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Something I was thinking about last night, especially given all the talk of fixers dealing with runners in the CSI thread. What is the percentage of population in cities that are runners? Or more importantly, could that not affect prices and payouts? If you've got a thousand runners versus a million runners, there's less choice for who to take, so the runners with skills can pretty much write their own ticket. If they piss someone off, the runners might still work with them just because it means they'll get paid.

The flip side of this is that the more runners you have, the more visibility there is. Sure, shadowrunners are generally visible, like gangers, but at the same time, they are usually able to fit in. But you then have more of a chance of people causing problems, which means more people who could be on your ass to make an example of Shadowrunners. And it also means security will be higher because places are being hit more often and such.
Wasn't there an estimate of about 250 active Runners in Seattle at one time in some book or other?

Certainly the mortality rate of new Runners is high enough to keep the population low.

QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Wasn't there an estimate of about 250 active Runners in Seattle at one time in some book or other?

Certainly the mortality rate of new Runners is high enough to keep the population low.


probably around 250 pros. there's probably countless wannabes and other scum.
seattle is a pretty big sprawl.
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Wasn't there an estimate of about 250 active Runners in Seattle at one time in some book or other?

Certainly the mortality rate of new Runners is high enough to keep the population low.


250 active runners?

That makes it very much the seller's market. No matter who you are, we'll say that roughly 1/4 of those 250 (62 or 63) have reasons to hate you and would sooner shoot you than take your 'run.

That leaves 187 Shadowrunners for the job. Of those, we'll say about an 8th are just too green to hope to take the job you want, whatever it is. That leaves you with 164.

Now, we'll assume that the "average" team consists of:
1 Sammy
1 Decker/Hacker
1 Mage
1 Rigger
1 PhysAd.

That leaves 32 teams available for hiring.

Of those 32, you don't have the contacts or wherewithal to communicate with half of them. Your contact branches just don't lead into their fixers. You now have 16 teams to choose from. Half of those teams are already busy and won't double-load, so you're down to 8 teams of Shadowrunners who can do the job. Of those, we'll say an average of 1 team is busy with personal matters (laying low, skipping town, pursuing their own goals).

You're down to 7 teams. You have a leetle wiggle room as far as shopping around, but meets take time to set up, and cost nuyen.gif to set up - the Fixer's still going to get a Finder's fee whether or not the 'runners take the job, or he won't ever find a team for you again. (Of course, he also takes a finder's fee from the 'Runner's side of things - double dipping SOB that he is.)

So, now I guess it just depends on how urgent the 'run is. If you want a team to do something with, say, no real set time limit, like say, hire them to test your security or something you made, you can just shop around, and wait until more teams become available.

OTOH, if you're in big kimchee and need it done within the week, you probably don't have time to go to even one more team, because time is critical.
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Wasn't there an estimate of about 250 active Runners in Seattle at one time in some book or other?

Certainly the mortality rate of new Runners is high enough to keep the population low.


That's not a bad estimate. There can't be that many pros even as antagonistic as the corps are to each other. Gangs probably handle a lot of the little stuff, like rousting other gangs, roughing people and things like that. Private Investigators probably handle most of the mission persons cases and survelliance. Runners would fill the top niche was those special jobs.

Mortality would be an issue, as would burn out and people just plain getting out while they are still alive.
QUOTE (ShadowDragon8685 @ Feb 2 2007, 02:23 PM)
That makes it very much the seller's market. No matter who you are, we'll say that roughly 1/4 of those 250 (62 or 63) have reasons to hate you and would sooner shoot you than take your 'run.

Y'know, there are already about a hundred reasons to conceal the corporate affiliations of any given run. All this does is add more.

Enforcing a "I never run for the Azzies" (or whoever) policy should probably involve doing an extra run every run to figure out who's giving you the job. The runs you can turn down because they explicitly come from Aztechnology probably really don't.

(Also, IMO free agents are more common than teams, Reservoir Dogs style, but that just means you need to hire from amongst the five available Riggers, four Mages, eight Adepts, fourteen Streetsams, etc.)

Never mind that the pool of potential talent is also quite large. You've got the street gangs and organized criminals who bleed into the shadows quite often, out of town talent and mercenaries looking to expand their portfolios and so forth.

