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mister__joshua
I have a question regarding contacts, and wondered how this was handled by other people. AFAIK there isn't an official rule on how this works.

I am Bob Shadowrunner. I want a contact that is a street doc. I want to spend 2 build points (Connection 1, Loyalty 1)
I can take Doctor Phil, unlicenced but really good honestly, I won't sell your 'spare' bits street doc. OR
I can take Doctor Phil, former Doc Wagon emergency surgeon who ended up in the shadows after the Crash. Or, for that matter
I can take Doctor Phil, 4 times initiated healing Shaman

All could have the same loyalty and connection, but for a contact who's connections don't really matter to you, you just want them for their abilities (medic, mage, hacker), what determines how good a contact is? I suppose you could always say it's up to the GM, but I've always liked the idea that starting character pick their own contacts.

Thoughts?

Cheers
Blade
To me, Connectivity is also about the skill of the contact, especially for contacts whose primary purpose is their skills rather than who they know.
Oracle
QUOTE (Blade @ Jun 8 2011, 11:37 AM) *
To me, Connectivity is also about the skill of the contact, especially for contacts whose primary purpose is their skills rather than who they know.


That's how we do it in my group.
phlapjack77
Main SR book and Runners Companion have some stats for various contacts...not sure if they have a street doc or not

I think a PC should be able to pick a contact's background to a certain extent, but not to the extent that it would give them any real in-play bonuses
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (phlapjack77 @ Jun 8 2011, 11:41 AM) *
I think a PC should be able to pick a contact's background to a certain extent, but not to the extent that it would give them any real in-play bonuses
Exactly and moreover connection explicitly is not what a contact can do but who he knows and what pull he has with those people.
Concerning the street doc example, if the GM permits, you could go with the best shut-in (Connection 1) healer in the world (M.D., Initiate etc. you name it), but that doc would constantly be understocked, could not help you find new ware etc. as those things are not part of his skillset and he has to actually know people who have this stuff. Aditionally, since he never talks to anyone he would not know about for example overdoses of a new drug that fills the ERs of the city.

How realistic a shut in luminary in the medical field however is up to your GM and you.
Cain
Dakka's got it. A Connection of 1 isn't precisely what the contact's skills are, it's what the character can do for you. At connection 1, you've got a decent working relationship with someone who can reliably patch you up, no questions asked. If he does this magically, conventionally, or both really doesn't matter. But he wouldn't be of much use for you when you need info, new 'ware, or leads.
mister__joshua
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 8 2011, 11:27 AM) *
Dakka's got it. A Connection of 1 isn't precisely what the contact's skills are, it's what the character can do for you. At connection 1, you've got a decent working relationship with someone who can reliably patch you up, no questions asked. If he does this magically, conventionally, or both really doesn't matter. But he wouldn't be of much use for you when you need info, new 'ware, or leads.


Well, this is sort of what I was getting at. This is how I've always seen it, but in this case what mechanical reason is there to ever have your street doc contact as a dodgy patch man over the former docwagon surgeon? These contacts are (or can be, at least) all statted out. The first example would have maybe half a dozen dice in first aid, the second would have over double that, and would have medicine and biotech as well probably.

The first 2 replies suggesting using Connection as something more akin to Ability would work. So for someone like Doc it's their ability, but for a Fixer etc it's still all about who they know. I'm still not sure
Aerospider
QUOTE (mister__joshua @ Jun 8 2011, 12:10 PM) *
Well, this is sort of what I was getting at. This is how I've always seen it, but in this case what mechanical reason is there to ever have your street doc contact as a dodgy patch man over the former docwagon surgeon? These contacts are (or can be, at least) all statted out. The first example would have maybe half a dozen dice in first aid, the second would have over double that, and would have medicine and biotech as well probably.

The first 2 replies suggesting using Connection as something more akin to Ability would work. So for someone like Doc it's their ability, but for a Fixer etc it's still all about who they know. I'm still not sure

There shouldn't be a direct link between Connection and the contact's personal ability, though they are related by proxy through the contact's story. That is to say, both Connection and stats should be supported through who the guy is and what he gets (or has been) up to. It is unlikely that an Initiate of grade 4 would have so little involvement with the Awakened community as to have a Connection of 1 but not impossible so long as his story supports these things in conjunction then it's ok.

As for balance I personally approach it like the procurement of any resourse the more you want the more it costs. With a loyalty of 1 you're not going to get any discounts for friendship so if your contact is pretty decent at what he does you'll find he charges more for his assistance than if he were a med-school dropout scraping a living in the gutter. Market behaviour dictates that more skillful professionals will charge more if only because they can. With high loyalty ratings it gets a bit trickier because there will be some things for which the contact won't charge the PC even if they are really good at what they do, so to keep a sense of balance I have the less-able contacts go the extra mile to compensate for what they lack.

