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> Availability house rules, What do you use? If any?
FriendoftheDork
post Feb 10 2010, 11:34 PM
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Hey guys!

I've been playing Shadowrun by RAW for some time, at least when it come to gear and availability.

The only rule that really limits gear is the cap of 12 at chargen. After that, it's pretty much a free for all. You don't really need contacts, all you need is a good negotation skills and/or good charisma and social modifiers. Any Face worth his/her weight can pretty much get anything in the book at just 400BPs. It may take some time, but really unless you have no downtime between runs, waiting 2 weeks for that missile launcher isn't gonna be a problem.

Some items are so prohibitively expensive that they are pretty much impossible to get, such as Thunderbirds and certain cyber/bio ware.

Other than that, there is nothing to prevent you from getting APDS rounds rather than the much weaker Flechette rounds, and the former is even cheaper! Not to mention EX-EX which does the same as flechette does only better.

Ok, enough about the imbalanced system. There are of course restricted items (usable by a licence), and Forbidden items (always black market and don't-get-caught), but they don't affect availability itself or require special contacts or knowledge skills on how to get them.

So I am thinking about making some fixes. At some point I tried to keep the 12 avail. cap beyond chargen, and only allow higher cap items on a case by case items, through certain Johnsons and fixxers, or after much time and effort has been spent in order to get them. It worked so and so but got a bit arbitrarily as some items of high power and usefulness were easy to get, while others even much less useful or even legal were impossible to get.

When I tried the karma chargen system I used a system of contacts instead, thus you could get items of availability equal to 3*connectin rating. Thus several loyalty 1/connection 6 contacts where the norm.

Now I want a new system, maybe even adjusting all the avilabilities in the book or even doing away with the whole system (but keeping R and F). Anything nonrestricted would be available to all with SINs/fake SINs, R items requires licences (fake or otherwise), and anything with F requires criminal contacts or knowledge on where to get access to them, although how that would work without contacts I don't know. I mean, can you really just prowl the streets for "usual places" and get hold of militairy grade weaponry without actually having any contacts and knowing people?

As a last resort simply up the prices on all Forbidden items and simply assume that if you're willing to pay the price, someone will sell it to you.

What do you think?
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Garou
post Feb 11 2010, 12:00 AM
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Yes, it is a problem. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

But in reality, there would be no problem with the system, as far as fluff goes. Your face is not really a shadow runner, he is a dedicated black market dealer. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Remember that you can always say, as a GM, that a give item is not available, or rise the prices through the cost modifiers (such as dry market, police crackdown, etc). Remember that the availability interval is a real interval, and must be kept on timecount, as it happens to any extended test. If he needs one week for each test, that means he takes a WHOLE WEEK doing so. If he needs 4 weeks, well, sorry for him, he will be out of the runs in this period. Let's see if his lifestyle can be paid, and his credit better be damn good. It will work for most cheap/easy to get stuff, but for deltaware/expensive stuff/milispec armor, it will efectively remove your character from the campaign. He will only be able to do trivial stuff, such as talking on his commlink to the group, etc, which makes truly boring games.

Contacts are great to have for one reason, if not all others: It's THEIR life working for what you want, not yours.

PS: And of course, if someone glitches or critical glitch on an availability test, you might get yourself a box full of bricks instead of said milispec red samurai armor. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Daylen
post Feb 11 2010, 12:17 AM
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isnt that why ya have contacts? to have them do the time intensive stuff? also I dont think the time it takes is 8 hours a day searching I think alot of that is word getting around on the street.
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Godwyn
post Feb 11 2010, 12:31 AM
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Yeah, the week intervals do not really stop someone from running, it is just effectively a full time job until the gear is required.

I never really see the problem with people acquiring whatever they can. After all, getting it is nowhere near the challenge of -keeping- it. Milspec armor and a panther? Sure! Wait. . . you are getting it into the building how?
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Surukai
post Feb 11 2010, 12:42 AM
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APDS is a must have, but on the other hand, enemies use that too (And of course with ill-matching weapons and never more than the bullets the fire at the PCs + a few spare)

The time it takes to obtain said gear is massive, anything worth more than 1000nuyen is 2 days (or 1 week for 10,000+) and that means it's not available for PCs within reasonable time. It takes ages to get the gear and it costs a lot so what else are they going to do with the money. I think it works great the way it does.

What I do when they walk around in too much gear (or well, actually every now and then to hide this) is simply let them have an encounter with Powerball spell. Boom, everything with Object resistance less than 4 is gone, leaving them with broken guns, ruined armour but an intact commlink so they can at least call for a ride home and don't loose all their money etc. (that would be too mean!).