If the job is a simple one, or a straightforward raid, then your options expand exponentially depending upon on how low you are willing to scrape that barrel for 'talents'.

Need a factory hit to slow production of a rival? That's a runner job, but those runners could easily be moonlighting Gangers who aren't really part of the shadow community. Or you could tap the Yak for some talent. Maybe the guys who do the job get a taste for it and become full time Runners, maybe they go back to their former lives a little richer.

New runners come from somewhere, after all...
...they die quite frequently as well



I agree to a point w/ ShadowDragon, that they're aren't going to be a large number of experienced teams to pull from all the time. I think Kage was right w/ the 250, cuase that's a bout the number I had running in my head from somewhere. So you've got about 30 or so teams used to working with each other wit ha decent rep.

Then you figure in that you've got a ton of other talent that either wokrs solo, or does one night stands with temp teams to do the work. Then there's the mercs and out of towners.

Then you can toss in the small pickings guys, fresh out of the gangs, or syndicate guys looking to get some extra cash.

So take Shadowdragon's 7 teams, toss in 4 or 5 more full teams oftemp guys, and one or two groups of amateurs that you may have heard more good than bad about. Gives you 12 maybe 15 teams you can farm out to, , assuming you have the time and appropriate connections. Hell we'll even round it down to 10 to be conservative. That gives you a good shopping list.

Of course, that's also factoring in a major city like Seattle. Even Detroit would be a different matter IMO, because it's a coprs HQ. Which means that htere's less in the way of competition there, and heavier security, so less demand for a large pool of talent.
I really figured a higher number of runners, but I guess if you think about it the amount of ganger and crime talent would be large. Still with only about 250 pro's it seems like the shadows would be a bit more connected that they appear to be. With only 250 big names it seems like most fixers would know all of them.
I would expect maybe .01% of the population to be "real" Shadowrunners, with maybe as much as 1% of the population being a "career criminal" (Mafioso, Yakuza, Street gang "Lifers", etc). Naturally, there would be some crossover from the "criminal" element into the Shadows, and the Shadowrunner's immeditate supporting contacts (Street Docs, Fixers, Black Market Armorers) would probably be a bitmore numerous than the Runners (they also have the criminal and corporate customers)... I'd say about 0.1% of the populace.

In a city of 3,000,000, which was the 2060 rough population of Seattle, that gives us:

Career Criminals: 30,000
Shadow Marketers: 3,000
Shadowrunners: 300

I'd put the breakdown of the Runner talent as something like this:

Street Samurai / Mercenaries: 100
Deckers / Hackers: 70
Magicians / Shamans: 60
Riggers: 35
Physical Adepts: 30
Other: 5

It's relativly easy to become a Samurai-type, and their skills at combat are probably highly in demand. There is also very little for a guy with Wired 2, Cyberspurs, and a Smartlink to do with those skills. He ain't gonna work at McHugh's, y'know?

Hackers are invaluable to any team, and like Samurai-types are one of the only archetypes that could conceivably operate solo. Also, anyone with the skills and gear needed to operate as a hacker is already a criminal, and the path from criminal hacker to shadow hacker is a pretty short one. That said, this is probably the area with the highest "turn over."

Awakened are relativly rare, 1% of the general population; However, I'd wager it is safe to say that they would be disporprotionally represented in the Shadows. They are highly sought after, and if your magical trainning turns towards combat... well, they're aren't a lot of jobs that require knowledge of Force 6 Hellblast. The actually breakdown between Hermetic and Shaman will depend on the city, the culture, and probably just be in fluxfrom year to year. I'd wager its about 50%/50% in Seattle though.

Riggers, like Samurai, don't have much employment prospects outside the criminal world. Especially if they focus on something like combat-modified civilian ground vehicles. That said, they're a rare breed, and there are very lucrative oportunities in "mundane" criminal enterprise. Those mafia dons like their chauffered limos, and every arms dealer needs someone to move their cargo. There are probably many more Riggers in a city's criminal ranks than its Shadows. However, the ones that are there are there to stay. This archetype probably sees the least turn-over.

