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Ok folks, I am GM'ing my second session on Saturday. I think I have most of it ready except I'm not totally certain how the "Legwork" part works. Is there a certain forulae to use or is it more based upon the character's skills?

If based on Formulae, what would said formulae be? If based upon character skills, is it certain skills or whatever happens to be relevent to the upcoming run? What skills tend to be most used for "Legwork"?

I believe I am smart enough to know that the more successes on whatever skills equals more info gained.

Any help would be welcomed.

Thanks and be well.
The Legwork phase of a run is mostly a time for the players to come up with clever ways to find out things they really want to know or think would be useful. So what you should encourage is some discussion amongst the players about what they want to know and the best way to go about getting that information.

Then, once they've hashed that out amongst themselves, they'll turn to you and say, "So, since we know some of the bars the target's administrative assistant frequents, we're going to try sending Jethro Troll down to The Ork with the Gold Tooth and see if he can catch the guy in the bathroom and beat him against the sink until he tells us his boss's schedule."

And then you see how that goes.
Eugh... tough question.

Well most "ready-to-play" adventures with tell you what is expected and what can be found. There is a LOT of different ways to do the legwork though and you ALWAYS have to assume that the players might concentrate on something really insignificant and try getting insane amounts of info on that OR just don't legwork at all OR build around all that in astounding ways.

Things which can be used for "traditional" legwork:

- Crude "Etiquette" roll with just the expectation of a small bit of Info (like in most modules, adventures)
- Your own contacts. Often resolved through a bit of roleplay and/or exchange of money or such in exchange for using THEIR skills and contacts.
- Matrix search and by extension Matrix-magic by technomancers (they have sprites and echoes to just KNOW EVERYTHING which has EVER been in the matrix... insanity)
- constructed part of the adventure, with multiple encounters and characters. Going the "noir" - stretch (Is part of your run/adventure and needs to be prepared and takes a lot of time)
- "You think you have heard of him/that" Using the extensive knowledge skills of the characters. The nearer the skill is to the subjects, the less penalties. (I myself often ask something like: "You know something about vampire conspirencies?" Player: "Ummm.... Magical Threats?" Me: "Eh, close enough, roll with -2"

So many possibilities and techniques. NEVER forget to give hefty penalties for everything and charge crapload of bribes and such. This rewards players who actively gather/maintain a lot of contacts and train knowledge skills. No way a broad maxed charisma/etiquette combo cover it all. That is NOT a face.

Skills used for Legwork are pretty much ALL social skill. Intimidation, Con, Negotiation, mainly Etiquette though. Hell, pistol can be used (Big bonus on intimidation, if you shoot a shotglass from the head of a bound dude, while drinking.... and turning your back *g*)
Or you could just hack that info [boss's schedule]. Maybe it's stored on the assistant's comm, or whatever. It all depends. smile.gif Legwork isn't something you do before the game starts, it *is* the game. Getting shot is just the intermission.
Xahn Borealis
QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Apr 8 2011, 03:55 AM) *
- constructed part of the adventure, with multiple encounters and characters. Going the "noir" - stretch (Is part of your run/adventure and needs to be prepared and takes a lot of time)

I'm curious, what might this entail?
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 7 2011, 09:55 PM) *
Or you could just hack that info [boss's schedule]. Maybe it's stored on the assistant's comm, or whatever. It all depends. smile.gif Legwork isn't something you do before the game starts, it *is* the game. Getting shot is just the intermission.

Yup. And since so much of it is brainstorming on the part of the players, figuring it all out ahead of time is practically impossible.

Not to say that you shouldn't prepare certain leads and drop hints to the players, but as they say, if the players come to a part of a hallway that turns right, they'll find some way to go left.
QUOTE (Xahn Borealis @ Apr 8 2011, 04:59 AM) *
I'm curious, what might this entail?

Hm, you know: really introducing characters as part of the legwork, construct a bit flair and story around the 'plex.

For example:
Players need some info about a sudden appearence of a triad-like organization trying to take root in the city:
Now, they are going to meet some professor for chinese archeology, or whatever, because one runner heard that guy smuggles shit out of the region in chine where they placed the origin of the newcomers. (They identified the region by overhearing the triad-dudes and identified the dialect). So you play out the "meeting", where they pressure the prof.