Teach the players that expensive gear is only to be used in really high grade missions. Wear cheap stuff on the streets because you never know when you have to run from police, eat powerballs or grenades or simply need to change clothes to avoid shadowing. If you have murdered people in that Lined Coat and Formfit armour, you better be prepared to burn it because you don't want their DNA and blood on your stuff, do you?
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Aerospider
post Feb 11 2010, 01:01 AM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ Feb 10 2010, 11:34 PM) *
I mean, can you really just prowl the streets for "usual places" and get hold of militairy grade weaponry without actually having any contacts and knowing people?

Categorically not, this is exactly the kind of case where contacts get most interesting. You need someone who:

- Knows how to find a seller (there's not many to the pound)
- Has the seller's complete trust and confidence
- Knows how to confirm the veracity and quality of the product
- Can handle himself in intense negotiations

Your face character may be up to the last of these, but it's very unlikely any of the group can cover the other requirements and that's what contacts do. Even then, after the networking and negotiating and depending upon how much you use the contacts, the seller will likely still make you jump through some hoops. All the negotiations should be roleplayed - the sellers and most go-betweens will be highly paranoid and it won't take much for this to rub off on the players. Also, it makes the players appreciate the find as more of a big deal - if all they really see of it is a die roll and a time frame they might as well have been shopping for sofas.
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 11 2010, 08:46 AM
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First off, this is not an invitation for a SR3 vs SR4 debate. This is just a description of what the differences are when it comes to finding gear.

Equipment acquisition is one of the things that has changed the most between SR3 and 4. Here's how it worked in SR3. Gear availability used to be a numeric target number and a base time, with your number of hits dividing the base time, so 2 hits would be 1/2 the time, 3 would be 1/3, etc. Gear also used to have a street index value, which was a price multiplier you included if an item was purchased on the black market. Most items were 1 to 2, easy to get items less than 1, and heavily restricted gear being 3 or more (I don't recall anything over 5). The variable target number meant that having more dice didn't guarantee you any successes unless you had ungodly numbers of dice. APDS ammo for instance was target number 14/2weeks IIRC. On six sided dice. They had a rule of 6 where you got to re-roll that one die and add to it, so to get a 14 you had to get two sixes and then a two on that one die. That would get you some APDS in two weeks. Many heavily restricted items had targets and base times that were much higher. The flip side were street level illegals like SMGs and pistols, which might have targets as low as 2 or 3 and base times of a day or less. This meant that for restricted items you would either wait a very long time or have to get very lucky (which usually meant spending the equivalent of edge).

When SR4 came along, variable target numbers were replaced by thresholds, and the time between tests is now based on cost. Street index is included in the price of items now(how often do your PCs make legal purchases). This means that time is the only thing that limits gear availability. All a high threshold really does is increase the chance for glitches, which can be avoided by edge, which you would have spent under the old system anyways just to get the stuff in the first place.

What all this meant was that, in SR 3, restricted gear was basically impossible for PCs to get a hold of unless the GM wanted them to, or they spent lots of edge. Especially since it was usually the contact making the rolls rather than the PC (so no edge). Weather this change is good or bad depends on how you want to run your game.

As for a solution - rather than jumping back to the old rules (mixing systems is usually not a good idea, though it can be done) - I'd suggest the following:

1) Require that all illegal gear be acquired through appropriate contacts. Note that it wouldn't matter if it was F or R. No permit, no legal purchase, see a contact. Which contacts are appropriate is a judgment call you get to make.
2) If you don't like that idea, make finding gear a full time job, and give less down time between runs. Have Mr Johnson call them when he wants to hire them, not the other way around. Make the PCs pay the contact a daily rate to look for gear on their behalf.
3) Make any gear purchased "on the streets," ie not from a contact, be from an unreliable dealer - the goods could be ok, but they might also be stolen, used in a crime, in need of repairs, etc.
4) Make looking for gear riskier. Don't allow PCs to use edge to avoid glitches or critical glitches. And up the consequences of glitches.
5) Have the cops constantly hound PCs with military gear.
6) Stick to your guns - as GM you are well within your rights to rule that an item is unavailable in your game.

Hope that helps.
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Smokeskin
post Feb 11 2010, 10:19 AM
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I don't just let players buy high availability gear, or even automatic weapons.

