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> Free Contacts, Contacts... To Give Away, Or Not?
Immortal Elf
post Dec 14 2008, 10:34 PM
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So I'm noting the chargen sheet enhanced by DamienKnight has a Free Contact points selection.

I know previous editions of SR have included free initial contact selection in the past... is this something that a lot of people are house ruling in for SR4? Is 2x CHA sort of a consensus running around out there?
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Eugene
post Dec 14 2008, 10:46 PM
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We pay for them in our group since they're arguably a very important resource and they're not all that expensive, really, for what you get. I've seen the 2xCHA mod, too, but that means that while faces will have a lot of contacts (which is expected), so will CHA-based mages. We do get contacts free in play, though, provided we cultivate them as such.
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Thadeus Bearpaw
post Dec 14 2008, 10:49 PM
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QUOTE (Eugene @ Dec 14 2008, 04:46 PM) *
We pay for them in our group since they're arguably a very important resource and they're not all that expensive, really, for what you get. I've seen the 2xCHA mod, too, but that means that while faces will have a lot of contacts (which is expected), so will CHA-based mages. We do get contacts free in play, though, provided we cultivate them as such.


I agree with Eugene. We pay for them in BP in my group, but they can be earned through character interactions and the like through the game. Most of the time my non-face players will pick up a Talismonger, Armorer, or something to that extent to help them get goods with their chunks of free time but that's it really. The faces however since they do a great deal of in character interaction with NPCs tend to pick up alot of Contacts, point of fact or seducing sniper has had sex with the vast majority of his/her contacts and given all the relevant information more than a few are enamored with him/her.
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Cang
post Dec 14 2008, 11:03 PM
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I like to give a free fixer when my players start a game. I like to establish a common point which helps them "meet up" with each other. They get a 1 in loyalty with said fixer and can up it with BPs if they want to. I also like rewarding players with contacts. The more of them you put into the game and make them necessary fixtures in the game, the more the players will appreciate them.

I also do a rule that the players must have at least 2 contacts bought at character gen. Something about character not knowing anyone at all is insane, even if he is a crazy toxic mage.
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Dragnar
post Dec 14 2008, 11:20 PM
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We pay for them as well, but lower the cost, especially from low level contacts. Linear costs don't make too much sense, as a high level contact is significantly more useful than a low level one.
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The Jake
post Dec 15 2008, 01:21 AM
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I made my PCs pay. In retrospect it should be free. Most players are so strapped for BP it really doesn't make much difference to give out two (1/1) contacts and let them pay for more with BP or build up levels if they so choose.

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TheOOB
post Dec 15 2008, 03:48 AM
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I give my players free contact points equal to 5*charisma, putting charisma on par with intuition and logic as far as extra BP go (both log and int give 6 BP worth of knowledge skill points, so giving out 5 BP for charisma which is a dump stat for most characters I think balances things out). Though I do make sure that the characters spend a portion of those points a one or more personal contacts rather then purely professional, childhood friends, old professors, buddy in a small street gang. This isn't an excuse to have a bunch of really good really loyal fixers, arms dealers, and mob contacts.
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dog_xinu
post Dec 15 2008, 03:56 AM
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We use a (C+L)/3 BP (round up) formula for contacts. None of the ratings (C or L) can be 4 or higher without a good excuse of why. I think for most people the cost is too much. I see a huge percentage of people with only one or two contacts and spend the rest of their BP on gear/skills/attributes/etc.

just my opinion..
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WeaverMount
post Dec 15 2008, 04:05 AM
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Frank had the best house rule for this. 1 BP buys you 3 contact points. Contacts cost loyalty * connection points. A 6/6 is still 12 BP, and hobos who don't like you are 3 for 1bp versus 1 for 2bp under RAW
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MaxMahem
post Dec 15 2008, 04:12 AM
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QUOTE (TheOOB @ Dec 14 2008, 11:48 PM) *
I give my players free contact points equal to 5*charisma, putting charisma on par with intuition and logic as far as extra BP go (both log and int give 6 BP worth of knowledge skill points, so giving out 5 BP for charisma which is a dump stat for most characters I think balances things out). Though I do make sure that the characters spend a portion of those points a one or more personal contacts rather then purely professional, childhood friends, old professors, buddy in a small street gang. This isn't an excuse to have a bunch of really good really loyal fixers, arms dealers, and mob contacts.

I always give out CHAR * 2, but you make a pretty good argument for increasing that level. I think CHA*5 is a bit much though maybe. Maybe I will try CHAR * 3 or 4 next time.

