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Greetings. I'm new to 4th edition - until last Saturday, I hadn't played since the early 90's. So, now I'm trying to put together a game and I'm trying to get an idea as to how much Karma everybody's awarding at the end of their runs.

I know the book recommends 5-10 per adventure, but it seems like that would make it take forever for the characters to get anywhere. The skill and attribute Karma point buys are so high that if you're playing once every few weeks, it would take several months just to increase one of your attributes.

So... how does this system work for you all? Does anyone else have a system they use that they like better?
If you like a game that advances faster feel free to double (or whatever) the karma awards.
The only potential pitfall of changing things is that different types of characters need different resources (money vs karma) to improve, and a very large imbalance between the two could start to favor some characters over others. Of course, if you want a higher powered fast advancing game, you'll probably be giving out larger payoffs per run that the game expects, so you should have no problem.
The system I use is called Search.

There are several game rewards besides karma as well. You need to balance between Nuyen, what that nuyen buys, contacts and connections gained and lost, Karma (or BP rewards), and in game item rewards. In addition to that you need to factor in what your players want, what you want, apply the appropriate modifiers and multipliers, run some math, and then end up with a WAG and do whatever you need to do to have the most fun.

I usually go by the "slightly less then the players want" measure, that way they might come back the next week.
Eryk the Red
I give about 4-8 per session. Most adventures go for about 2 or 3 sessions. I generally give a couple bonus karma in the last session of an adventure, more if it was a very long one. So we average about 15 or so karma per adventure. (In my experience, though, it's best to do things in a karma-per-session rather than per-adventure kind of way.)

If anything, my group has advanced a little fast, but it's been an ok balance. It's about preference, and how frequently you play. If you squeeze in one session per month, I'd recommend as much as doubling the karma awards as written. If you have a session every week, it's ok to be a little more conservative.

Also, you needn't feel bound by the awards in the book. Sometimes a player does something that merits reward. Toss them a karma for that. Every session, I have each player suggest a title for the session (like an episode title). Whichever one the group decides to be the official title (which I track to keep track of how the story has flowed), that player gets 2 karma.
Cool. Lots of good suggestions... I like them all. Right now, I think about 8-10 per session will work for my group, with a bonus here or there. Thanks.
Daaamn you guys are raking it in. We get about 3 on average generally between 2-4 but there has been the rare exception of 6+. Of course if we got it at your rate we'd have about 350-450+ total at the moment. Hmm though our costs are different according to Frank's house rules.
Your characters can advance much more rapidly if you use a montage.
QUOTE (Buster)
Your characters can advance much more rapidly if you use a montage.

Actually I have no complaints about the rate at which we've advanced. We have a nice comfy viable nonpower creep campaign at 2+ years.
We play every Saturday in the game I play in, for somewhere between 2-6 hours usually. Probably average about 4. It usually takes us about 2 or 3 sessions to finish one of my GMs homebrewed adventures and we get 3-5 karma for it. I think that it is a little low for what he is expecting us to do, but whatever. I mean we found and then broke into a hidden lab that was owned by Aztechnology and was taken over by a cult. After a couple of hours(real and in game time) of hitting contacts and astral fly-overs and hacking and whatnot we find out that no one knows anything and we have to go in completely blind. So, we bust through their wards because we can't spoof them(don't have masking yet) and find a curtain of Seven-Seven laced bone shards(sharpened to do 4P damage when you walk through them) dead even with the ward. So, after we shake off the effects of 7-7 we have to go into an underground jungle and fight jaguars, then about 10 cultists two of whom are magicians. Mind you, he tells us we can't see more than a couple meters in front of us, astral or no because of the vegetation. Then we get a Force 12 Fireball dropped on us. Edge and my Counterspelling 4(combat) saved us and we head towards the direction we are going because we still can't see. We spread out now that we know they can apparently somehow target us. We get jumped from the trees and our physad almost gets his ass kicked. We find the mage and take him down and then are beset by the offspring of the jaguars from earlier. Then we have to bust through this stone door(the noise of which allowed the enemy to set an ambush on the other side) because you need an earth spirit to open it, which I didn't have being a houngan. Luckily(mainly because of Combat Sense) I went first in the surprise round and just cast a Force 5 Invis, so the mage with Flamethrower and the Str 6 human with a bow and 4 other humans with crossbows all got to target the ork(already injured) physad instead of me. So, we managed to barely take all these guys out and we go downstairs and find we have to fight a Force 6 Earth Spirit.

All that for a diamond that we have to use in a ritual to bind a "Spirit of War" that we found because if we don't it will work it's way free and destroy a large part of the CAS and UCAS in the process.

We got 4 karma and no money for that. Seriously though, I'm the mage/face/medic and I saved all the jag's lives except for two(SS reacted badly to them jumping at them and put a sword through ones skull(rolled all successes on a dice pool of 8 with a monofilament sword) and another baby one died because the SS shot it off the unconscious physad and it died while I was tending the physad.

So..... don't do that to your players.

Wow, tomb raider meets D&D. Amusing story. Why you'd want to heal jaguars is beyond me though.