This is illegal stuff that the authorities takes an interest in. Your fixer might be able to find an arms dealer for you to talk to, but he's staying well clear of the guns and the transaction. He doesn't know if either you or the seller has been caught and did a deal with the DA to reduce your sentence - loyalty only goes so far. Maybe all parties think they're doing a clean deal, but they're under surveillance by the authorities. Maybe the goods has imbedded anti-theft trackers that'll squeal to the rightful owner at some point.

With bio- and cyberware, there aren't that many doctors out the able to install a move-by-wire system who lost their license and has to do illegal jobs. Most likely, they're getting leaned on or blackmailed to do the surgery, which is a whole new potential can of worms.

Basically, getting hold of the gear is one thing. Making sure you're not getting into a ton of trouble on the way, another matter entirely.

If you make it a mini-adventure with plenty of risk to get hold of certain items, your players will value them a lot more. They'll be special, unlike if they're just "ok the dice says I spend 4 weeks of game time getting it". You can drop weapons for them to loot that will feel like great rewards. Getting leverage on a cyberware clinic owner becomes extremely valuable.
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Cardul
post Feb 11 2010, 12:09 PM
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Honestly, one thing I tend to say is that if you can get the gun, you can get the ammo
for it. It is something I find kind of amusing that you can get one rocket launcher under
the base availability rules, but you cannot get any rockets for it!
Sure, you can take "Restricted Gear", but...taking Restricted gear for EACH missile is
kind of...well, rediculous!
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Smokeskin
post Feb 11 2010, 12:25 PM
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I was in the army, and there was plenty of access to the recoilless rifle. The rockets for it however, I don't know where they kept them, I never even saw one. I was supposed to get to fire one as part of my sergeant's training, but the exercise was cancelled, natch.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me that getting hold of rockets is harder than getting hold of the launchers.
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FriendoftheDork
post Feb 11 2010, 03:13 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Feb 11 2010, 01:25 PM) *
I was in the army, and there was plenty of access to the recoilless rifle. The rockets for it however, I don't know where they kept them, I never even saw one. I was supposed to get to fire one as part of my sergeant's training, but the exercise was cancelled, natch.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me that getting hold of rockets is harder than getting hold of the launchers.


Except of course when the launcher is a disposable fire and forget weapon, in which case they all come pre-loaded (Aztech striker, LAW etc.).

Now I'll post a general response after this:
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FriendoftheDork
post Feb 11 2010, 03:38 PM
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Well it certainly seems like I'm not the only one bothered by these rules.

Professor, although that system seems alot more restrictive and probably more realistic, I'm not yearning back to the days of target numbers (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

What bothers me mainly is the use of the Negotation skills, which are used by everyone from door salesmen to corporate Mr. Johnsons. Sure, in a negotation of a Run it fits, but not for a "gather information" skill or representing who you know and what you know about the black market. After all, we have Contacts and knowledge skills for such.

The only issue with using contacts is all the middle-men sometimes you want to deal directly with the suppliers. And for Faces who actually want to become more like Fixers, Contacts might simply be too costly to use to represent that you know alot of different people (most of very low Connection but still having specific access to items or information). This also has to do with the Contact system where being friendly bob the janitor with 0 influence costs about the same having a high-level fixer or fence as a business contact - one being vastly more useful than the other and usually alot easier to befriend.

Still, it seems we are on the same wavelength here.

So which contacts is approprate? A fence could easily get you small time illegal items such as pistols, stolen goods etc, but maybe not the real hardware like Ares Alphas and MBW systems. A crooked Quartermaster might be able to misplace militairy hardware in small quantities at least. A street doc might be able to install various illegal cyberware, or with some more Connection, access to a Black Clinic.

In any case it will be fairly arbitrarily and guesswork for the GM, and there is no randomness and uncerainly involved in just saying you need contacts. It would be nice to have some sort of system to replace the old one.

@Smokeskin

Automatics weapons are legal in UCAS as long as you have a license, which in itself is fairly easy to get for a Shadowrunner. Some military rifles and most heavy weapons is a different story, but simply banning them doesen't make for a good story. Big trolls with big guns is pretty much a staple of shadowrun, and actually owning an Assault cannon or heavy MG is a sign of success. Not using it or carring it when inappropriate is a sign of professionalism and survivability.

But some times you just need to get the big guns to take out a nest of insect spirits or blast an armored vehicles off the road, and being able to get your heavy weapon from you trusty van, getting the mission done, and getting away with it is necessary.

