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> Payment the Guitar Hero Way, An easy way to rid characters of their money
raben-aas
post Nov 12 2008, 11:09 AM
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There are a lot of questions running around concerning the topic of "payment" for shadowruns – there are even some answers (just search for "payment" here in dumpshock).

But in my opinion, all of the ideas of how to balance payment are missing the point: The question always revolves around the MINIMUM payment a shadowrun should be "worth" to keep the shadowrunners being shadowrunners instead of making them car thieves or drone hijackers. The reason for this approach is that in the SR novels, Shadowrunners tend to be "poor" and in constant need of money. Load them up with 100,000 Nuyen, and the runners will scoff at the next Johnson who offers them just a meager 15K for their time.

While playing Guitar Hero, the answer to the problem suddenly jumped right into my face: In the game, you would earn lets say 5K $ for a Gig, but after smashing up your hotel room, partying out with your band and a solid amount of drug abuse the gig would leave you with 150 $ to spend on Outfit, new guitars or whatever.

You see the same principle in most of the novels: the shadowrunners make a decent amount of cash, but end up spending a large amount for bad habits, very cool but stat-wise totally unnecessary cars, "partying out in the zone", a solid amount of drug abuse or whatever.

Naturally, a player would never allow his poor character to spend money on unnecessary things. The poor sod will remain in his coffin motel forever, he will not eat fresh food or relax in a spa, but will hoard his ca$h unnter his pillow, to spend it on the next uber-ultra-bazooka that offers him a solid worth (stat-wise).

Well, no more I say!

Lets face it: If you want to play a Shadowrunner, fer chrissake let your character ACT like one. And since you can't enforce good roleplaying, do it "the Guitar Hero Way" by not giving the runners the full payment in the first place. Instead, make up a house rule (or a random "waste of money" generator).

In the end, this could look something like this:

– Total payment for shadowrun: 150,000 Nuyen.
– Divided by 5 Runners: 30,000 Nuyen each.

30,000 Nuyen minus 20% for a week of "after run partying out" + 1d6 x 10% for other unnecessaries (new cool jacket, new paint job for car, replace komlink with same-stat newer, more fashionable model, new haircut, drugs, hookers, whatever)

If you like, you could offer your players a small advantage in exchange, like "add 1 contact/raise loyality of one existent contact by +1 for each 1K spent onn partying with him".

I am sure that there is a lot of potential in this venue, as it approaches the problem of how to pay the runners a "realistic" amount of money in light of a balanced play or a "the runners always need money" style of play. Thecharacters may not receive any more money than they did before, but they will feel less cheated (I for one would prefer to earn 30K and burning 20K of it on useless junk and toys over earning a meager 10K total in the first place).
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Tachi
post Nov 12 2008, 11:14 AM
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I think this would best be used as a negative quality. I doubt ALL shadowrunners waste their money.
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raben-aas
post Nov 12 2008, 11:26 AM
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Not ALL runners will waste their money, yes, but almost ALL runners of this certain game style where the runners somehow can't get out of their financial troubles.

Instead of making the "Guitar Hero" trait a negative trait (that no one in his right mind would take), I would rather make the "Guitar Hero" mindset a default for Shadowrunners, and allow those RARE shadowrunnners who avoid bling-bling and everything fun to take a "positive" trait.

Furthermore, I would make this "Scrooge" trait a trait with a twist: Saving your money it may, but it also makes you unpopular in shadowrun circles as you never join your teammates in partying out, never invite your contacts for a hot night in the best clubs et cetera.
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Fortune
post Nov 12 2008, 11:49 AM
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I sort of resent the implication that most players need this type of thing. As a GM, I hope that I would never theat my players in such a childish manner. I would much rather role-play most of that stuff out and let the Lifestyle and Contact Upkeep rules take care of the rest.
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KCKitsune
post Nov 12 2008, 11:50 AM
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What if the Runner does the partying thing, but doesn't want to waste his money on useless junk?

How about the Runner who was like Toymeister in ShadowTech? He wants all the latest toys and gizmos, but maybe a closet nerd who couldn't get laid in a Strip Joint even if he's waiving around 500 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) notes.


