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I used to give a base of about 5 or 6 karma for a mission in SR3. With SR4. i feel like the players need more karma then in earlier versions due to how you spend it. I don't want my players to become super elite in a month, but i also want to see them progress. any ideas?
See, the thing of it is, this is such a subjective topic. One person's "Super-elite" is another person's n00b. (or b00b, if you prefer nyahnyah.gif )
My advice is, just make your best guess. Decide how fast you want them to progress, try to figure how much karma that'd take, and make your best guess. I suppose it's probably better to err on the conservative side and give them less and increase if necessary. Players like to get more karma. They very rarely enjoy getting less. But in either case, be up front with your players and just remind them that you're all learning a new game, and karma awards may change.
I would also recommend that you talk to your players and make sure you have a concensus (or at least an understanding) of how fast they will be advancing, roughly speaking. If you're expecting them to go from gritty street punks to successful gritty street punks, but one player is expecting to go from gritty street punk to uber-elite-hyper-god-of-the-shadows, then (no matter how unrealistic his expectations) there will be surprise and badness there.

Sorry I'm not giving any concrete numbers or anything, I just don't feel like I can. Maybe if you want to give us a more extended description of how fast you want them to advance (i.e. the level of ability you percieve a 400bp character to have vs your perception of an advanced character and how many runs & how much time this will entail) then we can try to give you estimates of how much karma that would take, but more likely than not you'll just get flamed by people telling you how wrong your perceptions are of what a starting character vs. an experienced character is capable of. Even so, there's bound to be a few people who agree with you, so as long as you're expecting it you should be able to get something out of it.
hey, thanks man. plus i think ill just make everyone grow some boobs, that will solve everything. rotfl.gif My game only has 3 players, maybe 4 if we can get him to come and i play a npc/pc charater to do the hacking. We are a pretty gritty team and i don't think anyone wants to expect to become black opps anytime soon. I am doing the harlequin adventure with them, im on the hate, just to give them a feel of shadowrun. I try to give them enough money to get by and advance a little at a time, but i am always afraid that the team might feel like they arnt getting anywhere because alot of people get confused when they dont have a level hovering ontop of there head. i was giving them 5-6 karma, but i jumped to 8ish when i saw how you spend your karma in SR4. any comments?
Ha, nothing like Harlequin to make the runners feel like itty-bitty fish in a great big pond. I think 8ish sounds pretty good. They won't be increasing power in leaps and bounds, they'll have to save up for big expenditures, but otherwise will be able to raise a skill or learn a spell almost every run, so they feel constant improvement.
Raising a skill group from 4 to 5 costs 25 karma. Raising an attribute from 4 to 5 costs 15 karma. I'd happily hand out 40 karma before even worrying about how much karma my players had. Depending on how many sessions you expect your campaign to go, 10 - 15 karma per session still wouldn't get out of hand for a while.

Imagine that a game went for a year of weekly session at 10 karma per session. That would be 520 karma.

520 Karma buys the following:
- Raising two skill groups from 4 to 6 (110 karma)
- Buying the Aptitude quality and raising a skill from 6 to 7 (48 karma)
- Raising Edge from 4 to 6 (33 karma)
- Buying the exceptional attribute edge and raising an attribute from 5 to 7 (79 karma)
- Buying three new skills and raising their value to 4 with a specialization (93 karma)
- Buying a new skill group, raising it to four, breaking the group by raising a skill to five, and buying specializations for the four skills in the group (73 karma)
- Raising 3 attributes from 3 to 4 (36 karma)
- Buying off a 10 point negitive quality (20 karma)
- Buying the Toughness quality (20 karma)
- Raising a skill from 3 to 4 (8 karma)

That's a huge advancement for a mundane character. That brings a character from newbie Shadowrunner to extremely seasoned vetran. On the other hand, I wouldn't consider that an unreasonable level of advancement for a year of game play - I've rarely seen a game last that long and there's no reason for the characters not to advance significantly when one does.

The other factor is that people play non-mundane characters. Consider the cost for becoming a Magic 8 Initiate with a good spell selection after spending a point of essense.
- Initiate 3 times (48 karma)
- Raise magic attribute from 4 to 8 (78 karma)
- Learn 5 new spells (25 karma)
= 151 karma

In conclusion, 10 karma per session is probably a little high if you actually expect your game to last for 50 sessions. On the other hand, games rarely last that long. Seriously, for a long term game, I'd suggest handing out at least 10 karma per session for the first 10 sessions and then dropping to 5 karma per session after that. For a game that won't last more than 10 sessions or so, 15 karma per session is totally reasonable.

Another relevent point to consider is that a mundane human character will run out of reasonable stuff to get after about 600 karma (maxing out every attribute and active skill isn't generally reasonable). I'm betting that there will be more stuff to do with karma in new books before that happens in any real games. If I had a game where the characters had more than, say, 300 karma I'd actively work to find a good answer to the issue.
Lately with our break from school, we've played 2 or 3 times a week. Normally we play just once a week. My sessions last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. At the end of the game I ask them a series of questions. With appropriate answers I award karma.

My questions are usually as follows:

1. What did you learn in game?
2. What did you accomplish?
3. What will you do better next time?
4. How were you of help this last session?

I usually award 3 or 4 karma a game. I feel giving 10 is way too much unless it's something incredibly serious. Also, a single run doesn't get done until after about 2 or 3 sessions.
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