penalties to future dealings? How much do you think it will be? How long do characters generally survive? If I were GM, I might say that the hit to their rep causes them not to get a job next month - a hit to the group of about $400k (although it's really less because the players only play out game-time, their actual costs would be the cost of their lifestyles, so much less than $400k - the wasted time has 0 value beyond that.) Maybe instead I decide they're going to go from the $400k/run level to the $300k/run level for a run or two (or maybe longer). That's a clear cost as well. Or maybe I'll decide Johnsons just won't trust them as much and the odds of getting double crossed, carrying bombs, etc. goes up (that's very difficult to quantify, and depends on how comfortable the group is with ferrying bombs around). Maybe I'll stick them with the Bad Rep flaw (that's easier to quantify - determine approximately how much that'll decrease income from the Face's negotiations, plus the difficulty of dealing with contacts while on runs). Or maybe I won't do anything at all because I'm a lazy GM. The point is, YOU need to determine this number and give it an approximate value, based on IC and, if you want, OOC knowledge. Let's say that value is $300k for the group (which is probably a little high, but let's run with it).

Next you're looking at the value of the item you have. If there is only one prospective buyer, you need to determine at what level he'll buy the item with cash, rather than reinvest the money in another team or security measures to kill you. This is sort of a 'the price is right' game except, when you guess wrong, they shoot you. Both for security reasons and for the basic fact that this does infact deflate the value, this means we'll need to reduce the price a bit below what is the actual 'guessed' maximum. Since it costs about $300k to hire a Shadowrunner group, it's fairly easy to see in this case, renegotiating runs a serious risk of not being worth it. If you know the Johnson won't kill you, or can't say no (perhaps he's against hard timelines), that value goes up and maybe it becomes worthwhile.

If, on the other hand, you know the item in question has a street value, or multiple possible buyers, the value on this side of the equation goes up. If you have the Hope Diamond, you can be fairly sure you can get something based off of its objective value, rather than just the flat rate you're getting paid. So in these circumstances, you add in the odds of selling it (represented as a fraction) * probable value. This is the value of renegotiating, breaking the contract and selling it to another buyer, or selling it to multiple buyers (each option should be inspected independently to determine which course has the highest value). Since it's data, you may find you can sell to multiple buyers and make quite a high profit, sufficient to leave city before the fallout. As an aside, when selling to multiple buyers it is CRITICAL to include the 'if the buyer figures out I'm selling it to other people as well' factor. Some things you can resell multiple times without anyone being upset, but generally the high-ticket items cannot be resold without significantly decreasing the value. And a Shadowrunner approaching people out of the blue to sell something will smell fishy. This is why it's good to have a great face. Selling these things is a run in itself, and you want to make sure you are far away when it wraps up. All of this makes it a difficult number to calculate, but it's well worth considering if you have the social skills to pull it off.


Your final result should be something like *lost value of a hit to one's rep* vs. *selling item (either to the original Johnson or someone else)*, which should give you a reasonable guess as to which of these is best pursued.

You may also want to factor in the asshat factor, in which a player may put artificial value on just breaking stuff. This will clearly increase the value of breaking the original contract, but should be considered carefully since it may actually DECREASE that same value to other players at the table.

(But yes, breaking the contract is definitely frowned upon, and may result in getting shot. While it's oftentimes the only way to really get rich, just remember how many greedy Shadowrunners sleep in the Sound.)


Also worth noting: Do NOT let your GM realize you're doing this. If he realizes you actually do the math to determine the optimal choice, he will be encouraged to increase penalties and decrease rewards for thinking out of the box. He doesn't want to have to do that, he'd much rather be surprised by you making a cool ten million and jumping on the next sub-orbital out of town.
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Tabula Rasa
post Apr 22 2008, 03:01 PM
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I think it would be a pretty simple decision to make for most Johnsons on how to react in a situation like this. You compare the revised payment amount - say in your 5-10% finders fee example that would be $5-10M:nuyen: - to how much it would cost to hire someone else to extract the information from the runners.

Likely it'll be much cheaper to hire another team to deal with the runners
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paws2sky
post Apr 22 2008, 03:53 PM
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One of the big SR themes for me, and one that I think is often overlooked, is the notion that everything is a very delicate state of balance. Everyone knows that they're vulnerable to the other guys screwing them over, but folks ought to be really hesitant to do it because of the long term impact of that kind of behavior.

Going back on what you negotiated is just bad business. It can lead to all manner of nasty things, like blackmail, personal grudges, Noteriety, and even dead characters. If the NPC tries to screw the PCs, then word will get out. If the PCs geek the NPC, then word will get out.

If Mr. Johnson showed up at the meet and said, "Sorry guys, but something came up and I can't pay you as much as we negotiated on earlier. I hope you understand." I'd expect the runners to be really pissed off. If you're Mr. J and you get a rep for dealing poorly with people, you're going to end up with only the most desperate dregs and the wannabees in your resource pool. Your likelihood of success will start dropping, which might throw up flags with your superiors, which... well, you might end up out of work or in a pine box.

If the runners showed up to the meet and said, "Sorry Mr. J, but we think you need to fork over some more nuyen for this job because we know what its really worth to you. We hope you understand." I'd expect the Mr. J to be really pissed off. If you're a runner group known to re-negotiate or kill employers, then people won't touch you. You're too unpredictable. Who wants to be the next guy that you kill or strong arm for more money? Eventually you'll get desperate. You might even end up with a suicide mission if people think you're too much of a liability.

As a general rule, I suggest PCs stick with the contract and play by the rules. To encourage that behavior, I tend to build clauses into the contracts like, "Do (or don't do X) and you get a bonus of Y nuyen/gear/services."

If the PCs want to use their knowledge of what's happening behind the scenes to try and buy stock or whatever, that's cool. You can bet Mr. J is doing some insider trading too.
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