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I dont like the way they put together the skill ratings table, on pages 108-109. The problem is that its a legacy of skills from 3rd, and fails to consider the impact of attributes on dice pools in 4th.

so heres my take on it- based on the human average of attribute 3, and the assumption that at higher skill, your going to see higher attributes on average.

Rating 0 (default, 2 dice). Untrained
Rating 1 (4 dice) Beginner (buy 1 hit)
Rating 2 (5 dice) Novice
Rating 3 (6 dice) Profesional (2 hits average)
Rating 4 (8 dice) Veteran (buy 2 hits)
Rating 5 (10 dice) Expert (3 hits average)
Rating 6 (12 dice) Elite (buy 3 hits, 4 hits average- critical success)
Rating 7 (14 dice) Legendary (~5 hits average)
Rating 8 (20 dice+) Godlike (buy 5 hits, 6 or 7 hits average)

So if we have a street sam with agility 5(7), he would be professional in his unskilled use of agility, and veteran or better in his skilled use. this more accurately reflects his dice pool.

Elite in this case means you will score a critical hit under normal circumstances. threshold 4 is easy for them. The important part here, is that a man with attribute 3 and skill 7 with a specialty is not legendary- he is only an expert with an elite specialization.

The way the SR4 character creation rules are put together, its fairly easy to get a dicepool of 9 in several things. thats skill 4, attribute 5. So we should make the assumption that the 'average' team of runners has veteran skill in their area of expertise, expert or better in their specialty.

And for the other part of my rambeling, the money that a johnson pays to the shadowrunenrs.

Offhand, i would conclude that each run must pay about 25,000 on average. I draw this conclusion from the assumption of a team of about 5 runners (magical support, matrix support, wheel-man, face, and muscle), and from the assumption that risking your life on a run should pay the bills for middle lifestyle. If you do two runs a month and split the money evenly, then everyone can afford to live decently and still save up for upgrades (new cyber, new programs, new drones, new spells and spirits).

that extra money lets you have the occasional run that dosent pay, or just goes badly. It lets you deal with SOTA. and it lets you have a little bit more fun- which is the point of the game.

Now, higher risk jobs should pay more. a good team with the right skills is going to be able to get a considerably higher price, than the average team. but likewise a milkrun is going to pay a lot less. and you can still get shot up and spend all your pay on medical expenses.

From the above, i would say that 'street level' is about those guys who lack the overal ability of the average runner. sure their proffesional at what they do, but their not much better than that. street level means not min-maxing, it means making a personality whos a bit sub-par in the biz.

I dont like how most people approach the idea of creating a street level game. limiting magic, changing what cyber you can start with. thats not what its about. they try to get to their goal by creating limits, and removing oportunities mechanicaly. far better, i think, to acheive ones goal by the suggestion that dice pools not exceed 8 or 10, and that points be spent focusing on a unique personality and the supporting skills for it.
I like your opinion on payments, there's some sound advice in there for GMs. However, I don't see the problems with skills/attributes enough to change the system.

Keep in mind, SR4 is not meant to be a realistic real-life-sim, but a game, they even mention that early in the rules introduction.
A lot of it comes down to GM control. If you look at a character and see that it's throwing 15+ dice in some field, talk to the player. Make sure he's aware that he's approaching (or at) the "legend" level of competency, and ask if he really intends the character to be that good, or just wanted a few extra dice. Tell him you aren't really aiming to run a campaign that a character who was that good would be interested in, and ask him to tone it down a bit.

Or, ignore what the numbers are supposed to mean, make all of your servers and security guards and enemy spirits a little buffer, and run the game anyway.
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