So, suppose you need patching up. Here are some loose examples:

Loyalty 1, superior skills Charged superior skills rate.
Loyalty 1, inferior skills Charged inferior skills rate.
Loyalty 6, superior skills On the house buddy.
Loyalty 6, inferior skills On the house buddy. Could you find a use for these spare stim patches? You know, my sister's not seeing anyone right now...
Cain
QUOTE (mister__joshua @ Jun 8 2011, 04:10 AM) *
Well, this is sort of what I was getting at. This is how I've always seen it, but in this case what mechanical reason is there to ever have your street doc contact as a dodgy patch man over the former docwagon surgeon? These contacts are (or can be, at least) all statted out. The first example would have maybe half a dozen dice in first aid, the second would have over double that, and would have medicine and biotech as well probably.

The first 2 replies suggesting using Connection as something more akin to Ability would work. So for someone like Doc it's their ability, but for a Fixer etc it's still all about who they know. I'm still not sure

A Connection 1 street doc can reliably patch you up. What his exact stats are doesn't matter, since that's all he'll be useful for. According to the rules, he's mostly a source of Knowledge skills. A higher connection would mean he could reliably get his hands on better drugs, better equipment, and so on. A Docwagon surgeon might have access to that equipment, but not the clearance to sneak it out to the runners. A Connection 1 Fixer would mostly be good as an information broker, a line into the rumor mill at best.
mister__joshua
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Jun 8 2011, 12:29 PM) *
There shouldn't be a direct link between Connection and the contact's personal ability, though they are related by proxy through the contact's story. That is to say, both Connection and stats should be supported through who the guy is and what he gets (or has been) up to. It is unlikely that an Initiate of grade 4 would have so little involvement with the Awakened community as to have a Connection of 1 but not impossible so long as his story supports these things in conjunction then it's ok.

As for balance I personally approach it like the procurement of any resourse the more you want the more it costs. With a loyalty of 1 you're not going to get any discounts for friendship so if your contact is pretty decent at what he does you'll find he charges more for his assistance than if he were a med-school dropout scraping a living in the gutter. Market behaviour dictates that more skillful professionals will charge more if only because they can. With high loyalty ratings it gets a bit trickier because there will be some things for which the contact won't charge the PC even if they are really good at what they do, so to keep a sense of balance I have the less-able contacts go the extra mile to compensate for what they lack.

So, suppose you need patching up. Here are some loose examples:

Loyalty 1, superior skills Charged superior skills rate.
Loyalty 1, inferior skills Charged inferior skills rate.
Loyalty 6, superior skills On the house buddy.
Loyalty 6, inferior skills On the house buddy. Could you find a use for these spare stim patches? You know, my sister's not seeing anyone right now...



I like this. Cheers. That's something to think on. smile.gif
mister__joshua
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 8 2011, 12:47 PM) *
A Connection 1 street doc can reliably patch you up. What his exact stats are doesn't matter, since that's all he'll be useful for. According to the rules, he's mostly a source of Knowledge skills. A higher connection would mean he could reliably get his hands on better drugs, better equipment, and so on. A Docwagon surgeon might have access to that equipment, but not the clearance to sneak it out to the runners. A Connection 1 Fixer would mostly be good as an information broker, a line into the rumor mill at best.


I get what you're saying. A street doc is a street doc and his stats don't matter cos he fixes you up and that's all he does. Maybe street doc was a bad example then. Let's instead think hacker. A recluse of a hacker with connection 1. In this case, a Hacker has many uses, and his usefulness is directly related to his skill and not who he knows, it's all about what he can achieve.
Ghost_in_the_System
You pull up the 'buying a better hacker' list or whatever and there is what a hacker can and can't do for you. Higher connection means it happens faster. Remember, you're dealing with a (friendly) NPC here, so even a particularly skilled NPC hacker is still unlikely to be particularly exemplary. The high connection means the hacker has buddies and resources to help, while the lack of connection means the hacker is going to work on her own and so be severely limited.

While connection may not be a direct measure of a contact's ability, I think it should be a direct measure of what they can do for you, because honestly, very little happens in the vacuum of a single person. The street doc with connection 1 may be skilled, but will have trouble getting even fairly basic medicine and equipment, so hope you enjoy surgery without pain killers wink.gif The hacker with connection 1 may be skilled, but will have trouble getting programs or getting people together for larger hack jobs.
LurkerOutThere
We've actually had this discussion amongst my group, we floated a houserule to represent individual competence. Never got traction though. By and large i figure most of your contacts won't be prime runners, they'll have 8-14 dice in the primary area of skill and anyhting else is accomplished by handwavium and common sense. It's not that they arn't good at their jobs, they just shouldn't be a crutch for the PC's.

Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Jun 8 2011, 02:09 PM) *
By and large i figure most of your contacts won't be prime runners, they'll have 8-14 dice in the primary area of skill and anyhting else is accomplished by handwavium and common sense.
That's the way I do it as well
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
And if I remember correctly, at least for the Street Doc example, there is a Chart in the Advanced Medtech Rules in Augmentation that gives you a range of Skill based upon what/where the Doc works, From Base Street to Delta Clinic...
Vuron
I pretty much see Connections/Competency as the same thing.

A StreetDoc would have more of his resources focused on training, access to drugs, cyberware/bioware access, access to clean operating rooms and post-op, etc.

A Fixer has focused more of his finite resources on how to grease wheels, and connect people to other people, acquire objects, fence loot, set up meets.

For me a connections 1 street doc is probably a disgraced former doctor, or a surgical nurse with some training, or a med tech, or maybe even a vet. They are competent at patching people up and keeping stuff like gunshot wounds out of police reports, etc. They have access to basic drugs and can provide post-operative care but their ability to handle complex medical stuff like transplants, cyberware attachment, etc is probably pretty limited.

Connections 2 is middle of the road, probably has access to fairly nice pharmaceuticals and standard cyberware/bioware, maybe even some alphaware, but probably can't do cultured bioware or genetech. Standard operating room with a surgical nurse and someone who can help with post op.

Connections 3 is a shadow clinic street doc, they can do cool stuff and have access to cool if not quite cutting edge ware.

Connections 4 or 5 is heavy hitters in Medtech, cutting edge stuff like Deltaware and military grade cyberware packages

James McMurray
The player decides what type of contact he wants. The GM determines the stats. If the player wants an ex-surgeon, maybe he's an ex-surgeon because he's a drunk and his skills have deteriorated over the years. Given the loyalty 1, the PC probably doesn't even know about it until he sees the shaky hand right as the anesthesia kicks in.

Whatever the background and stats mash up, 'he's not a crutch" is the right mantra.
Rubic
Alternate interpretation:

Connection is a combination of the contact's aptitutude, resources, and exactly how much they're willing to commit to you.

example:
Jacob Grant, a.k.a. the fixer Sonny Dei, knows everybody who's everybody, and most who are nobody. He's got an overall, personal connections rating of 6 and dines with Lofwyr regularly. You pull him as a L6 C2 contact. He likes you, hell he may have set you up with several of his sisters, his aunt, and/or his mother before. He'll drag you about for a night on the town when you're not busy running. However, he has responsibilities to OTHER contacts who he also likes, and so you can't expect to be secretly field-testing the latest Ares masterpiece, or picking up any rare jewels from the depths of the Amazon from his pipelines. You're a good kid, as far as he's concerned, but business is still business, and you need to put in a little more before you get more out of it.

Reasonable?
Ghost_in_the_System
That makes sense. I've occasionally been in a position where I wanted someone as a contact but they should have had more connection than I could really afford, and that sounds like a reasonable way to handle things. Sure, you know a deltaclinic surgon and she is your best friend, but he just isn't willing/able to pass out deltaware stuff to you despite how much she likes you.
Wakshaani
I tend to use connection as, roughly, how many 'services' a contact will do for you.

Connection 1 will essentially do one thing ... the street doc will patch you up, but he won't implant cyber or get rid of bodies for you.

Connection 2 will do a couple things... the bartender will keep you up on local gossip AND let you meet in the backroom. Or he'll give you cheap drinks AND can arrange to have a mobster meet you.

Connection 3 will do a few things ... the street cop won't arrest you for walking around, will talk (for bribes), and will let you know if an APB goes out for you (But you'll owe him one) ... or he'll bail your as out of jail, give you a place to sleep for a night, and can track down Grid Guide ID numbers from the DMV.


Connection 4 will do a lot of things ... the corp secretary will be able to get you a list of who her boss has been meeting, slip you some tickets to swank events her boss doesn't want to attend, tell you when company events are going on (The easier to pick an extraction target from a picnic or break in when no one's at the office), and, oh yes, a little sumtin sumtin on the side.

And so on.

It's not the best system in the world, but it gives everyone a rough idea of what they're getting. Connection 1 people are generally there for just one thing ... the BTL dealer deals, the doc will patch you up, the talismonger will sell you supplies, but that's about it. You want more favors, you pay more points.
Ghost_in_the_System
Also sounds good, with loyalty being how likely he is to do those things for you.
Rubic
That's roughly what I'm doing, Wakshaani, although worded a bit differently. We're both focusing on what a contact will provide per connection rating. I'm just saying that what a contact has access to and what YOU have access to through that particular contact are not necessarily on the same level.

