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> Crime Pays, But How much does it pay?
Dez384
post May 12 2011, 04:05 AM
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So, I'll be running a campaign in the fall and am unsure on how much to pay for a job.

Any advice on a scale to determine how much to pay a team of shadowrunners?
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TheOOB
post May 12 2011, 04:12 AM
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Depends on the style of campaign you are running. Assuming your using shadowrunners, as skilled professionals, and not street level crooks, you should, over the long run, give about 2-2.5k nuyen per karma you award. This doesn't have to be every run, but over time, though keep in mind that shadowrunners usually won't get out of bed for less than 5k, and won'y get into serious danger for less than 10k.

Regardless of what you pay, remember to base it on Karma, because thats how you keep your party balanced. If you give too much karma and not enough cash, your awakened characters will start to dominate(as they need lots of karma, but get little benefit from cash when compared to other characters).
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CanRay
post May 12 2011, 04:13 AM
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UCAS$1000 and a gift certificate for 500 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) worth of product at Stuffer Shack.

What? The criminal scum aren't worth any more than that!

Details would be helpful.
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Halflife
post May 12 2011, 04:17 AM
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QUOTE (CanRay @ May 12 2011, 12:13 AM) *
UCAS$1000 and a gift certificate for 500 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) worth of product at Stuffer Shack.

What? The criminal scum aren't worth any more than that!

Details would be helpful.


Really Canray your price quotes have come up since 2010

QUOTE (CanRay @ Jul 30 2010, 05:41 PM) *
5 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) in UCAS Dollars and some gift certificates for a Stuffer Shack.


(IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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Halflife
post May 12 2011, 04:19 AM
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Amusingly this is the first example question on "Searching the Dumpshock Forums"


http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=34331

http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=32096

http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=32282
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Mr. Hollis
post May 12 2011, 04:21 AM
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Odd - I read both of those lines as the same thing. Admittedly, the nuyen value of the gift certificate has gone up.

I've run things a bit loose with pay, but generally, if there is any serious danger of group members getting geeked [say, when paid to hunt down a hitman who took out a similar group to the PC's], then I run a six-figure minimum at the group level. Usually breaks down to 20-25k each in good ol' Nuyen.
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Dez384
post May 12 2011, 04:23 AM
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The campaign would be a fairly Pink Mohawk game set in the Caribbean League. The players include 2 powergamers, 1 self-limiting powergamer, and 3 casual players looking for a good time.
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Halflife
post May 12 2011, 04:28 AM
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I love that my description is "Self-Limiting Powergamer"
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Dez384
post May 12 2011, 04:34 AM
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QUOTE (Halflife @ May 12 2011, 12:19 AM) *
Amusingly this is the first example question on "Searching the Dumpshock Forums"

Hadn't seen that document, but my search for "regular payments" didn't return the same topics that yours did. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sleepy.gif)

QUOTE (Halflife @ May 12 2011, 12:28 AM) *
I love that my description is "Self-Limiting Powergamer"

You only powergame at plot centric moments. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif)
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Halflife
post May 12 2011, 04:37 AM
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Always have an ace in the hole...
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longbowrocks
post May 12 2011, 04:45 AM
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Just get them each a pony. But don't get crazy. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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Epicedion
post May 12 2011, 05:15 AM
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It depends on the size of the group.

For my group of 3, I usually offer them between 15k and 30k, depending on the difficulty of the run, and then let the negotiator take a crack at Mr. Johnson for 5-10% per net hit on top of that. About 10k per runner for a combat-heavy run is about right.

Then, I usually give them options to make more (paydata or other expensive goods to fence) or less (expensive equipment not provided by Mr. Johnson that they have to acquire) depending on exactly how hurting for cash they are.

Also, incidents can cause PCs to have to spend extra money on replacement gear. For example, in a recent run, one of my PCs lost his Ares Alpha, spare assault rifle ammo, and grenades, because they made a major misstep and got their van blown up by a crazy dwarf with a rocket launcher. He later dropped 6k on the full HK modular package, because of that.

But then, on that run the team picked up an extra 50k worth of certified credstick because that same crazy dwarf with the rocket launcher murdered their smuggler contact, and they didn't have to pay (an option was to appease the dwarf with the smuggler's payment). They lost a stolen van and some expensive weaponry/ammo, and gained a whole lot of extra pain, but picked up a major payday for their trouble.

TL;DR -- just keep an eye on the team's cash reserves. When they're low, give them meager pay with major chances to earn big. When they're high, give them reasonable to high pay, with major chances to lose big. And then mix it up occasionally to keep them guessing about how hard things are really going to be.
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Irion
post May 12 2011, 08:07 AM
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Depends on the run:
Stealing a high price (about several millions) piece of art might easy give you 100.000 to 500.000 for the run.