Prof let's them know that he isn't involved with them,... and that his Boss is pretty pissed about "them" too. OOOPS. Which Boss? Time to get the attention of that man, tracking him down. Etc.

So not only do they end up with some info on "The Golden Dragons", but also know who their rivals are, talked with the boss of the rivals. Got the info they originally looked for "Mode of operation estimated numbers, a few names and some rumors". But also, if they did it right might have new contacts (Prof, Lieutennent and Boss) and have seen a bit of the orginized crime.
Players are usually morons, too, so be prepared to outline the hints in flashing neon, with sirens. wink.gif
Eh, even then...

Last session i had the characters were tracking back a ghoul-troll which had appeared in the neighborhood of one runner and mindlessly attacked a civilian.

THEY NEEDED THE PIXIE TO SUMMON A FREAKING F5-Guidance spirit. For IT TO divine the future of the pixie and proclaim a halfcryptic: "ASK THE DAMN OLD WOMAN asking what you want about WHAT YOU WANT"

That was so funny. Used the bloodscent of the vampire, broke down doors of empty apartments, looked for footprints and such... all while the old woman was about: "What do you want, WHO ARE YOU?"
Ha! Exactly.
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 7 2011, 10:14 PM) *
Players are usually morons, too, so be prepared to outline the hints in flashing neon, with sirens. wink.gif

Oh Dear Lord.

As only 2 of my 5 players are familiar with Shadowrun (and even those two and myself have only ever played a couple of games in 2nd edition), I can see this happening. A LOT.
Thanks all. Keep the good ideas coming.
The "Legwork" phase of a run is collecting informations about your objective that will make meeting the expectations of your Johnson easier or even possible.

For exemple if your job is to hit a corporate facility, having a decent idea of things like security staff and procedures, layout, schedule, allowed visitors will make the actual breaking in easier, as you can come prepared. Alternatively, if you need to find a missing person, legwork would involve more detective-like work, what was he/she doing before disappearing, who could know something about what happened etc.

An idea often suggested (and a bit more subtle than big flashing neons with blaring horns) is for the GM to have at least three clues pointing to the desired conclusion (the three clues don't need to be at the same location).

Many players are tempted to overdo it, trying to collect each and every little bit of info, down to ridiculous levels. Two counters to that : schedule (legwork takes times, and you often have a deadline to meet or the run is botched), and the likelyhood of alerting the opposition (they can have contacts too, if you dig too deep they may be warned that someone is asking questions about them or something they did and react, making things more difficult for you).
I am playing Shadowrun for the first time in a long time (usually I have to gamemaster, and we have been on a bit of a Star Wars kick;) and my character feels like 1 of the only professionals in the whole group, though some of the other players are starting to get an idea of legwork from seeing us do legwork. Still, my hick hacker/ex CAS Marshal is acting as the face man (this is very bad) and my roommate hick ex CAS spec forces agent is doing the negotations and prep work (this is worse.) My character even offered to off one of the party to an Atzlaner Johnson we worked for, but he decided ritual magic was a better way to send the message (the guy was doing infiltration work and started killing civilians at more or less random.)

As for legwork, if you have a player or two who understand subtly, give them a clue or two whats up, and ad hoc it from there. If you don't have any subtle players... I feel very sorry for you.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 7 2011, 08:14 PM) *
Players are usually morons, too, so be prepared to outline the hints in flashing neon, with sirens. wink.gif

This cannot be emphasized enough. What you think is glaringly obvious will pass unnoticed by the entire crew, while the most inane, inconsequential thing will be fixated upon to the exclusion of everything else. wobble.gif
James McMurray
This page tells what we do when legwork comes down to numbers. It's basically the same rules used in the Shadowrun Missions adventures.

Other than that though, pretty much anything is fair game. Legwork just means "the time when they've learned about the job and are now trying to find out the things the Johnson didn't tell them.
Make a list of information you think would be good for the players to find out. Think about some ways the players might find that information.

Then, when they come up with some different method of investigating (likely going after something different, too), see if you can inject some of that information.

For example, they need to find out the base has a badass wizard guarding it. You anticipate they'll be trying to get a guard schedule, which names the wizard. But instead they're figuring out if LS and DocWagon are willing to come near the base. Then you have their LS contact mention that people who go there get beat up by the badass wizard.