Now, which knowledge skills would be appropriate for getting the good stuff? Street Knowledge: Black Market seems a bit too open....
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Surukai
post Feb 11 2010, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ Feb 11 2010, 04:38 PM) *
Now, which knowledge skills would be appropriate for getting the good stuff? Street Knowledge: Black Market seems a bit too open....


That is a question I have failed to give a good answer to to my players. Do they roll knowledge skill (even maybe more specific one than just Black Market one) and what then? Do they get those hits as bonus on Neg+Cha? Does it cut the interval? Or does it just "enable" them to roll neg+cha at all?
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 11 2010, 06:27 PM
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I've run into this question sorta from the other side.. how hard or easy should fencing stuff be, with or without the contacts?
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Kliko
post Feb 11 2010, 06:43 PM
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QUOTE (Surukai @ Feb 11 2010, 10:46 AM) *
That is a question I have failed to give a good answer to to my players. Do they roll knowledge skill (even maybe more specific one than just Black Market one) and what then? Do they get those hits as bonus on Neg+Cha? Does it cut the interval? Or does it just "enable" them to roll neg+cha at all?


Depends, didn't Street knowledge: Arms Dealers act as a contemplary skill to the street etiquette for obtaining nifty weaponry/armor?
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Smokeskin
post Feb 11 2010, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ Feb 11 2010, 04:13 PM) *
Except of course when the launcher is a disposable fire and forget weapon, in which case they all come pre-loaded (Aztech striker, LAW etc.).


We were equipped AT4s, that's a disposable antitank weapon. I've seen a few of the real ones being fired, never touched one, you don't get the real thing unless you're in a war zone. You get dummies to use for training, that can again load 9mm tracer rounds for the firing range, and load "blanks" for dry exercises.

I was in the Danish army, perhaps they do it differently in other countries, but with the amount of accidental discharges that happens with blanks during exercises, I really don't see it working with grunts carrying live rocket launchers around, from a security standpoint it makes no sense at all. I feel fairly confident that your average soldier uses dummies for everyday training, and rarely gets to fire an actual rocket - and that could even be with dud warheads.
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FriendoftheDork
post Feb 11 2010, 10:06 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Feb 11 2010, 09:54 PM) *
We were equipped AT4s, that's a disposable antitank weapon. I've seen a few of the real ones being fired, never touched one, you don't get the real thing unless you're in a war zone. You get dummies to use for training, that can again load 9mm tracer rounds for the firing range, and load "blanks" for dry exercises.

I was in the Danish army, perhaps they do it differently in other countries, but with the amount of accidental discharges that happens with blanks during exercises, I really don't see it working with grunts carrying live rocket launchers around, from a security standpoint it makes no sense at all. I feel fairly confident that your average soldier uses dummies for everyday training, and rarely gets to fire an actual rocket - and that could even be with dud warheads.


Yeah, but somehow I don't think it's the dummies that are traded on black markets. I don't even know if those can be loaded with the real rockets.

So it's a fair assumption that, when The Strikers are bought on the black market, they come pre-loaded or the runners are getting screwed.

Also, rockets and missiles are a complete different story than bullets for regular guns. I'd say any arms dealer able to get hold of assault rifle will be able to get hold of regular ammo for them. Of course, it's gonna cost extra (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

APDS, EX-EX etc. might be harder to get.
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FriendoftheDork
post Feb 11 2010, 10:10 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Feb 11 2010, 07:27 PM) *
I've run into this question sorta from the other side.. how hard or easy should fencing stuff be, with or without the contacts?


Hmm I'd suppose it would be easier, but you'd still want contacts to "spread the word around."

Still, if what you have is either hard to get or have a high value (or both), people will be interested in buying it, if for no other reason than reselling it.

Shadowrunners getting hot loot will probably have to sell it all off to fence or fixer contacts, at discounted prices. Established fences will have alot easier time selling stuff to market value than runners focusing on shadowrunning.
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Mordinvan
post Feb 11 2010, 10:12 PM
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I've never understood why items not restricted or forbidden can't be purchased at whatever rating the gm is comfortable with. If I can walk do to X-mart and buy a R12 thingimajig with no special paperwork, why should I need to settle for a R6 one until 5 minutes after chargen, when I then break into the X-mart and steal it, or walk in through the front doors and buy it? For things which need special paper work, Ya I can see they might be a touch hard to get a hold of, and for forbidden things, availability 12 almost seem generous.
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Daylen
post Feb 11 2010, 10:25 PM
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nothing is forbidden only highly regulated. that way the haves can get what they want and the havenots wont be able to do much. and for things that are legal and dont require paperwork there isnt an availibility. try ordinary clothing - Always.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Feb 11 2010, 11:43 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Feb 11 2010, 05:25 AM) *
I was in the army, and there was plenty of access to the recoilless rifle. The rockets for it however, I don't know where they kept them, I never even saw one. I was supposed to get to fire one as part of my sergeant's training, but the exercise was cancelled, natch.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me that getting hold of rockets is harder than getting hold of the launchers.