I also limit players from spending more than their charisma in BP on a contact at generation. Which means the most a 3 CHA runner could start with is a 2/1 or 1/2 while a 6 CHA runner could start with a 3/3, 4/2, 5/1 or some other varriation.
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Fortune
post Dec 15 2008, 04:41 AM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Dec 15 2008, 03:05 PM) *
Frank had the best house rule for this. 1 BP buys you 3 contact points. Contacts cost loyalty * connection points. A 6/6 is still 12 BP, and hobos who don't like you are 3 for 1bp versus 1 for 2bp under RAW


He also uses '0 level' Contacts.
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Fortune
post Dec 15 2008, 04:44 AM
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QUOTE (MaxMahem @ Dec 15 2008, 03:12 PM) *
I also limit players from spending more than their charisma in BP on a contact at generation.


As a GM, I love Contacts. I want to promote PCs to have more Contacts, so this rule would not work for me at all.
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Sumo Neko
post Dec 15 2008, 04:53 AM
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QUOTE (MaxMahem @ Dec 14 2008, 11:12 PM) *
I always give out CHAR * 2, but you make a pretty good argument for increasing that level. I think CHA*5 is a bit much though maybe. Maybe I will try CHAR * 3 or 4 next time.

I also limit players from spending more than their charisma in BP on a contact at generation. Which means the most a 3 CHA runner could start with is a 2/1 or 1/2 while a 6 CHA runner could start with a 3/3, 4/2, 5/1 or some other varriation.


For the game I just started, I waited til after character creation was done. That way players had built everything first including what they wanted for contacts (with what they could afford for build points).
I then gave them 12 BP (same for everyone) to spend on Contacts (minimum of 2 contacts had to be purchased). They could use those BP to increase contacts they already had.


I would have to think about the sliding scale variation. As for other suggestions here, like a Cha x? multiplier, I don't like it.
Mages (who would have a higher charisma) will seriously make out compared to a Samurai who has a low Charisma.

Use the Cha x2 (Cha 2 -- 2x2 =4) (Cha 5 -- 5x2 =10)
Cha x5 (Cha 2 -- 2x5 =10) (Cha 5 -- 5x5 = 25)

So that could be anywhere from 4 to 25 BP -- depending on Attribute and Magical/Technomancer status for a variable formula.

Other Contact thoughts
My recommendation is everyone at character creation buys a Fixer of some sort.
The only contact I don't allow anyone to buy is a Mr. Johnson.
Here is why ....

Most times the person who hires you for a job -- while for the negotiation is called a Mr. Johnson. But who are they really?
Maybe they are a corporate wage slave, who was offered some extra nuyen off the books if they would go do this favor for and exec at their company. So that person isn't a Johnson, he is really a Corporate Wage Slave, that would be the contact you are buying.

There are few dedicated Johnson's out there, such as the Hobgoblin who does a lot of Saeder-Krupp negotiations.

Just my 2 cents.

Sumo Neko
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The Operative: Do you know what your sin is?
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Aw hell, I'm a fan of all seven... but right now, I'm gonna have to go with Wrath.
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Ryu
post Dec 15 2008, 05:46 AM
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We had free contacts rather than free contact points for some time. As the GM I created a network of campaign contacts, and handed out about 20 BP of those per character. A few players used this to not spend a single contact BP, a total crowding out.
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WeaverMount
post Dec 15 2008, 09:05 AM
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@Fortune, 0 level contacts? I missed that. How did they work?

Maxmahem's rules was a limit on how awesome a single contact can be not on how much total BP may be spent on contacts.
QUOTE (MaxMahem @ Dec 14 2008, 11:12 PM) *
I also limit players from spending more than their charisma in BP on a contact at generation. Which means the most a 3 CHA runner could start with is a 2/1 or 1/2 while a 6 CHA runner could start with a 3/3, 4/2, 5/1 or some other varriation.

Some kind of limit like that seems pretty reasonable. 6/6 contacts are one of the most broken buys in the game. a single 6/6 contact means you aren't really playing a street level game anymore. Having 3 6/6 contacts and playing the middle man can become what a campaign is about.
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Iota
post Dec 15 2008, 10:07 AM
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Contacts are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo important.

Every player should have a lot of them and not only 1/1 or something alike.

So I give my players groupcontacts worth 18 BP for max. 3 contacts. Works out fine. And of course, if they meet someone during an adventure and try to establish a contact, support them, don`t let the guy go away or never answer any call. NPCs are made for becoming contacts or getting killed (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Mäx
post Dec 15 2008, 10:18 AM
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QUOTE (Sumo Neko @ Dec 15 2008, 06:53 AM) *
I would have to think about the sliding scale variation. As for other suggestions here, like a Cha x? multiplier, I don't like it.
Mages (who would have a higher charisma) will seriously make out compared to a Samurai who has a low Charisma.

