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> Rolling a Face Without Facerolling a Face, Looking for guidance that *doesn't* include Pornomancy
2XS
post Sep 15 2015, 01:32 AM
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I want to play a character akin to Raymond Reddington from "Blacklist:" a guy who seems to know everyone worth knowing, and by networking with people can make impressive things happen.

What contacts do I need beyond a Fixer? It seems like that one contact is kind of a golden ticket to godhood for a Face, like I almost don't need other contacts.

The rules for negotiation seem poorly written in SR4 as well. Prices seem determined by external circumstances rather than your skill as a negotiator. Anyone else see this as an issue? If so, what can I do about it? If not, what am I missing?

Apart from sweet talking his way past a guard, how do you see Faces contributing to the group, and what separates a good Face from some jackass with a high Charisma?
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2XS
post Sep 15 2015, 01:39 AM
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Crap, doubleclicked or something, didn't mean to post this twice. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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SpellBinder
post Sep 15 2015, 04:21 AM
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There's the old "Contacts and Adventures" book for SR4 that has a large listing of contact archtypes, not to mention Runner's Companion or the core rule book itself. Yes, Run Faster also has a listing of sample contacts, but one thing I like about the older books are the one's that aren't so obviously listed; the "Similar Contacts" that sometimes overlap.

And I certainly wouldn't rely on just one Fixer, especially if it's the same Fixer that got you the job in the first place. In one of my stories was a bounty hunter character in Denver who knew a beat cop in each of the four sectors as well as someone within the ZDF, among some of her contacts. For an upcoming story the Face is detailed as having a fixer, bartender, pawn broker, Tacoma dockworker, and a DocWagon medic among his contacts; as he's not a green runner I am likely to add more to this list. If I look at my long standing main story character, he has smugglers, gangers, fixers and johnsons, arms dealers, hackers, a mafia consiglieri, a talismonger, a musician and an artist, hooker, grocery store owner, at least one bartender, and artificial intelligence all as contacts, and all across several cities (mostly on North America). And this character was, and primarily still is, a hacker. Could he be a Face? Sure, maybe, he does have Charisma 6 & Influence 3 (in SR4 mechanics, mind you), but he does have a bit of a smart mouth and sometimes slips into cowboy diplomacy to really do that job consistently well.

To me a Face is a fast talker, an impersonator, an interrogator, someone who could easily make a lot of friends growing up and actually stay in touch with them years later (maybe some of them hitting it really big like a famous simsense writer, or just a lowly janitor at the busiest hospital in the city), and is especially good at knowing when not to say something. And networking isn't going to be just knowing the people, but knowing people who know people of their own to help get things done (like this little bit from Smokey And The Bandit). A high Charisma isn't necessary, but it certainly won't hurt. Well, maybe in SR5 with the social limits a battery of high mental attributes are necessary.
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Glyph
post Sep 15 2015, 04:46 AM
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I did a more traditional face here.

A face is someone non-threatening who can represent the team in delicate negotiations, and someone who can keep things cool in the many dealings that shadowrunners have with nervous people with guns. He knows people who can get stuff for him, who can do stuff for him, and who can give him information. He is a social chameleon who can fit in nearly anywhere.

A good face should obviously have high social skills, but also some disguise/blending in ability, high perception, a decent commlink and a decent level of ability at data searching (or a good agent), lots of languages (or linguisofts), and a network of contacts who can do the three functions listed in the previous paragraph. It also helps to have a powerful but concealable weapon for those times when all of the schmoozing in the world won't avert violence.

The face can help with the legwork before the run, the run itself (the parts that depend on social engineering), and possibly the exfiltration if it is one of his contacts getting everyone out of there rather than the team rigger.


On the fixer contact - they are the best all-around contacts, but they are middle men. They can get stuff for you or hook you up with people who can help you, but they will always take their cut, so it will be more expensive than going directly to that arms dealer, or disgruntled wage slave with some inside information, etc.
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Blade
post Sep 15 2015, 10:02 AM
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Shadowrun isn't made to play characters who "know everyone". In Shadowrun, this is more the role of a fixer than a face. A face is someone who handles social situations on the fly. He might have some useful contacts here and there, but he's more about dealing with strangers than dealing with associates.