Odd... I was in the Marine Corps for 8 years, and during that period I fired well over 200 rockets (some of them Self Contained - LAAW's (M72 and AT4), and others that were not - SMAW's), Hell, I fired over 30 in a single day once... naturally they did not keep the weapons with the ammunition, but it was not really all that hard to actually get either...

It does make sense, though, that you did not have access to the real weapons in the Danish Army, except in a war zone... The American Military complex actually allows one topractice with the real weapons... The average soldier in the Army or Marine Corps (in America) has most likely fired many of these if he is an Infantryman...

Keep the Faith
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graymagiker
post Feb 12 2010, 01:13 AM
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I am new to Shadowrun GMing, so keep that in mind.

This recently came up in my game, as my players are at the point that they have the cash to afford high availability items after several successful runs.

For gear that is not restricted or forbidden, a character may purchase it legally by making the appropriate neg+cha test as described on page 312 of SR4A.

For gear that is restricted or forbidden my ruling is that the character, or perhaps a teammate, must have an appropriate contact. I might allow the runner to track down a piece of restricted gear without a contact if they first obtained a fake license, which would require the contact. The contact makes the test, as on pg 287 of SR4A. Also the finders fee mentioned on that page must be payed, which is connection * 5% of the item cost. Not always, but most of the time this requires some amount of rollplaying on the players part, depending on what contact they use to get what piece of gear.

Also keep in mind the section on adjusting prices on pg 312, SR4A.

With regards to a cap on what can be obtained, I use the optional rule on limiting the number of rolls on an extended test on pg 64 of SR4A. That way it is possible that a contact or character is unable to obtain a specific piece of gear at the moment.

My thinking on the matter is that even restricted gear is hard for shadowrunners to get through legitimate channels. Especially if they don't have a license for that gear yet. Also just knowing who sells illegal gear is not enough to be able to purchase it. Part of the reason a contact is required is because people who sell illegal gear will not deal with just anyone, they only deal with people they trust. This means that either the contact obtains the gear directly, or puts the character in contact with someone who does and vouches for the character. If the character is put in contact with the same seller multiple times, they may develop the seller as a contact.

As to which contacts are appropriate for what gear, I decide it on a case by case basis. I try to make contacts that my players have real people. I haven't done that too much yet, but for each contact I try to develop a personality and short back story. Then it becomes easier to know weather the contact would be able to obtain a specific piece of gear.

I try to keep things consistent, but realistic. Just because a contact got a HK XM30 once does not mean they have 4 more lying around. However if a contact has in the past been able to obtain illegal weapons it is reasonable to assume that they still can, unless something major has changed.

Aside from this I have decided that, at least for the moment, some gear is completely unavailable to the runners. I have done this to maintain a mood that the runners may have cash, but there are still things that are out of reach. This, I feel, gives them incentive to keep running and trying for 'that one big score'. Also, I feel that the availability of some items in the core book is too low, so until I can work out a good system for them I have severely limited anything with an availability higher than 12, except for a few specific items.

Sorry for the long read, but this is something I had recently had to clarify my position on for my own game, so I thought I would share. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome.


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Daylen
post Feb 12 2010, 02:08 AM
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wait what? SR4 requires a skill check to walk into a stuffer shack and get food? And same for other stuch items?
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Brazilian_Shinob...
post Feb 12 2010, 04:40 AM
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@graymagiker: You don't need to roll availability for non-restriced or non-forbidden stuff unless you want to make the purchase "out of records", EVERYTHING you buy is connected to the SIN you used, which means that you can buy anthing legal without worrying about time but it will leave a datatrail. IF you want to avoid that, then you need to roll the availability test.
The same goes for Restricted stuff, if you somehow get yourself a license, then you can go to your Ares Emporium store to buy a restricted assault rifle or to a Hospital andhave Wired Reflexes implanted. Then again, this will be connected to your SIN and to police databases, which means that if you use your rifle during a run, KnightErrant or Lone Star will know that you own the assault rifle and have your adress.
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Muspellsheimr
post Feb 12 2010, 07:20 AM
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QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
For gear that is not restricted or forbidden, a character may purchase it legally by making the appropriate neg+cha test as described on page 312 of SR4A.