To use your examples:

Connection 1 Cyberdoc: he won't dispose of bodies for you... however, he knows how to get in touch with Tammanous or some ghouls for a drop-off, though he doesn't think you're discreet or cautious enough to pull it off safely. He's really a C2 or 3, but you only get C1 because you only bought C1.

Connection 2 Bartender: Cheap drinks and access to the back room for quiet meetings are roughly what you get out of him. What you don't know is he used to be in with Blood Bowl sporting events, and can score event seating with advanced notice. He doesn't do it often, because he hasn't met many worth their salt who were really into it, and you've never asked so he never tells. Maybe if you got the riffraff away from his part of the street or helped him pick up a few nuyen on the side he'd let you in on it. C3 or 4 overall, but you just get 2.

and so on.
Badmoodguy88
Sounds good.

But to put it in vanilla game terms you might think about a favor having a monetary value, as you might be paying them anyway. The difference between what you would normally pay would factor into things. You might even pay them extra, he is a friend right? Potentially anyway. It does not have to be all one sided. Anyway having someone to go to for stuff, and who won't burn you is worth it. But I guess that is more a function of loyalty.

My only reservation is that level 6 contacts seem improbable from a standpoint of how influential they are supposed to be, but if it is only a factor of how much their favors and information is worth than I guess that makes more sense. I would be tempted to make a separate ratting for something like how good they are at granting the favors they do, but that is unnecessary tedium I guess.
Wakshaani
Loyalty tends to deal more with prices. A connection 4 type will do you a solid now and then because you're good for it (For example, as a regular customer at a few eateries, every so often the girls will give me a free meal. Always nice!) and will certainly cut you a deal on stuff (I can get it for you wholesale!) ... meanwhile, a loyalty 1 type only cares about your cash. Once again, the 1/1 BTL dealer is willing to sell to you, and that's about it. You're just a walking credstick as far as they care. The Connection 1/Loyalty 4 BTL dealer, meanwhile, slips you some new stuff to try out, since you give good reviews, and makes sure to call you as soon as your personal favorite chips come in. (Hey, Frank? It's Scab. Look, I just got a new load of Trannie Trolls in. Only four copies, but, you get dibs. Yeah, thought so. See you in thirty.)

Mind you, I cap ratings at 4 for my game (The infamous "Shadowrun 320" campaign) for a starting character, so, nobody starts with MAJOR contact stuff, but, if you work at it, you can get these things up way high. Nothing like a contact that eventually turns into a CEO's brother in law, right? smile.gif
Badmoodguy88
I figure like you said loyalty is worth a discount. I am just say to put it in more quantitative terms you might consider that loyalty to have a monitary value. I don't think of my freinds that way but we are talking game balance and stuff, right? If the contact ratting is how deep they can reach with a favor and loyalty how willing they are to reach deep. It is easy to do case by case. You are constantly thinking how much it would take to bribe someone or pay someone.

I guess what ever ratting your contact is, they should be worth that ratting. If they are fully utilized or cleverly overcapitalized upon is a different issue. Lets imagine that lowly street doc. The amount of use he should be able to provide should be equal to a crash cart doc, or a delta clinic doc of the same contact ratting.

Lets say they are all level 3 connections contacts. These are each professionals, of possibly equal skill, but varying circumstances.

The street doc probably knows more shadow runners, has some weapons skills (so is less fearful of that kind of risk), he is more accessible being his own boss and not living in a closed community, and he is probably the only one who can treat runners in his clinic and charge what he feels like.

The crash cart doc is middle class, he has more money, access to more stuff, and knows a lot of other doctors, he might be able to slip you some medical supplies swiped from work, give free first aid in off hours, or fudge a few forms when your do end up in a hospital so as to not raise alarms with lonestar. In his personal live he knows doctors, may know and be freindly with law enforcement (crash carts come to the aid downed officer too), he may frequent nightclubs and know people from that or some other hobby. He probably lives in a nice neighborhood but not a corporate enclave.

The delta doc is a high valued asset for some corp or criminal organization. He does a lot of work, and a lot of it is on a need to know basis where he does not need to know. He can't sneak friends in on the week end and chrome them out or even patch their wounds. He can treat them at his home, and probably for free, if they can get into see him in his corporate paid and highly monitored home. If the runners progress to the point of being important enough that getting deltaware is not out of the question then the contact can facilitate things to make it happen sooner and smoother.

