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IvanTank
I've got a house rule that I have been toying around with that essentially makes contacts more useful at char gen. Essentially, characters can only get gear with an availability of 10 or lower, as opposed to 12. When a character gets a contact, that contact gives them availability points based upon what type of contact they are and what their connection/loyalty ratings are. I am still working out a good number of points, but generally, a specialized contact (Talismonger, Weapon Dealer, Tech Wiz, ...) will give more points than a generalized contact (Fixer), but those points can only be spent in their associated area, where the fixer can use them in any field.

Example, You could start with a weapon with availabilty of 16, but that would cost you 6 availability point (since it is 6 over max availability). Those availability points could come from a fixer or a weapon dealer.

So, what do you guys think, as this rule is still under development.

I was also considering that they wouldn't give you points to spend, but instead increase the maximum allowed availability in said category.
eidolon
At first glance, it seems pretty neat. I would vote for going with increasing the max allowed availability based on having the appropriate contact, rather than giving points to spend.
Garrowolf
I do it the other way around. First you have to have a contact that actually carries that kind of equipment. I have an ass load of contacts and they get pretty specific suchas one character Bannock just carries pistols, smgs, and shotguns. He's a connection 2 gun runner. You have to get a higher connection contact to get the more advanced stuff. That way you don't have someone saying they have a connection 1 contact with missles.

Then the availablity is reduced by the connection rating before any rolls are made for that contact. Then I try and figure if it is something that would be common for them to carry in the first place - if so I don't even roll - they have it.

Bannock would have nearly any kind of pistol you wanted except for Troll scale which he never carries and will not get. He tends to like higher caliber pistols so he may have to roll for a rare hold out.
He also keeps stockpiles all around the city in storage buildings, he works only with those with a Mafia connection and believes that the world will end soon and is preparing.

You can check him out on my web site below.
Jaid
i think he's talking about at chargen, garrowolf. there are no availability rolls, you are either allowed, or not wink.gif (ie, you're comparing apples to oranges, as far as i can tell).

anyways, i like the points idea, personally. if you have a hacker contact, it shouldn't let you start off with a response 6 commlink and all your programs at R6, and if it costs for each individual program that will force you to decide.
Garrowolf
Actually I was still talkig about character gen because in my games you can get any equipment that is not in stores without a contact that as access to it in the first place.
IvanTank
i prefer the points system personally. It makes it so you can't start with a shit load of rare, high quality goods. Just a few smile.gif
Garrowolf
Another direction you could go is to set the availability at say 10 and require BP be spent to lower the availability down to that.
IvanTank
QUOTE (Garrowolf)
Another direction you could go is to set the availability at say 10 and require BP be spent to lower the availability down to that.

If I were to do something like that, I would still keep the base availabilty at 12. That way, if they didn't want any gear beyond what they could normally get, they wouldn't have to pay extra.
Garrowolf
Okay, I was thinking that it would provide an interesting balence for those characters that are focused on some rare equipment type like a highly tricked out sniper rifle or something like that.

I was also thinking that it would be a good way to deal with unusual creations of the player. You could charge an unusual background charge for the item that normally would have an availability of "there is only one".
Jaid
QUOTE (IvanTank)
QUOTE (Garrowolf @ Nov 17 2006, 02:11 AM)
Another direction you could go is to set the availability at say 10 and require BP be spent to lower the availability down to that.

If I were to do something like that, I would still keep the base availabilty at 12. That way, if they didn't want any gear beyond what they could normally get, they wouldn't have to pay extra.

availability 10 leaves room for plenty of good stuff, and people should already be spending points on contacts anyways, at least in those areas that they get specialise in. i mean, seriously, a hacker who doesn't have a contact to buy programs and hacking equipment from is a hacker with no background. a street sam who has no contacts that will sell him bullets (which would also be the kind of contact who sells guns) is gonna be screwed pretty quick. a rigger who has no mechanic contact is gonna have a hard time finding spare parts or upgrades. a mage with no talismonger contact is gonna have a hard time getting new binding materials, or lodge materials.

each archetype should have contacts already that will allow them to get those few special things at availability 12. further, if they want to aim for it, they can go higher. for example, it is now actually possible to get a cyberskull at chargen (provided you have the right kind of contact... probably a shadow clinic type person, or tamanous i suppose).
Fortune
I'm not quite following the logic here ...