I think forcing your players to do ANYTHING is bad because the player would feel less in control. I know I would be annoyed.
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raben-aas
post Nov 12 2008, 12:04 PM
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Of course it would be nicer if all players would let their characters act in a "realistic" way. The sad truth is, however, that this rarely happens. A guy who lived on the street, who just survived a run with his life intact, whose pockets are full with ca4h and who knows that he might DIE any time in the not-so dustant future (say: the next run, or at the next corner) would NOT, under ANY circumstance, act the way the average SR character IS acting.

Living runners are not interested in stuff with good stats. The like a gun because they saw a trid flick of their childhood hero sporting this fashionable piece of steel. They will blow their money to live it up TONIGHT, because they don't know if tomorrow ever comes. They €“ like us, like every single one of us €“ will buy stuff he DOES NOT NEED, be it new clothes, a newer version of the same equipment he already has, new games, whatever.

A lot of this already is covered by lifestyle, but for me a shadowrunner who doesn't blow a single buck at an after-run party just isn't a "true" cyberpunk character (and yes, I know that SR isn't cyberpunk).

The system outlined here is a system designed along the principles of simplicity. I for one am not offended by the evil Guitar Hero game withholding my rightfully earned money from me €“ hey, I am a ROCKSTAR! There is no point being a rockstar without acting like one, just as there is no point in playing a cyberpunk and then acting like the most retarded money-hoarding spoil-sport citizen there is. I mean: What's the point in taking on the "battle" against the evil corporations if you can't have some fun in the process. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Considering the exacvt way HOW the character will spend his money: One could leave it up to them, really, just as long as it remains a total waste of money from a game mechanics point of view (in the end, it doesn't matter if the character spent 1K on booze and drugs or on new seat covers for his Mustang or the newest edition of his Komlink).
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Tachi
post Nov 12 2008, 12:04 PM
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QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Nov 12 2008, 04:50 AM) *
I know I would be annoyed.

I'd be a lot more than annoyed. I'd be furious. It's worse than income tax! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wacko.gif) Most people I know (especially the poor ones) manage their money very carefully. Excepting my buddy who got a variable rate mortgage. I warned him. He didn't listen. Not my problem. It should be a negative trait, if anything. Everyone knows one or two people who cannot manage their money.

Sorry dude.
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raben-aas
post Nov 12 2008, 12:09 PM
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QUOTE (Tachi @ Nov 12 2008, 01:04 PM) *
Most people I know (especially the poor ones) manage their money very carefully.


I imagine that most of the poor people you know don't get their money by risking life and limb, however.
Shadowrunners have to "burn off" the adrenalin somehow in my opinion.

But hey, whoever doesn't like the idea can stick to whatever system they are using, for all I care (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Fortune
post Nov 12 2008, 12:17 PM
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QUOTE (raben-aas @ Nov 12 2008, 11:04 PM) *
Of course it would be nicer if all players would let their characters act in a "realistic" way. The sad truth is, however, that this rarely happens.


Sorry, but you are sadly mistaken. Perhaps there is a problem with your game.

QUOTE
... act the way the average SR character IS acting.


I would like to know your source of information on how the average (or your earlier 'almost all') character acts. How would you know? On what facts and/or statistics are you basing your statements.

Again, maybe it is you that has a problem within the game(s) in which you are involved.
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Sir_Psycho
post Nov 12 2008, 12:23 PM
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Twenty to eighty percent of payment is a little steep, I think. With some tweaking it could make a pretty cool negative quality.
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Tachi
post Nov 12 2008, 12:24 PM
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QUOTE (raben-aas @ Nov 12 2008, 05:09 AM) *
I imagine that most of the poor people you know don't get their money by risking life and limb, however.
Shadowrunners have to "burn off" the adrenalin somehow in my opinion.

But hey, whoever doesn't like the idea can stick to whatever system they are using, for all I care (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Actually, most of my friends are in Iraq/Ashkanistan right now. How's that or risking life and limb? Only the civilian one I mentioned above wastes his money like that. But hey, like you said, "whoever doesn't like the idea can stick to whatever system they are using."