Physical Adepts are rarer than any other Awakened, and most do not have abilities or attitudes that lead to crime. For every stealth-monkey, katana-expert, wall-running Ninja Adept out there, there are another hundred Adepts that are just really good at baseball. Quick-drawing, super-fast Pistol Mastery Adepts are outnumbered by a multitude of Ballet Adpets. That said, for those adepts that can turn virtually invisible, smash trucks with their barehands, and kill you with a paperclip... Well, McHugh's ain't hirering, but the Shadows are.

As for "Other..." Thats where you find the random things that the one guy in your group who is overly fond of his Player's Companion comes up with. Technomancers, Otaku, Free Spirits, Werebear Sumo Wrestlers, and the rest.
Well riggers could also get a job doing any kind of piloting. With the higher presence of air travel, and the stringet requirements of pilots today, I'd imagine most if not all pilots would be rigged.
QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
Well riggers could also get a job doing any kind of piloting. With the higher presence of air travel, and the stringet requirements of pilots today, I'd imagine most if not all pilots would be rigged.

True, and they probably have high-end Knowbots as copilots.

But most Shadowrunner Riggers have a very different skillset... Specifically, they tend to be very good at ground vehicles, and normally specialize in a civilian model like the Westwind or a Hovertruck.

There is plenty of legit work for Riggers that fly planes, heliocopters, land trains, and even limos. Many corps have a place for a Rigger who can "ride" and assembly line, security system, or other industrial apps.

Armored sports-cars with popup light machine guns... that's not something ou'll find on most peoples' resumes.
as many have pointed out.. very few "PRO" runners.. numbers around 250 for Seattle. Now there is always people retiring due to them being just done with running, in jail/prison or dead. Which the new recruits fill in the gaps. There is always (at least in my games and the people I know's games) about double the number of "PRO" runners in amateur / wannabees. These are the ones generally wiped out in the run or two. Then there are lots of gangers out there making a mess for people. Now you might think it is a seller's market with all those people for the same job. Well some groups limit what type of jobs they do or how they do them. You dont want a group that is notorious for shooting/blowing up places to do a stealth run. Wet work wont be done by some groups. etc. Plus most runner take time off between runs to "collect and center" themselves, refresh supplies, etc. Plus the level of "contractor" needed for the job increases the number of people that can do it decreases.

So this is how I treat my player's characters. They are part of the "amateur/wannabees" group for the first few runs (or they are treated that way). Once they have proven themselves a few times that they know how to "do the work" in the "right manor" then they level of jobs increase the same as the pay. You pay amateurs nothing (or as close as you can) but you pay the pros serious cash and the "experts on the field" the big cash. My current group is in the middle category and working towards the other end.

that is my jaded opinion..
You'd be surprised at the number of legit jobs likely in the offering for hackers, riggers and several of your other jobs.

Combat monkey? Not so much, but this also has the lowest bar for entry. In the real world, a few combat skills are easy to train, it's the 'I want to kill people' mentality that is what is really important. Slap some wired reflexes and a muscle augs in and you've got a killer. Maybe not a 'great' killer, but do you really need 'great' killers that often? Not really.

There are a thousand legit jobs for a guy who can rig. So what if he prefers his custom westwind, he's still a rigger. Drone work (scientific as well as security), and any job involoving moving vehicles likely involves some level of rigging. Truckers, limo drivers, pilots, the guy running the submersable bringing up peices of the titanic to study mana effects on relics... the guy driving the boat HE works off of... all riggers to one degree or another.

Even your Hellbolt 6 mage is employable in any number of jobs requiring thaumaturgical talents. Sure, he's more destructive than the guy specializing in Sterilize who cleans the hospital, but that doesn't mean his only options are the Shadows or the Anti-Shadows. Hell, the sheer power he pulls down with every Hellbolt he casts is likely to make him a useful member of a thaumatological research division, if only as a work-grunt mage popping off spells for the eggheads to study.

And as Hachetman's life story from Cybertechnology shows us, the divide between Yak Muscle and Shadowrunner is almost literally a matter of 'who pays the bills'...
The problem, of course, is that those of them who are Shadowrunners are doing so for a reason.

Would most Shadowrunners who are also riggers jump at a chance for relatively safe, lucrative legitimate work if they got it?