I have no contacts, but I have a decent fake SIN ...

I need normal weapons and/or ammo - go to Weapon World.
I need car parts - go to the car parts shop.
I need minor magical doodads - go to a magical doodad shop.

Contacts can give you access to special or abnormal, or even hard-to-get stuff, and other types of services and/or information. You don't necessarily need them in order to restock your supply of toilet paper.

Availability is only used when you purchase something through nefarious channels. It doesn't apply when you buy something legally (except at chargen).
Aemon
QUOTE (Fortune)
I'm not quite following the logic here ...

I have no contacts, but I have a decent fake SIN ...

I need normal weapons and/or ammo - go to Weapon World.
I need car parts - go to the car parts shop.
I need minor magical doodads - go to a magical doodad shop.

Contacts can give you access to special or abnormal, or even hard-to-get stuff, and other types of services and/or information. You don't necessarily need them in order to restock your supply of toilet paper.

Availability is only used when you purchase something through nefarious channels. It doesn't apply when you buy something legally (except at chargen).

I think the discussion is generally talking about things that are rated F (forbidden) or Illegal... basically contraband goods. I doubt any storyteller/GM is going to ask players to use their contacts to buy a pack of batteries...

Common sense is the rule of thumb I think. Items that have a relatively high availability score might just mean it takes a few days extra to get it. So if you REALLLLY needed an availability 14, yet perfectly legal item in the next half hour, then your contacts might be worthwhile. But if time is not a factor, then you make a special "eBay" order and it's at your door in 3 days.

Fortune
QUOTE (Aemon)
I think the discussion is generally talking about things that are rated F (forbidden) or Illegal... basically contraband goods.

I was responding mostly to the post prior to mine (although it can apply to others just as easily) wherein Jaid listed programs, ammo, spare car parts, and binding and lodge materials.

I've noticed that with all the availability rules and contact details, sometimes people do forget that it is possible to just walk into a store and buy shit.
Jaid
well, assuming you houserule fake SINs to be able to hold up to at least minimal inspection on a regular basis (they don't, normally), then i suppose that could hold true. but where did you get that good quality fake SIN, if not from a contact? =D

however, as a general rule, if it is available with no restrictions at a store, it's probably not gonna be availability 10, let alone higher, in the shadows.

for example, going through the weapons to see what is above availability 10, we have: monofilament whip, ares alpha, HK XM30, elephant rifle, the better sniper rifle, the automatic (combat) shotgun, LMG, MMG, HMG, PAC, and the non-disposable missile launcher. with the smart firing platform and the sound suppressor being the only accessories limited. i don't think you're going to just walk into a store and say, "hi, i'd like a panther XXL assault cannon, please" and expect them to just hand it over, no questions asked. going down to ammo, only APDS, ex-ex, and PAC ammo are over avail 10. rockets are also over avail 10. high grade explosives are over 10. are we starting to see a theme here? perhaps a theme of things you don't just buy over the counter? heck, you can buy a chameleon suit with all the armor addons you want with an availability limit of 10. including thermal damping.

as far as it goes, i don't see a huge problem with limiting people to 10 barring use of their contacts, for chargen purposes. it's not the end of the world you know. it's mostly the specialised stuff, where someone is gonna be really focusing on an area, that it typically gets higher than 10.
Fortune
QUOTE (Jaid @ Nov 18 2006, 05:52 AM)
well, assuming you houserule fake SINs to be able to hold up to at least minimal inspection on a regular basis (they don't, normally), then i suppose that could hold true.

They'd hold up long enough for a series of purchases, then you discard it if necessary.

QUOTE
but where did you get that good quality fake SIN, if not from a contact?


True, but I don't need forty-two contacts for it either. Besides, I could have used real SIN just as easily. wink.gif

I was not really addressing your points in regards to your 'Availability 10' idea, as much as your side comments concerning contact use. They inspired me to address an issue that I have seen bandied about quite a bit ... the seemingly absolute need for a contact for every situation.

I just don't think this is the case. Besides the legal options, there are always friend-of-friends, and then there are Fixers. Their job is to know people, to set up meetings and arrange deals. If you know even one Fixer, you have access to his entire network (if you make it worth his while).
Demerzel
I think that commonly people think of a fixer as a little of every other contact type. He can get weapons, he can get talisma, he can get you the direct line to that new nova-hot red headed pr0n star you're stalking...