Legwork is a lot about imagination; try to get the players thinking "if I wanted to know what was going on there, how could I go about it? Who do I know, that knows about that? Do I know people who might know people who know that?"

It's also an acquired skill for the players. They'll develop a repertoire of things they know they can do. Sometimes an NPC can suggest "you might try X", or you tell you players to think about how people in movies do that stuff.
You guys are awesome. Keep the great info flowing.
Legwork is your chance as a GM to show them the world outside of the mission, and to encourage roleplaying between the party and your NPCs. If you're like me, you have probably figured out lots of interesting bits of backstory that you really want to tell the players about, and this is how you reveal it.

Experienced Shadowrun players will know how to use contacts and resources in the legwork phase, and a smart GM will let them lead. Newer players are often confused by legwork, and it's a good idea to have an NPC fixer tag along and give some tips. I wrote a fairly long post on the subject here; the rest of that thread is worth browsing as well.

I generally distribute information like so: First, whatever the Johnson thinks they need to know to do the run. Often, this is fairly detailed, since the Johnson wants them to succeed and generally has some solid intel available. This info is presented during the job assignment, and Johnson usually opens the floor to questions at the end. (e.g., "The item is in a lab under this building; The ground floor and above is occupied by an Evo medtech clinic, staffed around the clock by four physicians, six technical staff, seven support staff, and eight security specialists. Due to the upscale clientele, the security is on the Premium Protection plan, with remote Astral and Matrix overwatch at the local Evo hub, estimated heavy response time seven minutes. The ground floor staff are not cleared to know about the basement facility, and we are told that the security in the basement is largely drones and automated systems.")

Once the official info is distributed, we move on to personal knowledge. I like to give information seperately to individual players based on their character's background and knowledges. The ganger might know that the lab is in Hellhounds turf, the ex-corp operative might know that Premium Protection is mandated for low-profile security with around 10k worth of combat upgrades and a focus on social graces, and the guy who used to work for DocWagon might know that the Evo medtech clinics are prime targets for theft due to the chems and tech they keep around, and so they tend to be pretty paranoid and quick to go on lockdown. I would give this info to the players individually, and let them ask questions until they understand as much as their character should, and then have them communicate that info to the rest of the party. This encourages roleplaying and makes the individual characters/players important.

Following that, the players will need to use contacts and resources to get additional information. This is generally when they start to ask stuff that you don't want them to know, e.g. "What Exactly do the Premium Protection units get upgraded with?". It's reasonable that they *could* find the info, with the right approach, so let them explain how they want to look into it, decide if that approach has a chance of success, and have them roll an appropriate dice pool, hidden if possible. I generally give a little info for one hit, solid info for two hits, and really fill in the blanks for three or more. (e.g., "The stock PPU package includes sensory upgrades and a biomonitor, connecting back to a tacnet monitored by an expert system at all times. They also get muscle toner and bone lacing packages. You also find a discussion thread talking about how moving up the ranks seems to require a show of commitment by reinvesting into personal upgrades - most squad leaders and above seem to have invested in some of Evo's more expensive biotech combat upgrades.") This is also a good time to add some misinformation if they roll a glitch, like a rumor that the PPU squads are getting Hellhound handlers because it's becoming "trendy" to have paracritter security.

This is generally where the PCs will take your plot off the rails. They might start to investigate neighboring buildings for alternate entry points, or want dossiers on all three shifts of clinic workers, or try to infiltrate the PPU, or sign up for some elective surgery. It's up to you, of course, but I like the old improv rule of "Never say 'No', say 'Yes, and...'". Try to let the players take the game where they want it to go, and move your obstacles to intercept later. Tunneling in with an Earth Elemental? Great idea! Of course, Evo has Astral overwatch, and now that Earth Elemental is going to need to take on three lesser Fire Elementals that the wagemages have summoned, and the clock is ticking until the Heavy Responders show up...

I hope some of this helps a little, sorry about the length. Good luck with your game!

And all this time I thought legwork was the amount of skin you had to show your gm until he told you what you wanted to know. indifferent.gif
James McMurray
QUOTE (Angelone @ Apr 11 2011, 11:14 PM) *
And all this time I thought legwork was the amount of skin you had to show your gm until he told you what you wanted to know. indifferent.gif

Or in our group, how much leg you had to promise to keep covered (nobody wants to see my pale hairy gams).
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