Hells yes. Even if it means they'd have to take some time and Karma to learn Pilot Aircraft 4 (Rotary-Wing 6) and have to leave their favorite Westwind on the ground... They'd do it. They can still take the Westwind out joyriding when the job's done.

Would most (hermetic) mages jump at a chance to join a legitimate thamatalurgical research group or otherwise take a legitimate job that pays well and offers much more life insurance? You betcha.

The reason they don't is twofold:

1: Most of them are SINless. They can't get legit work, the closest they could get to legit work would be as a "Deniable Asset" employed in a non-criminal endeavor - the "Deniable" wagemage who throws massively powerful Hellballs for the other wage-mages to study.

Which is a really bad idea, because once they've had their fill of you, they'll geek you and reclaim their money from your possessions. And then probably organleg you.

2: Such people, even if they managed to make a 6/6 Contact of a UCAS Senator and use their contact to get a legitimate, bona fide authentic SIN, are extremely free-willed people. The corp admits he does good when he rigs their limo-choppers and cargo Vector Thrust Aircraft, but they don't like what he does when he's off work - go outside the corporate compound (SHOCKHORROR!) and cruise for non-corp chicks in his highly-modified Westwind Eurocar that has more armor than their LAV, and about as much firepower.

Because they basically can't coptrol these people, they'll never employ them except as deniable assets.
Do you guys count the PCs as part of this 250 'pro' runners?
Just curious.
I made up a table years ago that was my attempt to deal with the "buyer's market" side of Shadowrun. I imagine this has been covered in a sourcebook somewhere, but its not one I own. I figured on roughly 1 runner for every 10,000 people in the population as a general guide, with "hot" cities (Seattle, Denver, Bogota) having as many as twice that. This was mainly to get the figure of 500 for Seattle, which would make my percentages easier in the next stage.

With a Runner Population of 500, it breaks down like this:
Samurai, 40% (200)
Riggers, 20% (100)
Deckers, 20% (100)
Adepts, 15% (75)
Magic Users, 5% (25)

From there, 50% of the runners were Inferior, 30% were Average, 15% were Competent, 4% were Superior, and 1% were Ultimate. (For those of you bad at math, Samurai break down like 100 Inferior, 60 Average, 30 Competant, 8 Superior, 2 Ultimate.) It breaks down in my notes like this:

Inferior: Stats, skills and spells around 3. Sams will have maybe a point of Cyberware. They might have a 4 in something, but will most likely be defaulting rather than have the applicable skill. Gear will rarely have above and Avail of 3. (Npcs generated at this level would usually be Priority D across the board.)
Average: Stats, skills, spells of around 4. Sams might have Wired One, but won't have more than 3 points of Essence filled. Gear will rarely be higher than Avail 4, though they may have one signature piece that's better. (Npcs generated at this level would usually be Priority C across the board.)
Competent: Stats and etc of around 5. Most gear under Avail 6. (Npcs of this level will either be generated as Priority B across the board, or as starting PC's or archetypes.)
Superior: Average stats and etc of 6, higher in their field of expertise. (These guys are good. Npcs are either generated as characters and advanced with karma, or if I'm too lazy, built with Priority A across the board.)
Ultimate: Prime runners. The only real restrictions on character generation are story restrictions (I'm probably not going to make a guy who is great at everything). These guys are the Michael Jordan of Shadowrunning.

Now, thats how I arrived at how many of who are in the talent pool in Seattle. How you hire them is handled like buying any other piece of gear, as per the table below*:

Inferior, Avail 3/24hrs, cost 1000 nuyen
Average, Avail 4/48hrs, cost 5000 ny
Competent, Avail 5/5 days, cost 10,000ny
Superior, Avail 6/1 week, cost 50,000ny
Ultimate, Avail 10/2 weeks, cost 100,000ny.

And there is a mark-up to represent Sams (who there are more of) are easier to get than Adepts, as per:

Samurai: -1 Avail, x1.0 cost
Rigger: x1.0 cost
Decker: x1.25 cost
Adepts: +3 Avail, x1.5 cost
Magic Users: +5 Avail, x1.75 cost

*Employers can increase the mark-up factor by 10% for each point of Avail they want reduced, and they can double the price to 1/2 the time as many times as they wish.