But I think a fixer is more the type of person who will put you in contact with someone who does that. Your loyalty rating will determine if the fixer "vouches" for you, or is even willing to put you in touch with the right person.
Fortune
QUOTE (Demerzel)
But I think a fixer is more the type of person who will put you in contact with someone who does that. Your loyalty rating will determine if the fixer "vouches" for you, or is even willing to put you in touch with the right person.

Exactly.
Jaid
QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Jaid @ Nov 18 2006, 05:52 AM)
well, assuming you houserule fake SINs to be able to hold up to at least minimal inspection on a regular basis (they don't, normally), then i suppose that could hold true.

They'd hold up long enough for a series of purchases, then you discard it if necessary.

QUOTE
but where did you get that good quality fake SIN, if not from a contact?


True, but I don't need forty-two contacts for it either. Besides, I could have used real SIN just as easily. wink.gif

I was not really addressing your points in regards to your 'Availability 10' idea, as much as your side comments concerning contact use. They inspired me to address an issue that I have seen bandied about quite a bit ... the seemingly absolute need for a contact for every situation.

I just don't think this is the case. Besides the legal options, there are always friend-of-friends, and then there are Fixers. Their job is to know people, to set up meetings and arrange deals. If you know even one Fixer, you have access to his entire network (if you make it worth his while).

sure, i'll agree with that.

as far as the tons of contacts required, i suppose that all depends on a few things. for example, lets suppose i want to buy 250 rounds of ex-ex (enough to fill my shiny new doberman's ares alpha). now at this point i've already burned (at least) 4 points of availability, iirc (i think doberman is 12, and i know alpha is 12). are 250 rounds of ex-ex counted as one item (costing 2 more availability points), or is it 25 items (costing 50 points). of course, this reflects a general flaw in the availability rules imo (if you can get your hands on 10 bullets, i imagine the same person could probably offer you a few more. maybe not 250, but at least enough for a decent sized clip, imo). perhaps some kind of houserule where buying multiples of the same thing using availability merely ups the availability by 1 per item or something?

it also depends, naturally, on how many availability points you get per contact. if it's a decent amount, it shouldn't be too horribly limiting.

(and as far as real SINs go, you'd be rather unwise to buy all your shadow gear with your real SIN, imo)

as far as needing contacts, well, consumer spending is tracked in shadowrun nyahnyah.gif i imagine lone star might want to stop by to ask why you need so many binding materials when your official day-job is, say, floor cleaning crew nyahnyah.gif and that non-shadow mechanic may wonder why your car always has bullet holes and crashmarks on it, yet you never seem to have anything show up in your driving record and you never claim it on your insurance either wink.gif

however, as i said, i can certainly agree that certain routine items (bullets, for example, especially if you spend some time at a shooting range) would be perfectly reasonable to buy at a regular store using a fake SIN.
lorechaser
QUOTE (Jaid)
well, assuming you houserule fake SINs to be able to hold up to at least minimal inspection on a regular basis (they don't, normally)

Why would you say they don't?

Low quality ones wouldn't. However, the only mechanics for fake SINs are that the rating of the SIN is used on the opposed test against the verification.

Even the flavor suggests you're fine:


I quote from the BBB:

"If itís high quality, nobody will ever recognize the difference. If itís low quality, youíd better not use it in high security settings"

So a high quality (rating 4) SIN will hold up to most scrutiny.

Additionally:

"Most runners will in fact have two or more fake SINs available
at a time: one for legal activity like paying rent and going
shopping, another for less savory activities, and possibly
a third to be used only when you need to get out of town fast
and undetected."

Minimal inspection on a regular basis would probably be rating 1 or rating 2 verification systems. So a rating 3 or 4 SIN would probably have no problem with that.

So unless you're buying milspec items on a regular basis, I don't see why this would be a concern. If you are, then it'll probably fail eventually, but that's built in to the rules.

So I'm not sure what would be houseruled, unless I missed a big portion of the rules....
Jaid
QUOTE (lorechaser)
QUOTE (Jaid @ Nov 17 2006, 01:52 PM)
well, assuming you houserule fake SINs to be able to hold up to at least minimal inspection on a regular basis (they don't, normally)

Why would you say they don't?