For gear that is not restricted or forbidden, a character may purchase it legally if they possess a legal SIN, or if their Fake SIN passes a SIN/License check. No other test is necessary.
For gear that is restricted but not forbidden, a character may purchase it legally if they possess a legal License, or if their Fake License passes a SIN/License check [in addition to the standard SIN check]. No other test is necessary.

QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
For gear that is restricted or forbidden my ruling is that the character, or perhaps a teammate, must have an appropriate contact. I might allow the runner to track down a piece of restricted gear without a contact if they first obtained a fake license, which would require the contact. The contact makes the test, as on pg 287 of SR4A. Also the finders fee mentioned on that page must be payed, which is connection * 5% of the item cost. Not always, but most of the time this requires some amount of rollplaying on the players part, depending on what contact they use to get what piece of gear.

For gear that is not acquired legally, regardless of restriction or forbidden, or lack thereof, must be acquired through the standard Availability Test, using the appropriate time intervals based on the items value. Barring House Rules, the Availability Test can be made by anyone - character, contact, whatever. While going through a contact does cost more, they also receive an additional bonus equal to their Connection rating to the test. Thus, unless you are a Face, a high connection contact will likely find the gear faster.

The only reason to intentionally withhold higher availability equipment is if you are running a street/ganger level game - in which case you should also be limiting maximum Connection rating, a reasonably large number of other things, and beginning with 300 BP.

I fail to see what the actual problem is with the current availability rules. They are not the best, granted, but actually do perform their job remarkably well. If anything, my single complaint would be failure to take into account equipment a contact has "On Hand".

QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
With regards to a cap on what can be obtained, I use the optional rule on limiting the number of rolls on an extended test on pg 64 of SR4A. That way it is possible that a contact or character is unable to obtain a specific piece of gear at the moment.

This would be just fine, except those rules are fucking retarded for a variety of reasons discussed elsewhere. I advise instead limiting the maximum number of rolls to Attribute + Skill, with no degradation. Attribute-Only tests (such as the Search Power), do not fall under this limit [Note: Defaulting is not Attribute-Only, it is Attribute + Skill, with a skill rating of 0]. Using any limiting rules for Extended Tests of course requires adjusting the Climbing rules - instead of an Extended Test with a Threshold based on the distance traveled x modifier, it is a Success Test with a distance traveled equal to Hits modifier.

QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
My thinking on the matter is that even restricted gear is hard for shadowrunners to get through legitimate channels. Especially if they don't have a license for that gear yet.

Which is why they go through black market channels, using the rules provided for doing so [Availability Test].

QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
Also just knowing who sells illegal gear is not enough to be able to purchase it.

Which is why Availability Tests use Negotiation. This is honestly the only part of the availability rules I do not like apart from "On Hand" [above]. It should use a Data Search to locate the gear, & Negotiation to aquire it. Unfortuantly, this falls apart with Data Search being limited to matrix searching and not in-person intel gathering. None of the social skills fit particularly well for in-person searching, but Negotiation does make the most sense, which is probably why they use it.

QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
As to which contacts are appropriate for what gear, I decide it on a case by case basis. I try to make contacts that my players have real people. I haven't done that too much yet, but for each contact I try to develop a personality and short back story. Then it becomes easier to know weather the contact would be able to obtain a specific piece of gear.

No. Decide what categories of gear a contact can acquire based on their archtype. For example, a Street Doctor can acquire drugs, augmentation, & medical equipment. It doesn't matter who the contact is, it matters what they are. Note that Fixers are not good at acquiring gear - they are good at locating people who can acquire gear, & getting them to do so. From a player standpoint, this is essentially identical, but it may become relevant.

QUOTE (graymagiker @ Feb 11 2010, 06:13 PM) *
Aside from this I have decided that, at least for the moment, some gear is completely unavailable to the runners. I have done this to maintain a mood that the runners may have cash, but there are still things that are out of reach. This, I feel, gives them incentive to keep running and trying for 'that one big score'. Also, I feel that the availability of some items in the core book is too low, so until I can work out a good system for them I have severely limited anything with an availability higher than 12, except for a few specific items.

And that is fine, as long as it is also unavailable to anyone else [except possibly the producers]. New prototype weapon or cutting-edge nanocyber implant? Sure, they can't get it. Anything actually available in the game world is also available to the players, assuming they have sufficient funds and contacts or skills.
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