It looks a little less complicated to me on my scrap of notebook paper since its easier to do a table on paper than in a forum post (at least for me).

Now, these numbers are to represent the number of freelance runners in Seattle at any given time, and used as a rough guideline mainly for people who are trying to put together teams on relatively short notice (be they pc's or npc's). These numbers don't cover the corporate black ops teams (who are like runners, but aren't freelancing), or the criminal population. Gangers, other than the select few talented enough to freelance, aren't on the list. These were just numbers I tried to keep in mind as a GM to answer such questions as, "Who can we get here in an hour?", and to provide a rough guideline for SR pay scales. If an npc with no prior runner contacts went through a fixer to get someone to hit the pcs, who could he get, how long would he take, and how much would he have to spend. That sort of thing.
I like your system there, Mercer, although I think the inital numbers are a bit high for my tastes.

I would, indeed, count the player characters as part of the "300," furthermore I would count and characters that they make to replace fallen PCs as part of it too.

I like managable population numbers, lets me know Who's Who, even if it only tells me that they killed Samurai #123 on their last run.
QUOTE (Mercer)
These guys are the Michael Jordan of Shadowrunning.

You mean Michael Sutherland? wink.gif
If I'd really been thinking about it (hindsight being 20/20, or Mag3, or whatever), I'd have included more census figures in my tables. If you look at the economy of illicit specialists, I'm sure its always fluctuating as people get killed, step off the bus, or come off the DL. A fixer, or just a dedicated data broker, would probably be keeping track of these numbers, to the extent it was possible.

Then you could have little fluff details like, if things start heating up in the Philippines, you could have a disporportionate number of Filipino runners as the refugees start surreptiously making their way in. Mainly, it would be a cool way to say:

Grocer: That's what I'm looking at.  Consolidated bargaining.  After the Eastern Europe thing...
Martin Blank: The Berlin Wall thing...
Grocer: The market's flooded.

Paraphrased, but thats what I'm going for.
SL James
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Wasn't there an estimate of about 250 active Runners in Seattle at one time in some book or other?

150, and it was in Tir Tairngire.

Certainly the mortality rate of new Runners is high enough to keep the population low.

Actually, Monitor claims fewer than a hundred on p143, and I don't see anyone contradicting him. I'd say that's low, but it may not be counting the aforementioned greenies that die so quickly.

I imagine keeping a hard count on people who's job it is to commit crimes for a living to be something of a sketchy enterprise at best. The advantage of the GM over the npcs is we get the benefit of information as perfect as we need it, even if we're just pulling it out of our back alley. (There are currently 143 Samurai in Seattle. 142. 141. 147. Small firefight and a suborbital just landed.)

Using my figures above (since that's what I use), I'd say the highest turnover is in the lower ranks. Inferior runners take the most hits, and there's always another Waffle House cook that gets a smartlink and wants to be a samurai (which was a character I made, but sadly never played. "Its amazing what you can do when you don't declare you're tips. Tom Dowdy. Shadowrunner.") You get into the Competent range, and you'll start seeing faces that will probably be around next month. These are people you might have worked with, or heard a few things about. ("He was on that Earthfirst Boat. Oh, I know him. He's an a**hole.")

Superior runners are like minor celebrities to the SR subculture ("You'll never guess who I saw at Soy Bombs last night!") whereas Ultimates are legends. An Ultimate runner dying off or retiring and you'd hope to see some scrambling as the lower echelons try to fill the power vacuum. ("Grey Goose got yard saled last night. Apparently a great dragon ripped his chopper apart and ate him like a breath mint! They're showing the clip on Channel 234 non-stop!")

Edit: Something I wanted to clarify. In my breakdown, I generally lump Phys Ads in with the Samurai, even though they're a smaller portion of them. I just lump them together because they fill the same role. Adepts covers specialized magic-types (Conjurers, Shamanics, etc), as well as Phys Ads that specialize in Astral stuff (perception, spirit combat). But my groups aren't a hard and fast break down of archetypes, just a guideline.
A suborbital carrying FIVE Sammies?

Better check your records to see who you pissed off recently, and whether or not now is the time to call in that favor with those pirates whose hoop you saved from the fryer and take a voyage on the great sludge-brown seas for a few months.