No shit cherlock, really.
I mean isn't that the point, those with higher charisma get more or better contacts, nothing stops the samurai not using the charisma as a dumpstat.
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Fortune
post Dec 15 2008, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Dec 15 2008, 08:05 PM) *
@Fortune, 0 level contacts? I missed that. How did they work?


Pretty much the same as normal Contacts. They work out to be free, but either rather useless or mostly uncaring. Connections '4' might be nice, but a '0' in Loyalty means the guy ain't going out of his way for you any time soon. Conversely, a Loyalty of '4' means the dude is there for you, but his Connections rating of '0' pretty much means 'so what?'. Great for fluffing out a character (and for people like friends and family), but not as useful as a normal Contact.
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ornot
post Dec 15 2008, 11:56 AM
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I also have the problem with PCs buying 1 6/6 contact or no contacts at all. They find 1 high level contact works well enough, and they can pick up lots of low level contacts in game.

I like Frank's scale, although I'm inclined to give some free contact points too. Prolly 1*Cha, if I'm using Frank's scale. Sure this means Charisma based magicians get a bonus, but a GM has to vet a PCs contacts anyway, so can ensure that they're at least appropriate. Magicians have a problem with BP budgeting anyway, since they need to spend on Magic, and Logic based mages get a bonus to their knowledge skills.
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ElFenrir
post Dec 15 2008, 12:35 PM
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We use the Cha x 2 method for contact points, seems to work well enough.

However, under Karmagen, the contacts run more Karma than BP(Cha+Loyx2 Karma, so a 3/3 is 12 Karma, for example.) I suppose you could use Cha x 2 bonus Karma for contacts if you really wanted, but it really wouldn't give all that much, even for someone with a 6 Charisma(they'd get 12 Karma for Contact use...or a 3/3, 2/4, 1/5, or some combo like that). I might try it, but unless you have a Charisma of at least 5 you won't get much benefit out of it.

Under BP there's a bit more of a benefit to the free contact points.
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DireRadiant
post Dec 15 2008, 08:24 PM
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At chargen I don't hand out contacts or do any house rules. I do emphasize to the players that contacts are always worth the BP you spend on them. If you spent 8 BP to get a 4/4 contact, that's worth 40k nuyen, and will be worth that in game play.

During game play contacts are a major element and can become a driver for the campaign.

And then there was the years long campaign where all the teams unused contacts started dying off which led to all kinds of interesting problems for the team.
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AllTheNothing
post Dec 17 2008, 11:35 AM
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QUOTE (Cang @ Dec 15 2008, 12:03 AM) *
I like to give a free fixer when my players start a game. I like to establish a common point which helps them "meet up" with each other. They get a 1 in loyalty with said fixer and can up it with BPs if they want to. I also like rewarding players with contacts. The more of them you put into the game and make them necessary fixtures in the game, the more the players will appreciate them.

I also do a rule that the players must have at least 2 contacts bought at character gen. Something about character not knowing anyone at all is insane, even if he is a crazy toxic mage.



A character of mine has started with no contacts and almost no gear, she was kidnaped by Yakashima for "medical reasons", extracted by hers family while comatose and when she woke up she run from the hospital beliving that she was going to be tortured again (she suffers of amnesia due tortures), she lived on the street for a while until a yakuza gang "recruited" her for entertainment services. She started to run the shadows after she awakened, hers handler didn't agree nor oppose hers chois (probably because the first magical things she did was summon a guardian spirit with the strenght of her despair, FORCE 12, which gone out of control and killed everyone near her), but Yakuza was more than a little pissed of.
Oh yes, by the way, she is insane (can you blame her?).

In bocca al lupo.
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Blade
post Dec 17 2008, 01:07 PM
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For my campaign, I decided that bought Contacts are big contacts, such as contacts who can get you access to a lot of other contacts (a fixer for example), contacts that can get you access to something worth the cost or groups (gangs, mafias and so on).
I let the character take cha*2 "rating 0" contacts. These are friends, family, or other persons who aren't important enough to be bought, but can still be useful for some purposes other than flavor. These contacts include street doctors (but one who'll just be able to heal, not one who'll find and implant augmentations for you), waitresses or armorers, for example.
The players are also free to take any amount of flavor contacts they won't ever "use".
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