Thanks, I will. If you want to do that in your game, and your players will accept it, fine. We were just expressing our own disposition towards NOT accepting it, that's all.
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Grinder
post Nov 12 2008, 12:26 PM
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QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Nov 12 2008, 01:23 PM) *
Twenty to eighty percent of payment is a little steep, I think. With some tweaking it could make a pretty cool negative quality.


Deadlands has a Hindrance that does exactly what, but I can't recall the name.
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Fuchs
post Nov 12 2008, 12:36 PM
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Well, what is the goal of this rule?

If you just want runners to "live fast, die fast", that's easily handled by just stating that lifestyle covers their partying. Could even ecnourage players by awarding karma for original partying RP.

If you want to limit money, then that's rising balance questions between mundane and magical characters.

If you have trouble with PCs refusing jobs for less money either raise payments, talk to the players, or fast forward until the PCs have run out of money and need the money.
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Tachi
post Nov 12 2008, 12:54 PM
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Negative Quality

Squander Earnings
5 BP per level, up to level 4 (?)
The character automatically squanders 15% of his earnings per level on partying, unnecessary gear/toys, etc. (i.e. waste between 15-60%)

I may have to use this. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/spin.gif)

@raben-aas
I really do think this is where your idea could shine.



Any suggestions anyone? As I said, everyone knows at least one person who cannot, and should not, handle money.




Edit: Per Drogos; cap at level 4 (was 6). Higher level available only by GM discretion.
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Drogos
post Nov 12 2008, 12:58 PM
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I'd cap it at level 4. 60% is plenty and keeps it from being abused.
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ElFenrir
post Nov 12 2008, 01:09 PM
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I agree on the Negative Quality part. Forced on the players and it plain out sucks-maybe some characters just don't like to party. I have friends who don't like to party so much. They are no less human than the ones who do.

But yeah, as a Negative Quality, this would be great. I mean, many - qualities forced on players would just suck. I mean, I'd be just as furious if the GM suddenly said, ''Oki, all characters in the game are starting with a Severe Allergy, even if you aren't Infected/Shapeshifter,''(unless it somehow actually HAD a plot point to the game, AND we knew about it in advance and everyone was ok with it.)
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Blade
post Nov 12 2008, 01:18 PM
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I remember a similar flaw in SR3 (maybe it was an house rule), which forced the player to spend x% anytime he earned money. There was no restriction on the use (so you could use it to buy gear), but the amount could go higher than 100%.
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raben-aas
post Nov 12 2008, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for the feed back. Good idea on that negative quality, Tachi!
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Clay Pigeon
post Nov 12 2008, 02:37 PM
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The proposed system does not decrease the net amount the runners receive as payment. For a job, you are offered a huge payment (the example was 150K for the team), but after Xtreme expenses (whatever they may be for a given character), it drops to the "standard" payment.

I like the idea.
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shuya
post Nov 12 2008, 02:42 PM
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QUOTE (raben-aas @ Nov 12 2008, 07:04 AM) *
Of course it would be nicer if all players would let their characters act in a "realistic" way. The sad truth is, however, that this rarely happens.

you need better players. there's no point in house-ruling things to make your PLAYERS act in a certain way. what if one of your players wants to make a character who is a total druggie and blows ~80% of her cash on drugs?* would she still get screwed over by this rule anyway? and if not, isn't that a little unfair to the other players, on whose characters you are forcing the loss of money? if a group of players just wants to sit around for a few hours every saturday, eat chips, BS, have fun, and shoot people in the face for money, then why should some uppity GM try to ruin their good time?

*can't wait til my character starts failing addiction tests
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ornot
post Nov 12 2008, 02:44 PM
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I wouldn't want to force it upon my players, although it does make a good amount of sense. I especially like the idea of partying with your contacts improving their loyalty.

I do have a mixture of players, some of whom hoard their cash for the next big upgrade, and some who squander it senselessly. Admittedly the principal spendthrift is the mage, who doesn't see much point in accruing money, due to the huge amount of saving he'd need to do to afford the magical goodies. (He doesn't even bind spirits, since his character sees that as enslavement.)

