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A quick question on your uses of the karma pool.

if a character has used up their K pool on rerolls, do you personally still allow them to burn up those permanent points on buying successes, or not? i personally don't think i'd allow it.
I wouldn't allow it. Permanant usage is still usage, so you have to have it first.
I don't think it has ever come up, but I'd probably allow it. Burning karma is a pretty huge sacrifice already.

Hell, we permanantly burn it on rerolls!
The only time I'll allow a point that has already been "spent" to be burned is for the hand of god. My players tend to hoard karma, avoiding the buying of successes at almost any cost, and then either have to lose it all on hand of god, or figure their characters are all unbalanced at 10 karma pool.

If they perma-burned karma more often, I'd give it out more freely. (Charlie, you reading this?)
As my characters only have Karma pools in the 2-4 range, it isn't so much of an issue for me. But if it ever did come up, I'd rule that you could spend it, but (obviously) your maximum Karma pool would decrease, so once your Karma Pool refreshes, it won't be as full due to the new lower maximum.
Ever since SR3 came out we used a house rule: Every player gets five free rerolls per game session, rest has to be bought with good karma.
I've had the same problem with my players; no one ever burns karma. Most of my players take rolling a new character over Hand of makes no sense to me *shrug*

I'd let them burn spent Karma; I think that's more than fair, considering every karma point they burn is 1 less reroll every session from then on.

I also though of using the stepped costs for rerolls(1 for first reroll, 2 for second, etc) over a session instead of each individual test; I think that would curb some of the more obscene Karma Pools longterm players develope, and make them them more willing to Burn Karma (a human character with a karma pool of 7 would need 30 more Good Karma to get an extra reroll, so that 7th point of pool looks like it wouldn't be missed as much...).

Other Karma Pool costs would remain the same as printed.

That would also kind of help PCs vs. NPCs with obscene Karma Pools (like Dragons) from just rerolling every test until the players died, and kind of even the playing field against some types of lower lvl goons and such with very low Karma Pools. Also slightly lessens Human vs. Metahuman karma missmatch; I think for a lot of character types (mostly deckers and riggers and magicians, whos important stats aren't pumped that much by non-human Metatypes), having 2x the karma pool is a monstrous advantage.
I just use the stepped karma pool rules from the Companion. That keeps karma pools in check, for the most part. It also gives humans one hell of a long-term advantage, so one should be somewhat careful with it.
The issue I have with Karma is that my most experienced PC is also the only non-Human in the group; an Elf to be exact. If she lives that long, she'll have a much larger Karma pool than the rest of the party in a few decades as the rest of the party struggles with arthritis, incontinence, and Alzheimers.

In my opinion, it's hard to be both realistic and balanced. Most RPGs try to give Humans the edge in adaptability and/or luck. In AD&D, non-humans were artificially limited to their class selectionand the maximum levels they could obtain. In old-SR, they gained Karma Pool dice faster than metahumans, and in SR4 they have +1 Edge.

Granted, I understand that game designers want to give us a reason to play Humans despite our inferior physical stats, but realistically I just don't buy it. There are non-statistical ways that the races balance. Elves are slower to reproduce. Orks and Trolls die young. Dwarves and Trolls can't use many human-sized items. All face prejudice of some form or another.
*/end rant
Personally, I tend to play humans (when I do play them (when I get to play)) because I don't have to pay points for them.

You know, outside of character reasons.
QUOTE (jervinator)
Elves are slower to reproduce.

In the context of your message you made it sound as though this were a game balance factor. How would it even come up?
Being a human in SR is a pretty big bonus in and of itself; it's easier to be ignored, it's easier to pass yourself off as a corporate suit/guard (for most corps anyway); it's easier to get into the trendy nightclubs than it would be for a trog. And if your in the Tir's, you can probably pass yourself off as an elf if you need to; without actually having to be an elf when you get home wink.gif
QUOTE (Apathy)
QUOTE (jervinator @ Dec 12 2005, 07:43 PM)
Elves are slower to reproduce.

In the context of your message you made it sound as though this were a game balance factor. How would it even come up?

Actually, this is more of a life-balance issue. However, it does mean that Humans will usually outnumber them in any area with a relatively diverse population. Either they gather closely in a smallish area (like Tir Tairngire) or they are too diffuse to make up a significant portion of the population.
After giving this some thought, I think I will start allowing players to burn spent karma. Might encourage them burn it more often.
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