Hey wait a sec, I just realized our last run was against a cult as well. Those wacky cultists always up to something.
I typically award 5-8 karma per adventure, an adventure lasting 2 sessions on average. Question for you peeps, do you award equal karma to all players, or different amounts of karma to different players? I keep a running tally during an adventure of karma awards I'm going to give out and give out different karma awards to different chars as they deserve.
QUOTE (farrenj)
I typically award 5-8 karma per adventure, an adventure lasting 2 sessions on average. Question for you peeps, do you award equal karma to all players, or different amounts of karma to different players? I keep a running tally during an adventure of karma awards I'm going to give out and give out different karma awards to different chars as they deserve.

Equal. If you give out different awards things can get lopsided after awhile. Then there's competition between players to get awards, jealousy, etc. Pretty soon you have the cast of "Friends" in your living room.
I healed the Jags in an attempt to bargain with the cultists something along the lines of "Look, we don't want to fight you, stop attacking us we have no desire to kill anymore than we have to. Just let us have the damn diamond and we will pay you X for it/return it when you are done." To which they replied Flamethrower.

Yeah, this is a group that has moved from D&D into shadowrun and so far I seem to be the only one really grasping the changes. I have to run it like cyberpunk D&D or kid glove my own game or they screw up and die alot. I normally kid glove things if I can stomach it. I really wish I lived in a bigger city with a larger pool of players. I like all of them, we are friends, but they aren't the best to play SR with.


EDIT: I give out uneven awards to reward decent roleplaying and/or tactical thinking. I've got to encourage them somehow.
QUOTE (DTFarstar)
I like all of them, we are friends, but they aren't the best to play SR with.

I feel your pain brother.
Eryk the Red
I give out uneven awards. There's a handful that everyone gets (1 for being here, 1 for succeeding, 1 or 2 because I feel like it), then a handful that are individual. I also have a very dynamic group, in that certain players are involved less often than others, sometimes a couple people are missing, we have guest players once in a while... And you only get Karma for sessions you show up to. This means that people each have very different amounts of Total Karma. Different players/groups have different personalities, of course, but I have never had an issue with jealousy. My players get some input in the Karma awards (they decide who gets the 2 karma for naming the session, and the group gets to pick one more player to get 1 karma for whatever reason they like) and I think they always feel that each karma is deserved. I always explain what each award is for. Also, no one player totally dominates the game, even if they have a lot more karma. Everyone has their niche.
It varies alot for me. In the earlier Barrens missions they only got 2-5 karma per adventure, while in the last adventure the oposition was so great they got around 30! Of course, in that adventure 3 PCs had to burn karma to prevent character loss/screwup. Each character was reduced to 0 boxes left on the CM during the game.

Next up I'll tone down the karma gain alot, probably no more that 3-5 again per character. Of course, this time their not going up again a hive of 500 ant spirits, a megacorp, another extraterritorial corp and guards with 15 dice attack with full-auto weapons (and EX-EX), and 22 dice to soak with!
Karma is awarded per session and each session is about 4 hours. Karma per session based on adventure alone is 2-3. Up to 8 additional karma may be given to individual PCs, however.
Ummm... and I thought my adventures were overkill.
Our group's method for bonus karma:
Each player gets to nominate another player to receive a karma bonus for good roleplaying, creative tactics, advancing the main storyline or adding good sub-plots. No player can nominate himself. GM makes final decisions.
Yes, this could devolve into "I always vote for you and you always vote for me", but so far our group is mature enough to reward each other for contributions to the story, and I'd rather praise a fellow gamer than try to persuade the GM that my own roleplaying was extra awesome.
Also, if a fellow gamer remembers and praises my RPing or tactics, the peer approval is a good incentive even if the GM doesn't award the karma bonus.

In D&D, you start out a bit better than Joe Normal and quickly get much, much more powerful. In some other systems, you start powerful at chargen and then get only a little more powerful or well-rounded. Which do you prefer? Both have precedents in fiction. In LOTR, for example, Legolas starts awesome and stays that way; Pippin and Merry start as noncombatants and become warriors (in the books. the movies don't include Scouring of the Shire).
We meet every other week and play for about 4 hours per session. I give everyone a base 10 karma per session and then add the "normal" karma awards from there. So it basically ends up being anywhere from 12-18 karma a session.

We came to that after looking at the frequency we would play (bi-weekly) and about how long we figured the campaign would last (2-3 years, before making new characters). So, it seemed like a solid progression for the power level everyone wanted.

I do agree, you have to balance the karma with the nuyen. So far, I've still basically been controlling the game with lower nuyen rewards, so even though everyone has a lot of karma, I can slow their advancement by making it harder to find training (for skills) and awarding low karma.

But, it has worked out for the end of each session, everyone is looking over what they can upgrade on their sheets, which obviously is fun. If they couldn't do any of that for months at a time, I think the group would get kinda bored!

I also award everything equally. The nomination method sounds kinda cool, but I'd rather everyone focus on the game and having fun, not trying to get a stat higher than someone else, which I fear would happen if I tried awarding things unequal.
My group plays once a month so I usually give out 15-25 points.

At the rate listed in the book, it would be months to raise a stat from 5 -> 6.
QUOTE (Dayhawk)
My group plays once a month so I usually give out 15-25 points.

At the rate listed in the book, it would be months to raise a stat from 5 -> 6.

Hehe...exactly the reason why I increased karma rewards for my group!
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