I also have tended to underpay my PCs, to keep them hungry.
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overchord
post Nov 12 2008, 02:59 PM
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How about making payments to the partying lifestyle a carrot as well?

for example, for every night you go out partying hard, you can go for a particular "level/style". Shadowrunners would have to equip themselves acocordingly to enter that style (e.g. yes need some chich clothing for the high life and bespoke tailored for the ultraglitz etc etc)
For every night you spend partying it up, there's a chance of getting a contact reflecting where and how you partied?
There would be a cost for a night out and a chance of getting a contact. The contacts gained would reflect the level chosen, so for lowlife, you might get a squatter or other street urchin, whereas on the high life you'd get mid-level corp contacts etc.
A suggestion for costs and chance could be somethnig along the lines of:

lowlife - total cost 1d6x 50 nuyen (1 in 6)
regular - 1d6 x 100 nuyen (1 in 6)
the high life - 2d6 x 200 nuyen (3 in 12)
ultraglitz - 2d6 x 1,000 nyen (5 in 12)

Chances and costs can be altered to fit with the level of your campaign, but it gives the players an incentive to "blow" money -and it might lead to some good RP as well.

Alternatively, you could impse a "maintenance" cost for contact that reflect partying with the contacts, going out for dinner with them etc.



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Ryu
post Nov 12 2008, 03:18 PM
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Someone who makes a few hundred k¥ per year should not live a low lifestyle, and own substantially more than three complete sets of "working clothes". Most characters I´ve seen lived a low lifestyle on principle, regardless of income. Not very fitting.

The "my friends save their money, too" doesn´t cut it, because not many of us will have many friends that make the big bucks (and don´t spend them). Judging from the 2-3 families within my relatives that are really well-off, I´d say that all better-paid runners should at least live a high lifestyle, even without partying, while nevertheless amassing a fortune in assets.

I prefer to run well-paying campaigns, and I wish for all of my players to understand that SR does not have to be a ressource management game. (And while I dream, I want to awaken.)

Forced spending doesn´t work - it is basically the same as paying less, no change in attitude involved. The happy compromise might be to reward runners that live a high life with more powerful contacts (a 50k¥ gift for a purpose your oyabun supports can be well-spend money), and to occasionally bring the bad times they are all saving up for. What you had in the bank and what you had invested in friends would be your decision. Both parts could help with unforseen problems.
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Brother Julian
post Nov 12 2008, 03:27 PM
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I really don't see why you think you have to dictate to the characters that they will party or else. If you don't want sombody to have a missile launcher the solution is simple. Either make them actually do the availability rolls with a reasonable amount of obsticles or simply say that that item is not available.

If the character wants to play his character as a money grubbing hermit you have no business telling him that he has to be a party animal. It is his choice to make, not yours. It is your perogative to make the setting (say determining the amount of jobs/weapons/money floating around) but it is his perogative to choose what his character does in that setting.

Food for thought:

My cousin is in Iraq as a corporate suit and has no interest in using the hard earned cred for beer and drugs. Cousin is trying to get enough money to buy a nice piece of land and a house.

I served five years in the army and I guarantee 2/3 of the people I knew took finance seriously and only a minority frivilously blew every cent they had.

Brother Julian.
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nezumi
post Nov 12 2008, 04:37 PM
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Just link 'random expenditures' to the guy's street rep. No one is going to believe a guy who drives a jaloppy is a hardcore runner. People who spend cash like it's going out of style are going to get more from their contacts (since they buy their contacts nice things), more from their fixer (the fixer wants a chunk of that change, and so will give better deals), and is better protected where ever he goes (local gangers want the crumbs that fall off the plate - and don't want to kill the golden goose). A guy in shabby clothes and a broken down old car is going to get ignored. The Johnson will undersell him (clearly this guy doesn't make a lot of cash! No reason for me to change that for him.) etc.

Now they're spending it on stuff, but stuff that generally makes them more popular, 'cooler' in the eyes of the community, withotu making them better runners.
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