Due to the ways contacts rule work, you can't get that many contacts at chargen (at least not while having correct stats and skills) and these contacts will always be clearly defined so unless you get each and every possible kind of contacts in each and every possible organization, you are unlikely to be able to say "oh wait, I know a guy there who owes me a favor".

This makes some sense: if the Face could solve runs by calling the right people, then it'd be as exciting as if the rigger could send his drones do the job (or the mage his spirits) and wait for them to come back.

So my advice would be to get a good Fixer friend (and/or multiple fixers) and be the guy "who knows a guy who knows a guy" rather than the guy "who knows a guy".
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2XS
post Sep 15 2015, 11:02 PM
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This probably enters the realm of house-rules, but what would you require to allow someone to acquire a new contact beyond just meeting them? I mean Loyalty rating 1 basically amounts to having someones phone number, but what would you need to do to impress someone enough to give it to you?
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Blade
post Sep 16 2015, 10:56 AM
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In all games I've played, this has always been a purely roleplaying experience. I've seen some people suggest that contacts should be bought with karma, to represent the investment into the relationship and to make it easier to buy new contacts or better loyalty/connectivity for existing contacts when playing the same character on one-shots games with different GM.
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BlackJaw
post Sep 16 2015, 06:34 PM
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I'm not a fan of telling someone they can't have the kind of character they want. If you want to play a Fixer/Face in the style of Raymond Reddington, I think that can be arranged. You will end up spending a lot karma on contacts, but properly chosen, you should be able to call in useful favors from one contact or another for nearly any run. Is that as efficient as spending karma on powers or chrome? probably not, but I bet you could still get a playable character out of it, and if it's fun for you, then go for it.

For the purpsoes of this character concept, I'm assuming a Seattle Sprawl area character, and one with standing and influence within that region, instead of the global reach of Reddington.

Build your character as more or less like a standard Face. High charisma is important, so consider being an elf. Along with the standard face and runner skills, focus heavily on Negotiation, as it's the skill that is used to get favors out of contacts, and you will be all about contacts. When it comes time to pick Knowledge skills, take a lot of Street Knowledge related to Seattle area communities that are likely to come up for a runner. These skills represent how informed your character is, which was a big feature of Reddignton.
Seatle Street Gangs
UCAS Politics, Spec: Seattle
Seattle Organized Crime
Security Companies, Spec: Seattle Sec Corps
At least a rank in each of the big 10 corps, with a specialization in "Seattle Operations" for each one.

Lastly, when buying a lifestyle, don't forget to pickup a safe house or bolt hole option.

If you can find any qualities that boost your reputation, consider taking them. (I can't think of any right now.)

Hopefully I'm not missing any important rules here (like a cap on Contacts)...

Ok, so the contacts:

First of all, you character is a fixer, so don't take a fixer as a contact. Instead take a virtual contact representing the local shadow community VPN. I recommend ShadowSEA for Seattle. (P130 Runners Companion). This way, when your team needs a shadows related service or introduction that a fixer normally provides, you personally take care of it instead of going to someone else to act as the middle man. Arms deals, coyotes, and the rest happen through this VPN, and your loyalty in it represents your standing and ability to get connections and information out of it. This will be an expensive contact, but it will also be the one to seal your character's status as a connected member of the local shadow community. The network won't provide you favors, but it will provide you information and connections to others.
Connection 4, Loyalty 4, +4 membership, +2 sprawl-wide, +1 Magic, +2 matrix

A local high ranking officer in the police (Knights Errant or Lonestar depending on time period in Seattle) makes for a crazy useful contact for things like delaying police response, making evidence disappear, or getting cops to hassle someone. To get this level of corruption, the cop will need to be highly placed and a good friend, so this is an expensive contact, but one that can really pay off in favors. Connection 5 is high enough to be Captain for the sprawl's primary police contract.
Connection 5, Loyalty 4

A go-gang leader makes for a helpful contact. Sometimes useful for gang information, but being able to call in some gang thugs for back-up or distraction is useful in a lot of places. Being good friends with the leader of a small but violent gang is my recommendation. This is a contact you will sometimes call for combat direct assistance, so make the person a good friend.
Connection 3, Loyalty 5

You'll want one contact that is highly placed in local government. A primary political & campaign advisory to the Mayor, for example... or maybe a deputy mayor. Someone that's involved in the dirty side of politics: favors for favors, cover-ups, etc. Again, this not a friend you trust, but someone you are friendly with. You've probably worked with them before in this area. High level political operators are useful for their connections and access.
Connection 4, Loyalty 3