Firebombing something might give you a bullet to the head.
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Ascalaphus
post May 12 2011, 10:38 AM
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There's a few tables floating around in old books, but those have always been controversial. You have to make up your own mind, but here are some things to consider:



Campaign Style
In a Barrens/Street game, rewards shouldn't be too high. Otherwise it takes just a few jobs to move into a nicer standard of living. Johnsons view the PCs as dispensable; there's more where they came from. The game will be gritty, the threat of starvation is always there. Conserving ammo and looting enemies' weapons is normal.

In a Prime Runner/high roller game, big payouts are more the norm. The team tends to have pricey lifestyles, and lots of expenses, such as replacing several drones after a run. The PCs will be highly skilled, and not easy to replace for a Johnson. Paying a retainer to the PCs just to get some vestigial loyalty isn't out of the question. Looting is unusual; compared to the mission payout, stealing the guns of normal guards looks absurd. Of course, if they happen to find some random lightweight valuables, they might still pick them up, but looting doesn't happen much.

If you had to hire someone to shoot down a drug dealer in the Barrens, 5K doesn't sound outlandish. Some punk with a gun can do it. If you want the UCAS President shot down, the payout will have to be higher; a desperate man might do it for 100K, but even that's a bit low.

Say to yourself: "I'm Mr. Johnson, and I want you people to do $CRIME with absolute secrecy. I think $AMOUNT would be a reasonable compensation." Does it sound plausible?


Risk vs. Reward
The payout should measure up to the expected risks and difficulties. It should be more profitable than easy, less risky forms of crime like mugging or carjacking. (Carjacking has complications too, but not usually Red Samurai level complications.)

A milk run doesn't have to pay much. If the runners aren't interested, Johnson can get another team easily enough. Milk runs are a buyer's market.

Difficult runs on the other hand - there may not be many teams that can do a certain job. A seller's market, and the runners can make more demands.

A run with a high chance of meeting deadly opposition should pay accordingly. Even for desperate, SINless shadowrunners there are better options than suicide for pennies. Like mugging.



Worth to Johnson
Why does Johnson want the run? What profit does the company make if it succeeds? What are the risks if it goes wrong (public!)? What is the Return On Investment?

Suppose a successful run would get the Company profits of 1 million, a failure fines of 2 million, and not trying anything does nothing either way.

Now suppose Team A has a 80% chance of success. They want 50K to do it. The company's expectations would be:
0.8 * 1M = 800K (success chance times success gains)
0.2 * -2M = -400K (failure chance times failure price)
Result = 200K
ROI: 200K / 50K = 400%
Net Profits: 200K - 50K = 150K

Team B has a 95% chance of success, but wants 200K to do it. The Company thinks:
0.95 * 1M = 950K
0.05 * -2M = 100K
Result = 850K
ROI 850K / 200K = 425%
Net Profits: 850K - 200K = 650K

Johnson is here (probably!) to make profit. As you see, Team B makes much more profit despite being more expensive, so it makes sense to choose them. As a team, it's extremely important to look competent, you can ask a much higher fee for your work.

Of course, you can replace Team by Plan; if the PCs have to sacrifice expensive drones in Plan B, to get that extra 15% chance of success, they can argue about that with Johnson. (Better have a good Negotiator.)

There's been a lot of discussions along the lines of "Johnson is greedy and wants to pay at little as necessary". Sure, but I think that his overriding concern is to make sure the mission succeeds, because most of his profits depend on the success/failure of the mission.



Expenses vs. Progress
Some part of the money has to go towards replacing damaged stuff - drones can become very expensive. It's not unreasonable for the team to agree that part of all the payout is reserved for Repair & Replacement, and that therefore a bigger share of the payout goes to the rigger than to the mage (who doesn't hemorrhage money when he goes on a mission).

Besides keeping the status quo, all the PCs need to get some progress; otherwise players become frustrated. Augmentation costs accelerate quickly once you move beyond Standard grade into Alpha+. A street sam or rigger without money to buy new toys stagnates, and that's little fun to play.



Effect on the Players
When you pay more, what do the players do with the money? If they go on a roleplaying spree, spending it on expensive joygirls and gambling, then being generous with the payout is safe-ish; it doesn't impact the power level all that much.

On the other hand, if the players are always crunching numbers, trying to squeeze out the money for new superpowered equipment as quickly as possible, you need to be more careful with the money.

Watch the players' reactions. Ideally, the size of a payout makes them greedy enough to attempt a mission they aren't entirely certain they can handle. Enough money that they feel they got out of bed for a good reason, but enough that they still want more afterwards.