Low quality ones wouldn't. However, the only mechanics for fake SINs are that the rating of the SIN is used on the opposed test against the verification.

that right there is exactly the problem.

likely on any given event? probably not. but all it takes is bad luck on the part of the person with a rating 4 SIN and a good roll for the scanner (note: if i am not mistaken, 1 in 81 uses of the rating 4 SIN generates 0 hits). furthermore, if we look at facing decent quality ID checks, you could easily be facing 3 dice. 3 dice vs 4 dice has a pretty decent chance of winning the test. certainly not better than 50/50, of course, but whatever. and i would suggest that in many cases, you will be more likely to face rating 3 ID checks rather than 1 or 2 (basically, anywhere that cares will be rating 3).

the problem is, theoretically your SIN should be checked every time you make any purchase. you go to a restaurant, your SIN gets checked. you pick up some toilet paper at the stuffer shack, your SIN gets checked. and so on. if you have, say, a 10% chance of your SIN being detected as fake per check vs a rating 3 scanner, then you've got maybe a week, if that, on any given SIN that you use regularly.
Moon-Hawk
QUOTE (Jaid)
(note: if i am not mistaken, 1 in 81 uses of the rating 4 SIN generates 0 hits)

If the odds of any given die NOT scoring a success are 2/3, then the odds of four dice all not scoring a success are (2/3)^4, or 16/81. Total failure on the part of the SIN is 16 times more likely than you estimate.
Of course, the rating 1 scanner still has to beat a tie, so that cuts the odds down by a third, to 16/243, or approximately 6.6%. In other words, a rating 4 fake SIN, being pitted against only rating 1 scanners will still fail more than 1 time in 20.
Jaid
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk)
QUOTE (Jaid @ Nov 17 2006, 03:01 PM)
(note: if i am not mistaken, 1 in 81 uses of the rating 4 SIN generates 0 hits)

If the odds of any given die NOT scoring a success are 2/3, then the odds of four dice all not scoring a success are (2/3)^4, or 16/81. Total failure on the part of the SIN is 16 times more likely than you estimate.
Of course, the rating 1 scanner still has to beat a tie, so that cuts the odds down by a third, to 16/243, or approximately 6.6%. In other words, a rating 4 fake SIN, being pitted against only rating 1 scanners will still fail more than 1 time in 20.

ah yes, thought there was something fishy about my math. been spending too much time figuring out how likely it is to get a hit, when i needed the chance of failing to get a hit dead.gif

yeah, that fits much closer to what i remembered it being. so now your rating 4 SIN vs rating 1 check even is at risk if you use it for standard uses for one month.

and if you're facing rating 3 on anything even remotely resembling a regular basis... well, you're pretty much screwed.

so yeah, like i was saying... fake SIN rules need fixing.
Moon-Hawk
Perhaps a realistic fix would be to make the rating of the fake the threshold for the scanner. This would mean good SINs being inspected by crappy scanners just wouldn't be spotted. Even a good scanner against a good SIN has a poor chance, but it'll work eventually.

The problem with that is, the GM will not be rolling a realistic number of checks. As you say, SINs should be checked dozens of times per day, for every transaction, but they're not, because the GM has better things to do with their time.
Jaid
sure, but if you simplify it down to just one roll per day, you're still looking at only 20 days (assuming you are only facing rating 1)

if you face rating 3 checks instead, you're probably looking at maybe a week or so? if that.

the threshold idea i have heard before, but the problem is that at that point it simply will never come up. if you buy a rating 6 SIN shortly after chargen, nothing out there can crack it, iirc.

perhaps if you give the check rating * 2, thus making it so a rating 4 SIN can withstand up to rating 2 checks guaranteed, and getting progressively less likely to withstand the check as you go. it's hard to say, really.
lorechaser
QUOTE (Jaid)
the problem is, theoretically your SIN should be checked every time you make any purchase. you go to a restaurant, your SIN gets checked. you pick up some toilet paper at the stuffer shack, your SIN gets checked. and so on. if you have, say, a 10% chance of your SIN being detected as fake per check vs a rating 3 scanner, then you've got maybe a week, if that, on any given SIN that you use regularly.