"Hey I mentioned you to the boss, you're going to have to do some stuff but it shouldn't be anything you can't handle, oh and he told me to put a cranial bomb in you as a precaution but don't worry I'll just fake it. It's not like they don't know you could just get it removed if you found out we slipped you one. And your a runner you are going to suspect we slipped you a cranial bomb. It is like standard with these guys. We should call it a number four; state of the art chrome with a side of cranial bomb and a small fry. Because why not blow up that quarter million credits worth of ware we just stuck in you?! So anyway they won't suspect me if they pull the switch and no boom. Just play along if they threaten you right off the bat."
LurkerOutThere
QUOTE (Rubic @ Jun 8 2011, 08:05 PM) *
Alternate interpretation:

Connection is a combination of the contact's aptitutude, resources, and exactly how much they're willing to commit to you.

example:
Jacob Grant, a.k.a. the fixer Sonny Dei, knows everybody who's everybody, and most who are nobody. He's got an overall, personal connections rating of 6 and dines with Lofwyr regularly. You pull him as a L6 C2 contact. He likes you, hell he may have set you up with several of his sisters, his aunt, and/or his mother before. He'll drag you about for a night on the town when you're not busy running. However, he has responsibilities to OTHER contacts who he also likes, and so you can't expect to be secretly field-testing the latest Ares masterpiece, or picking up any rare jewels from the depths of the Amazon from his pipelines. You're a good kid, as far as he's concerned, but business is still business, and you need to put in a little more before you get more out of it.

Reasonable?


In a word no, at least not in terms of the system as it sits. A contact in my mind shouldn't have multiple incarnations. Further at least by the book a contact with loyalty 6 by definition will do literally anything for you within their means.

Now i'll grant that the current system in the book is somewhat lackluster for situations exactly like this. A rating scale 1-6 is ill equiped to map those folks who are supremely well connected, it won't map the fastjacks of the world very well. FUrther it should be entirely possible to be really really good at your job without being well connected. There's an example in the virtual realities book about the best programmer on the planet. He's kept in isolation and thrown joygirls and novacoke and allowed to play online games, and in exchange he turns out awesome IC and program code. That guy should have a connection of 1 or 0 but his skills should be top notch. Similarly a retired chief surgeon from Seattle General should have almost no contacts to speak of (especially in the shadow community, which is what contacts represent) but aught to be very competent.

Hence my feeling that an ideal system would have a 1-10 rating and have Loyalty/Competence/Connection but that would be a significant rebuild on the current system.
redwulf25
QUOTE (mister__joshua @ Jun 8 2011, 04:29 AM) *
I have a question regarding contacts, and wondered how this was handled by other people. AFAIK there isn't an official rule on how this works.

I am Bob Shadowrunner. I want a contact that is a street doc. I want to spend 2 build points (Connection 1, Loyalty 1)
I can take Doctor Phil, unlicenced but really good honestly, I won't sell your 'spare' bits street doc. OR
I can take Doctor Phil, former Doc Wagon emergency surgeon who ended up in the shadows after the Crash. Or, for that matter
I can take Doctor Phil, 4 times initiated healing Shaman

All could have the same loyalty and connection, but for a contact who's connections don't really matter to you, you just want them for their abilities (medic, mage, hacker), what determines how good a contact is? I suppose you could always say it's up to the GM, but I've always liked the idea that starting character pick their own contacts.

Thoughts?

Cheers


Connection 1 Loyalty 1? That's "Doctor" Bob who flunked out of Veterinary school. He's constantly drunk and in debt to organleggers. You want your streetdoc to have a higher rating in both.
mister__joshua
QUOTE (redwulf25 @ Jun 9 2011, 08:17 AM) *
Connection 1 Loyalty 1? That's "Doctor" Bob who flunked out of Veterinary school. He's constantly drunk and in debt to organleggers. You want your streetdoc to have a higher rating in both.


Well, that was only an example to demonstrate my point. Although, as a counter, my thoughts were as Lurker said above, that a contact shouldn't be crap at his job just because he's not well connected. He said it better than me though smile.gif
suoq
While I agree with Lurker, I do want to point out just how far to the other direction connections can go.
http://www.shadowrun4.com/missions/seattle...son-4-contacts/ is the Missons contact list. Connection 5 = Bull's Prime Runner OR the head of the Seattle Atlantean Foundation branch. Decide for yourself what Connection 6 would mean in Missions.
Rubic
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Jun 9 2011, 03:12 AM) *
In a word no, at least not in terms of the system as it sits. A contact in my mind shouldn't have multiple incarnations. Further at least by the book a contact with loyalty 6 by definition will do literally anything for you within their means.

Not exactly ANYTHING. They will do what they believe to be the absolute best for you in such a situation. They'll put a roof over your head, lie to/bribe the cops... but giving you that prototype weapon that does ungodly amounts of damage might get you beaten and robbed out on the streets, since you haven't shown them that you know how to handle yourself. Perhaps you're not the ONLY one who has a Loyalty 6 with them, and maintaining contact ratings through RP/gifts/improving their business is important (at least as far as common sense and fluff goes). As I said, they like you, and they'd gladly give you their support, but then business is a completely different matter, and they have responsibilities. Come by when the heat is on, or when you have some spare time and/or cash, but you don't get top-shelf merch until you can reach it, figuratively speaking.