I also recommend a contact in the local underworld. A lieutenant in the mob, vory, triads, etc. Someone that will know what is going on in the underworld, and that can help you with making contacts.
Connection 4, Loyalty 3

You're also going to want some specific people for their direct skills:

You're also going to want to know a hacker. Not the street-level decker, that should be a member of your team, but a remote data trawling, encrypted file breaking, illicit software source kind of a hacker. I recommend picking a Technomancer, so you can call in favors like loaned Sprites. I'd probably describe the character as being a little weird to highlight how strange it is that the two of you are so friendly, because that's how Reddington operates.
Connection 2, Loyalty 4

If you have the karma, do a similar contact to the technomancer but as a shaman, someone that can loan you spirits and get you information from the awakened community
Connection 2, Loyalty 4

At some point your team is going to need a medic. The kind that patches up bullet wounds without asking questions, even if it's 3am. This contact can be a basic business transaction, but you do want to trust your doctor, and you want them to pick up the phone at 3am. Access to a doctor can have other uses sometimes overlooked, such as getting the right drugs to knock out a target for easier extraction.
Connection 2, Loyalty 3.

I could come up with a lot more contacts to burn karma on, but most of them can be covered by the ShadowSEA VPN.
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2XS
post Sep 16 2015, 08:04 PM
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Excellent response, tyvm. I really, really need to pick up the Runner's Companion, though. I don't have rules for Safehouses, VPNs, or listings of some contacts.

This payday, it's gonna happen, dammit.
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BlackJaw
post Sep 16 2015, 09:18 PM
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QUOTE (2XS @ Sep 16 2015, 01:04 PM) *
Excellent response, tyvm. I really, really need to pick up the Runner's Companion, though. I don't have rules for Safehouses, VPNs, or listings of some contacts.

This payday, it's gonna happen, dammit.


You're going to want to get to know the contact rules from the core rulebook, as they will be your primary way of getting things out of your contacts.

First of all, Legwork.
This is how you get information from or through your contacts.
Typically if you contacts knows something, and you ask for it, they tell you. The GM may roll their stats to find out if they know something. If telling you would put them at risk (such as a polotical opperative not wanting to give up secrets) then you need to make a Negotiation roll (+Loyalty) to that information.
If they don't know the information, they can try to find out for you from their own network of contacts. The GM will roll their Charisma + Connection.

Networking is when you use a contact to introduce you to someone else.
Again, if there is any risk, such as using a mob contact to try and get you in contact with a Yakuza under-boss, you will need to make a negotiation roll (+Loyalty) to get them to try. If they agree, they will make a Charisma + Connection roll to try and make the introduction. If they fail, they might still get you someone close, such as a Yakuza enforcer instead of the under-boss.

The Swag rules is basically using the contact to buy and sell instead of doing it yourself. For example, you could ask your Mob contact to buy some explosives for you. This is basically the same as buying and selling things yourself, but the contact makes the rolls using their Charisma + Negotiation + Connection rating to find and make the transation, and they charge you a fee related to their connection rating for the effort. In the case of your character, you're probably better off doing this on your own, as your Charisma + Negotiation will likely be a very large dice pool. Additionally, you won't have to pay the finder's fee... and keep reading about discounts.

There are two kinds of Favors your character can seek:

Business favors are when you use a contact for their standard purpose (such as getting medical treatment from a street doc). You can get a friendship discounter through your contact by rolling Charisma + Negotiation + Loyalty (they roll their negotiation too) and each hit each of you gets alter the price by 10%. In other words if you roll higher than them, for each hit over theirs the price goes down by 10%.

Personal Favors are how you get anything else out of a contact, like having your police contact make evidence vanish. This is the mechanic that will make your character shine, depending on what your GM lets you do with it. The value of the favor is compared against a table rated 1 to 6, and if the favor rating is equal to or less than the Loyalty, the contact does it. Otherwise you roll Negation + Charisma to convince them to help you out. If you have to resort to rolling, you will owe them a favor in return (on success). Yes, this is one of the reasons you want your most useful favor contacts at high Loyalty. Your go-ganger buddy, police captain, shaman, and technomancer friends are likely to help you out with all kinds of situations.

These rules are a little open ended, and all are captured under a "if the GM says so" rules about even getting a hold of a contact.
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