I guess that's the difference here. I'm assuming that your SIN *doesn't* get checked when you eat out, or buy toilet paper. I still have more of a Pre-SR4 view, I guess. I forget that your commlink is the center of your world, and someone getting funds would pretty much be able to autocheck - you wouldn't use a credstick for much at all anymore.

So yeah, maybe it would hit more often. Hmmm.

On reflection, I don't like the fact that a rating 1 scanner can even touch a rating 4 SIN.

A rule along the lines of "Scanners automatically fails against any SIN with a rating that is 2 or more higher and automatically succeed against any SIN with a rating that is 2 or more lower" perhaps?

So a rating 2 scan has a chance against a rating 4 SIN. A rating 1 scan fails.

You'd need a rating 5 scan to detect a rating 6 SIN.

Conversely, a rating 1 SIN will never fool anything but a rating 1 or 2 scan. A rating 3 SIN won't stand up to a rating 5 scan.

The other rule I'm thinking of is more on par with Reach - you compare the SIN and the Scanner, and the difference is applied as a bonus/penalty?

deek
The other thing you have to factor in is what happens when the scanner detects a fake SIN. I believe there is fluff text saying something like at a store, if you SIN gets tagged as a fake from a scanner, but you have the funds available to pay for the merchandise, they really aren't going to care...they want your money.

I certainly don't roll a lot of fake SIN checks on my players. Sure, we go through border patrols here and there, and a fake SIN being detected is more of a situation where the guard comes out, sends them to an area to scan more thoroughly and asks them a ton of questions. My players usually travel light through these checkpoints and have fake licenses as well. If they make up a believeable story, I let them go, maybe confiscate some contraband.

If they totally screw the pooch, then they'll be turned away, picked up by local authorities or spend some time in jail...

My point is, at different levels of security, a successful ID of a fake SIN could mean nothing, or mean a whole lot...most everyday stuff should be in the little to nothing range!
Wakshaani
What we're using is an opposed test, with Intuition + ID Verification vs Fake ID rating *2. Teh chek has to BEAT teh fake ID to shut it out ... on a match, tehre was a short problem, but it went through. "Wait, that pin was 933_2_1, not 933_4_1! Sorry about that."

So, Bob the Cashier is running his Int 3 (or 2) on a low-grade retail register (Rating 2), vs yoru fake ID. If you have a fake SIN of 2, you shouldn't have a problem ... as long as you have cash, they'll let it slide through, but the system's good enough to catch a fifteen year old kid with the fake ID wanting to buy an Adult SImchip with his Fake ID (rating 1)

Later, a Lone Star cruiser stops teh runner GM Bulldog because of a tail light being out. He runs teh check on his system, sitting on his Int of 3 and a Scanner of level 3. The runners sewat a bit, but it checks out, if only just.

Later, they have to pick up some APDS from an Ares Weapon Hut. As this one's a very high-end purchase, done by pros who know that the law will bite them in teh hindquarters if they screw it up, they go to work with an Intuition of 4 and a Rating 4 scanner, which flags the ID as a fake. Problems!

Later, the team is stewing in an FBI holding cell, nursing a few wounds and unhappy. Here, they face an Intuition 5 expert with his Verification System 6 FBI-linked computer ... they're totally boned.
Garrowolf
I just make it so that you don't roll at all if the SIN rating is higher then the scanner then you don't roll UNLESS there is a person doing a background check.

You don't do a background check except for two reasons most of the time:
1) You are trying to get a line of credit
2) You have come to the attention of security or the police and they don't believe what YOUR copy of the SIN records is saying.

Basically it doesn't take a background check to tell accurately if you have money in the bank.

Now if you are using a lower rated SIN on a higher rated scanner then things could become tricky because the system may notice an issue. All this will do is draw the attention of the clerk and they will have their system do a more indepth check to see what is up.

Now with the recent crash I think it is entirely probable that many people's legitimate records are going to come up strange so a failure should not be automatic police calls.
Garrowolf
On a seperate topic from the SINs, I use alot of contacts because I want a lot of role playing.

I haven't used the Fixer as the super contact in years. I made them just a form of shadow talent agent. They have nothing to do with the black market most of the time. THey don't get the equipment for their runners.
Fortune
QUOTE (Garrowolf)
On a seperate topic from the SINs, I use alot of contacts because I want a lot of role playing.

Most definitely. My point was more to address the idea that a character needs a seperate Contact for every single occasion.
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