QUOTE
Now i'll grant that the current system in the book is somewhat lackluster for situations exactly like this. A rating scale 1-6 is ill equiped to map those folks who are supremely well connected, it won't map the fastjacks of the world very well. FUrther it should be entirely possible to be really really good at your job without being well connected. There's an example in the virtual realities book about the best programmer on the planet. He's kept in isolation and thrown joygirls and novacoke and allowed to play online games, and in exchange he turns out awesome IC and program code. That guy should have a connection of 1 or 0 but his skills should be top notch. Similarly a retired chief surgeon from Seattle General should have almost no contacts to speak of (especially in the shadow community, which is what contacts represent) but aught to be very competent.

Hence my feeling that an ideal system would have a 1-10 rating and have Loyalty/Competence/Connection but that would be a significant rebuild on the current system.

The LCC would not be too harsh on its own, and while I do agree with it largely, the only problem I'd have is that the Connection rating would likely have to be equal or less than the Competence; after all, if somebody has connections 6, then they'd need to be at least as good as a face, hacker, or smuggler. Perhaps it'd suit some people better if Connections and Loyalty had to be within certain steps of each other (similar to custom lifestyles)?
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Rubic @ Jun 9 2011, 04:37 PM) *
Perhaps it'd suit some people better if Connections and Loyalty had to be within certain steps of each other (similar to custom lifestyles)?
This makes no sense IMHO. Why would all of your best friends be awesomely skilled and/or connected and everyone you barely know be shut in slackers? While a character will certainly try to chose his contacts that way, this surely isn't always the case.
Rubic
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Jun 9 2011, 10:50 AM) *
This makes no sense IMHO. Why would all of your best friends be awesomely skilled and/or connected and everyone you barely know be shut in slackers? While a character will certainly try to chose his contacts that way, this surely isn't always the case.

Most likely, due to Nepotism. People generally like to surround themselves with people they get along with. They also like to be on the good side of people who can and will get them stuff (cynical but not very wrong). More people will make the effort to get that Connection 6 contact to be as loyal as possible.

Just remember, there's a difference between covering for your ass when the cops run round and inviting you to dinner with a Great Dragon. That difference is how much you've proven you're not going to get yourself and your contact eaten.
Dakka Dakka
As I said a character will try to get the valuable contact's loyalty as high as possible, but this does not mean that it will be at that level at all times. The character may have just been introduced to Damien Knight or will have a very good friend/close relative who is a teenager with mad hacking skills but not much social pull.
Making a rule of connecting Connection and Loyalty just limits options IMHO without any gain.
Cheops
The benefit of connections is that when you rely on the Contact for certain rolls they get to roll their Ability + Skill + Connections as opposed to you doing it yourself and getting Ability + Skill. They also charge 5% of the price of the gear per point of skill.

So if you are playing Mr. Uncouth Street Sam and you need to get your own wares because the Face is busy then that Connections 1 Street Doc likely has better dice pools for getting you the gear. If however you are the Face or the Face can help you out you are always better off using the Face's own pools as opposed to using a contact (barring Connection 3+ Fixer/Johnson types). It depends on how fast you want the gear and what sort of markup you are willing to take (6 dice for a 30% markup or 1 die for 5%).

As to the actual skills of the contact that is up to GM discretion. There are no IG 4 Street Shamans listed in the contacts lists so that would be up to his discretion. A former DocWagon and a Street Doc are essentially the same in what sort of clinic they likely have (Augmentation) as well as skill level (they both use the Street Doc template). These are table negotiations.

Also don't neglect Loyalty. It is very powerful. Maybe your arms dealer can't get you the sniper rifle you need in time for the run (not enough connections + skill ) but he may be able to give you a "hot" rifle with scope + bullets that he wants to get rid of (Loyalty 2 if I remember correctly). Same thing with Street Docs patching you up after a run -- if they are loyal and they don't have to go too far out of their way they may patch you up for free. Check the Favours table in the book.
Bearclaw
You get what you pay for. 2 points for some one who will be alone in a room with you while you're unconcious is insane.
You don't get to say "he won't sell my parts to the organ leggers" because, as a loyalty 1 contact, he will. You want the loyalty 2 contact, who will only sell the really valuble parts to the organleggers, unless you're a very good customer. Or the loyalty 3 who will only sell your parts after you died.