Five sammies can mean only one thing: A hit. And not a subtle hit, either. More like a sledgehammer.
Herald of Verjigorm
QUOTE (ShadowDragon8685)
Five sammies can mean only one thing: A hit. And not a subtle hit, either. More like a sledgehammer.

It can also mean blatant bodyguards on a short protection job.

The real fun is if they're just in town on vacation.
Five sammies can mean all kinds of things. Bodyguarding, wetwork, critter hunts, gang wars, or even training (the legit kind where you bring in instructors, not the kind where you hire people for your security to kill).

That's another thing about Runner Pops, is the idea of a limited talent pool means sometimes, you take what you can get. Its like when the group makes characters and something isn't covered, but no one wants to change. "Why would the Johnson hire a group with no mage?" or whatever. Because sometimes you have to make do with what's available. History is decided by those who show up.

(Maybe the five sammies got a group rate on the customs bribe to get their assault rifles into the country.)
I should also add that this provides a definite disincentive to discriminating against day-glo mohawks when it comes to hiring Shadowrunners. Sure it might get them killed, but it won't be enough to keep them from getting hired.

This also explains how the archetypes in SR1 can threaten Johnsons and have it be no problem. Contrary to the secondary subject line, it's a seller's market.

QUOTE (Drraagh)
Something I was thinking about last night, especially given all the talk of fixers dealing with runners in the CSI thread. What is the percentage of population in cities that are runners?

First of all, define "runners". Is the gutterpunk that'll steal your neighbors car for 500 nuyen.gif a runner? What about the Mafia enforcer that does some freelance work on the side? If these guys are runners, what is it that makes them a runner and any other ganger or mob enforcer not? In some ways, "runner" is a highly subjective term.

If we define "runner" as "anyone that regularly undertakes quasi-legal or illegal activity on a completely independant and mercenary basis", I can agree with the 250 figure for pro runners in Seatle. However, with that definition, am also forced to the conclusion that most of what people refer to as runners (including most PCs) are not in fact runners - they are simply moonlighting as such.

For example, my recent Seattle group: Rico (an adept ganger who also had a day job), Quatro (chaos mage and ex gang member), Sway (rigger with a mechanic day job), Kodiak (troll mystic adept, Vory enforcer, who stripped as a night job), Carter (face and college student), and Templar (homeless hacker on the run from SK). According to the above definition, only Quatro and Templar were actually runners - the others had other means of primary income and other organizational ties that prevented them from being truly independant.

Ultimately, it is not the 250 professional runners that set the market prices for runs I think, but the 2000-10,000 moonlighters, wannabes, street scum, and people of dubious morals that are willing to undertake the run. These are the folks that fixers know mostly, and these are the individuals that undertake the majority of runs. Assuming that only the 250 pros handle all the shadow work (for milkruns to heavy duty corp extractions) is unrealistic IMO, as Spike and Thane said

Basically, in my games, "pro" status is something to be earned - kinda like in Mercer's breakdown (which I very much like).

QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
(Also, IMO free agents are more common than teams, Reservoir Dogs style, but that just means you need to hire from amongst the five available Riggers, four Mages, eight Adepts, fourteen Streetsams, etc.)

[nods] That was always my assumption. The runner team is, IMO, the ideal and the urban myth more than it is the reality.
There is another factor to all this, and my apologies if it has already been mentioned.

What is the current demand for runners? If all the corps and gangs are at peace, more or less, then there won't be much work. Runners might actually leave the area to find work, or take contracts that lead them out of town. If there is a war on, there would be plenty of work. Just the opposite of a slump, all the work flying around, not to mention casualties, would bring in outsiders to get in on the action.

In the first case, runners would have to take whatever came along if they wanted work and the pay would be average at best. During the second case, pay would be higher and the team might even have multiple offers to consider.

If there isn't a lot of work going around, Johnsons would probably also be looking for cheaper talent since you wouldn't be hiring Prime Runners to hijack a couple of trucks. On the other hand, during a war, nuyen would be flowing to get the best talent available. Johnsons would have more money to spend to get the best teams for their employer, enough to tempt them away from other contract offerings.
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