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> Starting a Low-Level Campaign With BeCKs, How much karma to start?
Gyro the Greek S...
post Nov 10 2004, 03:39 AM
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I was thinking around 260 or so.

I don't want to cripple the players, but I do want to start out some beginning, realistic Shadowrunners, with the assumption that a skill level of 3 is something your normal wageslave or what have you has in something they do as a typical job.

I want some feedback on this, as to what other people think.
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RedmondLarry
post Nov 10 2004, 03:37 AM
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Make two characters that you think of as "typical" for your campaign, one magical and one mundane, and determine their Becks cost. Use their average cost as the limit for your players.

A low-power game is recommended for experienced players, but many people don't recommend it for beginning players.
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Glyph
post Nov 10 2004, 03:54 AM
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The runners that you can create using the normal char-gen systems or BeCKS with 425 Karma are the ones who are a bit better than an "average" runner, the kind who, with some luck and perserverance, might make it into the upper echelon of running someday.

If you create lower-powered characters who are really "beginners", then they are not shadowrunners... just small-time criminals who might become runners someday. There's nothing wrong with starting out an alternate-type campaign with more of a "Lock, Stock, and Three Smoking Barrels" feel to it, as long as you realize that you also need to scale back the kind of jobs they do and challenges that they face.

Personally, I think 275 or 300 would be better. It's still low-powered, but at least the runners will be tough enough to be credible criminals. You may want to be more generous with Karma awards, too, because otherwise low-powered campaigns can get pretty stagnant, character improvement-wise.

I also agree with OurTeam about such settings being better for more experienced players. They are also best for more experienced GMs, since they tend to be heavier on things like the social actions between characters and NPCs, and balancing character creation at a lower power level is deceptively difficult to do.
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tjn
post Nov 10 2004, 04:06 AM
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That depends largely upon what you (and your players) consider a Shadowrunner.

Personally, for me, there is no such thing as a "beginning" Shadowrunner. A Shadowrunner is a specialist and damn good at his job. He's someone who has been in the business for some time already and has gained the experience needed to function in the Shadows.

I see the people who will become runners as the 16 y/o guttertrash, gangers or runaways. They're already in the seedy underbelly of the sprawl, already learning the skills needed to become a runner. There are no job faires for runners, and people can't up and decide to become a runner without already being introduced to the Shadows. Most runners grow up in the SINless barrens because running and crime are the easiest ticket out of there. Runners are drafted from the desperate.

Now, there are runners who get introduced to running at a later time, but they are the rarity IMO. And they either learn to swim really fast, have a skill set that is easily transferable to the Shadows, or wind up ghoul chow.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Nov 10 2004, 07:01 AM
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I did it with 350 Karma, though that was with BeCKS v1. That was enough to allow for decent magical characters, as well as riggers and deckers and anything else. It wasn't exactly "low-level", the characters were more like veteran organized crime operators just about to become "real" shadowrunners.

If you go with 300 and below, you've really got to start thinking about awakened characters, whether you want to have any in the game and how to allow for lower-powered magical characters at less Karma cost. If you start with 260 Karma, paying 90 to be a Mage and then 30+ to get some spells is prohibitively expensive, not to mention extremely unbalanced compared to the mundane characters if someone actually does it. For example, only giving Magic 3 (and 3 Power Points for adepts), perhaps limiting Astral Projection and Conjuring until the mage buys his way up to Magic 6, but also lowering the cost of becoming a mage to a suitable level.

And I agree with Glyph: I absolutely would not call 250-300 Karma "realistic shadowrunners". But then I would also give much higher a rating than 3 to someone who works with a skill daily. Depends, of course, on how important one skill is to the particular job, but Joe Doctor in my games could easily have Biotech 5/Surgery 7, plus a number of peripheral skills and the Biotech-related Knowledge skill, Chemistry, Biology, etc, at respectable ratings.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 10 2004, 04:19 PM
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My general recommendation for these types of questions is almost always the same: Talk with the players and tell them what sort of game you're aiming for, and what kind of characters (particularly power levels) you're wanting to see.

You'd be amazed at how well it works when you actually talk to people rather than throw a bunch of limiting rules on 'em. Even if the intent is benign, major limitations like those often included in "low level campaigns" can appear to be a downer even for experienced players... especially when those limitations stop you from creating a character that fits the power level but is otherwise impossible to create (this is often true of magician characters).
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Garland
post Nov 10 2004, 04:26 PM
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I used 120 karma (not counting points spend on race) to simulate high-schoolers. That's probably a little more low-level than we're talking about though...
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Gyro the Greek S...
post Nov 10 2004, 11:39 PM
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Heh.

In case you're curious, I happen to be a GM with a couple of years experience under my belt. My players average at about one year of play.

Typically, however, I run average or higher than normal power games, and wanted to try something a little different. Wading into new waters, I sent out said posting. I've been having my players come up with character concepts before I get to assigning point cost.

I always figured 3 was average, but apparently this is not shared by everyone. What is considered average Joe Schmoe skill level at the job they work at?

Thanks for all your replies, this has helped a great deal.
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Gyro the Greek S...
post Nov 11 2004, 01:15 AM
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Nevermind, I'll just start a new thread for it...

Thanks again!
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