Seriously, you don't get a good, trustworthy, underground doctor for 2 points. That sounds like at least 5 to me.
LurkerOutThere
QUOTE (Bearclaw @ Jun 9 2011, 06:16 PM) *
You get what you pay for. 2 points for some one who will be alone in a room with you while you're unconcious is insane.
You don't get to say "he won't sell my parts to the organ leggers" because, as a loyalty 1 contact, he will. You want the loyalty 2 contact, who will only sell the really valuble parts to the organleggers, unless you're a very good customer. Or the loyalty 3 who will only sell your parts after you died.

Seriously, you don't get a good, trustworthy, underground doctor for 2 points. That sounds like at least 5 to me.


And i disagree, a contact shouldn't automaticly sell your organs to the leggers just because you used them for their basic function, that's not a good way to stay in business, or alive. The chance is there and honestly it's in your best interest to make sure your buddy is there with you when you go under the knife to make sure the doc behaves but just saying 1/1 street doc = ghoul chow is just silly. Of course saying that if there's reasons for your doc to want to sell you out, leveraged debts by the ghouls, a bounty on your head sure, but that sort of thing could potentially be a problem for any contact.

Bottom line I think most times in shadowrun you should be able to expect your contacts to be willing to exchange services for money or favors and as long as there's not a greater inducement they will want to keep you coming back to do so.

As a final thought, you should always bring a trustworthy buddy, preferably with some surgery knowledgesofts to any streetdoc appointment regardless of loyalty/skill level. It keeps the doc honest and ensures there's someone to haul you back to your place and put a vomit bowl by your bed after the work in case you react poorly to the new wares or anesthesia.

Teulisch
i think a 1 connection would be more like an EMT. he can patch a bullet wound so you dont bleed out and die, but hes not going to be able to do implant surgery. certainly not able to find you the ware you want. but lacking connection could also mean that theres a reason this guy dosent have a regular medical practice. an alcoholic doctor would be a good example of this, great when hes sober on rare occasions. theres usualy a reason why these guys have so much free time to talk to you.

from a mechanics standpoint in SR4A, loyalty is bonus dice to negotiate with. low loyalty really just means hes not going to cut you any slack on price, but at least he knows your not an undercover cop.

now, i could totally see a loyalty one contact being bribed to do a little extra work, like installing a backdoor or killswitch in your new ware....
Redjack
Some people are confusing loyalty as an aspect of connection. Connection is a measure of their ability to perform. Loyalty is a measure of their willingness to perform for you.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Jun 9 2011, 04:53 PM) *
And i disagree, a contact shouldn't automaticly sell your organs to the leggers just because you used them for their basic function, that's not a good way to stay in business, or alive. The chance is there and honestly it's in your best interest to make sure your buddy is there with you when you go under the knife to make sure the doc behaves but just saying 1/1 street doc = ghoul chow is just silly. Of course saying that if there's reasons for your doc to want to sell you out, leveraged debts by the ghouls, a bounty on your head sure, but that sort of thing could potentially be a problem for any contact.

Bottom line I think most times in shadowrun you should be able to expect your contacts to be willing to exchange services for money or favors and as long as there's not a greater inducement they will want to keep you coming back to do so.

As a final thought, you should always bring a trustworthy buddy, preferably with some surgery knowledgesofts to any streetdoc appointment regardless of loyalty/skill level. It keeps the doc honest and ensures there's someone to haul you back to your place and put a vomit bowl by your bed after the work in case you react poorly to the new wares or anesthesia.


This cannot be said enough... Well Said LurkerOutThere... wobble.gif
baronspam
QUOTE (redwulf25 @ Jun 9 2011, 07:17 AM) *
Connection 1 Loyalty 1? That's "Doctor" Bob who flunked out of Veterinary school. He's constantly drunk and in debt to organleggers. You want your streetdoc to have a higher rating in both.

I disagree with this. Connection 1 means he doesn't have much in the way of a network. His skills are fine, but he can't get you elite cyberware, he doesn't hear much in the way or rumors, and he certianly isn't going to get you any drugs.

Loyalty 1 means its all business. You want bullet holes patched, he wants nuyen. As long as everyone can get what they want its a fine evening. If you're broke he slames the door in your face, he doesn't give credit, and you don't want to give him any critical information. He won't likely blab to just anyone, that would be bad for his business, but if he knows something important and someone leans on him, he doesn't really feel any need to watch out for you.

None of that means he is a lousy doc or a butcher. If he were he wouldn't have much of a client base. Professionals certainly wouldn't use him. Maybe the extreemly desperate or the extreemly poor, or the out and out crazy, of which there are many. But runners should be a level above street trash.