Putting it into practice
Yeah, now it gets tricky. How high to start? I guess it's better to start out on the lower side; it's easier to increase payments if it turns out to be too little. But if you started too high, it's hard to lower the rate for the next job.
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Ascalaphus
post May 12 2011, 10:48 AM
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Three more things to consider:

Payout vs. Loot
It's silly if the loot is usually more profitable than the payout. Make sure the payout is bigger than the loot, unless there's some special situation.



Loyalty Incentive
So the PCs have stolen $GIMMICK. That thing is worth millions, and the PCs know it. Why wouldn't they sell it to someone else for more?
A) They're being paid enough for it
B) They have a reputation to protect; this isn't retirement money yet, and if they betray Johnson, it'll be bad for the chance at further jobs.
C) Johnson has a stick as well as a carrot.



Retirement Money
Why are the PCs running? What is the PCs' motivation?

One cyberpunk/SR cliche is that the PCs are SINless, need income badly just to stay alive, and hope to eventually retire with enough money to buy a SIN, Permanent Luxury Lifestyle and a private island. In that case, does it make sense to buy deltaware? That money goes a long way towards buying your retirement.

Of course, PCs aren't the same as characters in a novel. Their "IC" motivation is often that the player wants more toys to take on an adventure. This is a weird roleplaying thing.

Some characters aren't in it for the money; they want Revenge For A Lost Loved One, or perhaps Fight Against Corporate Injustice in some convoluted way. In that case, money isn't always the prime motivation for a run, and the profit can be lower if some other motivation is justified.
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nezumi
post May 12 2011, 01:20 PM
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Also realize this varies by edition and PC experience level. In 3rd, a run (which normally takes 1-2 gaming sessions) would earn $5k to $30k per character for low to moderate experience levels, and $15-$100k for higher levels. Lower payouts are due to charity, unexected interference, easy runs, low-value runs, runs with significant resources provided, or looting opportunities. Higher payouts are due to difficult or high-value jobs, limited time and resources, or payment via barter (such as cyberware for a quarter of its street cost).
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James McMurray
post May 12 2011, 02:38 PM
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I use the pay scale from Missions. ((3,000 + (2,000 * TR)) * (Number of PCs)

TR = "Table Rating" or "Tier Rating" and is based on the average karma in the group. The chart is in all of the downloadable missions adventures and also here. If the run is particulary dangerous I up the reward. If it's easier than normal it goes down. On average there's one run per month.

So far it's kept the more financially oriented hungry while giving the adept money to blow on whatever he feels like buying that day. The PC who's deep In Debt to Mitsuhama has even gone so far as to take a Day Job to try and keep up her payments, and everyone is on the lookout for the extra tidbits in a job that will net them some more cash.
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Wakshaani
post May 12 2011, 04:18 PM
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The oldest (And most incindiary!) question in Shadowrun, I do believe.

The blanket answer if, of course, "It depends."

Running a jet-setting game where your team taunts Lofwyr (again), hobnobs with Damien Knight, and keeps Harlequin on speed dial, ten grand is an insult.

Running a low-end game where your team struggles to pay rent, considers a fresh pack of smokes a luxury, and has to rely on second-hand cyberwear, well, ten grand is a windfall.

For me, the rule of thumb is this:

If the runners engage in one run a month, it should pay enough to cover their lifestyle and basic operating expenses (Ammo, some bribes, but not new gear) ... About one in three give a windfall of extra cash, to allow "power ups" of new gear, upgrading the team van, maybe a nice new program or a down payment on a ner bit of cyber, etc.

If they engage in weekly missions, the reward should be cut roughly in quarter.

If they only do a mission every three months, teh reward should be triple.

Toss in a few 'Pro bono' missions now and then, where the team goes to help out a contact or where the Johnson has screwed them over, that give a bit of extra karma to replace the msising cash, knowing that the eventual windfall missions will even it out.

Three last bits on pay.

First, the Johnson should be awarding a set fee for the job... let the runners figure out how to split it up. A Johnson that says "X nuyen per person" is gonna be a might upset when the crew expands to fifty when cousins, aunts, uncles, etc get called up. Let the team figure out if everyone should get paid the same, if there should be a bonus system, if the 'talent' mage gets more than the 'common' gunbunny, etc.

Second, half up front, half on the backend is normal for advanced runners but low end ones should expect 25-75, 10-90, or even "Nothing until it's done".

Third, don't forget about other runner teams! If your group has been snotty to Mr Johnson too many times, feel free to bring in a few other runner teams who are either more professional or who charge less and who start snapping up jobs. The runner team goes in, negotiates with Mr J, is asked to step outside, then sees anothe rteam outside smoking and chatting about the job, then a THIRD team goes in behind them and gets interviewed while the other two teams talk. Mr Johnson picks one of teh other guys, leaving your group to stew in unemployment. Drop one or two of these on their head and they'll be acting a *lot* better at jobinter views from then on.
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DireRadiant
post May 12 2011, 04:40 PM
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You can model the shadowrun economy and come up with as complex an econometric model as you like.

Or you can pay them more then they need, but less then they want.

Don't know what they need or want? Talk to your players, they have the answers. Not dumpshock.

And rewards are more then nuyen, it may be karma, it may be screen time, it may be in game favors and connections. It's as complex as the world you play in. But in the end it's about fun.

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Loch
post May 12 2011, 05:10 PM
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QUOTE (Dez384 @ May 11 2011, 11:23 PM) *
The players include 2 powergamers, 1 self-limiting powergamer, and 3 casual players looking for a good time.


I don't exactly see how that's relevant to compensation for runs. A powergamer worthy of the name shouldn't worry about getting paid enough money to buy gear, as they'll already have close to the best gear they can get (unless you WANT players to have milspec gear). Whether your group is hard and spiky or soft and fuzzy doesn't really have any bearing on how much you want to pay the characters, unless you have a personal vendetta against one or the other group.

I also take umbrage at being called a "casual player" (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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Halflife
post May 12 2011, 05:32 PM
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I disagree that group makeup isn't relevant, mostly for the reasons Ascalaphus mentioned

QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ May 12 2011, 05:38 AM) *
Effect on the Players
When you pay more, what do the players do with the money? If they go on a roleplaying spree, spending it on expensive joygirls and gambling, then being generous with the payout is safe-ish; it doesn't impact the power level all that much.

On the other hand, if the players are always crunching numbers, trying to squeeze out the money for new superpowered equipment as quickly as possible, you need to be more careful with the money.

Watch the players' reactions. Ideally, the size of a payout makes them greedy enough to attempt a mission they aren't entirely certain they can handle. Enough money that they feel they got out of bed for a good reason, but enough that they still want more afterwards.

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Dez384
post May 12 2011, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE (Loch @ May 12 2011, 01:10 PM) *
I don't exactly see how that's relevant to compensation for runs. A powergamer worthy of the name shouldn't worry about getting paid enough money to buy gear, as they'll already have close to the best gear they can get (unless you WANT players to have milspec gear). Whether your group is hard and spiky or soft and fuzzy doesn't really have any bearing on how much you want to pay the characters, unless you have a personal vendetta against one or the other group.

I also take umbrage at being called a "casual player" (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)


The group composition can affect how much I need to worry about giving out too much cash. 3 Players will spend their cash on hookers and blow, 2 will pinch every penny to get the biggest toys, and the 6th with buy seemingly innocuous pieces of equipment to Macguyver some "ace in the hole" with which to slap me across the face at a proper moment.
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nezumi
post May 12 2011, 05:54 PM
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I do sometimes see GMs make money scarce to encourage the feeling of desperation. Unfortunately, it hurts some archetypes a lot more than others, and encourages a lot of not shadowrunny behavior, like scavening parts. Instead of that, I try to pay in goods, to make sure the rigger and street sam can stay competitive with the mages, provide reasonably high paychecks, but then enforce the optional monthly booze, whores and child support costs.

Providing gear like this also helps to control the power levels. You can decide what gear is available for what character, to make sure your power gamers don't sell your kids to the bunraku parlor and manage to blow it all on enhanced articulation before his crippling heroin habit catches up to his fat wallet.
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KCKitsune
post May 12 2011, 06:53 PM
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QUOTE (Dez384 @ May 12 2011, 01:33 PM) *
The group composition can affect how much I need to worry about giving out too much cash. 3 Players will spend their cash on hookers and blow, 2 will pinch every penny to get the biggest toys, and the 6th with buy seemingly innocuous pieces of equipment to Macguyver some "ace in the hole" with which to slap me across the face at a proper moment.

Players 1, 2, & 3 should get a small amount of Karma for better roleplaying. Players 4 & 5 should get nothing. Player 6... player 6 should also get a Karma bonus because of his crazy MacGuyver plans. If nothing else, the comedy value.
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Loch
post May 12 2011, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE (KCKitsune @ May 12 2011, 01:53 PM) *
Players 1, 2, & 3 should get a small amount of Karma for better roleplaying. Players 4 & 5 should get nothing. Player 6... player 6 should also get a Karma bonus because of his crazy MacGuyver plans. If nothing else, the comedy value.


You're not seriously suggesting that the GM should award more/less Karma to a character based on what the player is like, are you? It's not as though so-called "powergamers" are incapable of good roleplay or storytelling. Punishing a character for a player's own approach to the game just reeks of metagaming to me, and I don't think it's fair to encourage that kind of behavior, on either side of the screen.
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