As to the original question as to how skilled the contact is, if I were the gm I would tell the player the more skilled the contact the more expensive his services. How skilled do you want him to be?
mister__joshua
It's nice to see this discussion got a bit of traction anyway. I've noticed there seems to be 2 groups developing, those that believe Connection should determine ability, and those that believe Connection and ability are seperate entities. Personally I'm in the second group, which is why I started the topic, but the first group's way of thinking does have its merits from a rules point of view. It's tidier and easier to handle. I just don't think it's right. smile.gif
suoq
By rules and descriptions, connection and ability are separate entities. However, not having a point cost for ability means that either the player or the GM is in complete control over the ability of the contact which can either lead to abuse or frustration. It's odd that the player can describe how well connected the NPC is (something that is very useful for certain types of NPCs) and reflect that in the cost, but be unable to describe how talented and skilled the NPC is (something that is very useful for other types of NPCs) and that usefulness is not reflected in the cost.

The simplest house rule around the issue is group #2, where connection = "ability to get the job done". This expands connection to include tools/facilities/skills/etc. It could be described as a formula such as (6 + connection * 2) dice pool for items in the contact's primary sphere of influence and (connection * 2) for items in the contact's secondary sphere of influence. (Dr. Henry Rollings is great at patching up Johnny M's bodyguard, but not so good at getting the data out of Johnny M's head.)

Personal favorite example of contacts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4izq4PguFQs fast forward to 9:48
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
I am actually in the camp where the Player ands the GM discuss the Contact in question and come up with the Character together. That way there are very few surprises. There is still a bit of leeway on Stats, because the Player should not know exact stats, but there should be some sort of consensus of a range between the Player and the GM.
Dakka Dakka
I totally agree.
Vuron
As the contact will rarely be on runs with the PCs and thus really doesn't function as a cohort, I'm not sure that the contact really needs consensus as to the mechanical build of the the contact in question.

A high connection Fixer need not be Prime Runner in competency as most of his functionality based upon his Contact Rating + Charisma Rating. My personal thoughts are that anyone functioning as a Fixer is going to have a Etiquette Rating of 5+ with a specialization. Beyond that it's highly variable. They could be someone with all 1 physical attributes operating from a VR environment 24/7/365 or an ex-Prime Runner with a crazy amount of gear.

By a similar token a street doc or talismonger might not have a huge amount of connections within the community but might be personally incredibly skilled with extremely high dice pools in their specialty.

Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Vuron @ Jun 10 2011, 08:56 AM) *
As the contact will rarely be on runs with the PCs and thus really doesn't function as a cohort, I'm not sure that the contact really needs consensus as to the mechanical build of the the contact in question.

A high connection Fixer need not be Prime Runner in competency as most of his functionality based upon his Contact Rating + Charisma Rating. My personal thoughts are that anyone functioning as a Fixer is going to have a Etiquette Rating of 5+ with a specialization. Beyond that it's highly variable. They could be someone with all 1 physical attributes operating from a VR environment 24/7/365 or an ex-Prime Runner with a crazy amount of gear.

By a similar token a street doc or talismonger might not have a huge amount of connections within the community but might be personally incredibly skilled with extremely high dice pools in their specialty.


I was not necessarrily refering to Attributes when I said Stats. Contacts, Skills, Knowledges, and Personality all play a part in the stats of the Contact Character, and while the vast majority of that should be handled by the GM, the Player should have at least some say in those Contacts that he has paid for at Character Creation. Those that may come along during the campaign are people that they have interacted with, and they get what they get. They want a better contact than what they were given, then they need to go out and find one, and cultivate them.

There is absolutely no need for a Contact the be a Prime Runner unless that is the nature of the Contact. smile.gif
Of course, when you get one, it is very nice.
CanRay
"Wait, you dumped a dozen points into a single contact. Who the hell is worth 12 BP?" "FastJack. He was my Uncle that lived in the Computer while I was growing up." "... ... ... Can't argue that one."
LurkerOutThere
One of the biggest problems I see with linking connection and competence is connection becomes the be all skill and essentially gives you two mints in one. You get a high connection street doc, he's not only good at his job but can get you all sorts of fun toys.

Also I re-iterate that the best way to do things is have the GM and the player work out the expectations and nature of contacts ahead of time adds another good level to the storytelling.

Redjack
QUOTE (CanRay @ Jun 10 2011, 10:43 AM) *
"Wait, you dumped a dozen points into a single contact. Who the hell is worth 12 BP?" "FastJack. He was my Uncle that lived in the Computer while I was growing up." "... ... ... Can't argue that one."
I tend to look crossly any contact with an overall cost over 8BP due to the effects they can have on game balance.
CanRay
QUOTE (Redjack @ Jun 10 2011, 12:48 PM) *
I tend to look crossly any contact with an overall cost over 8BP due to the effects they can have on game balance.

Yes, but take into consideration that they're your contact... You're also THEIR contact.

And the higher the Connection, the harder the problems. vegm.gif

Honestly, to use my example before, if FastJack is calling you up for help, you know the drek has hit the fan!
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