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This is the fourth thread in what I'm going to provisionally call the 'Emperor Tippy Saga', started by its namesake when he asked about a 4 mil payout on a run. Since then there have been hundreds of posts across multiple threads all in some way connected to this one post. So obviously I'm going to cash in on the bandwagon so that in years to come I can point to this thread and say 'Hey, I once started a thread that got a bajillion replies!' nyahnyah.gif

Now onto topic: as several people have pointed out there are many levels of game, from street gangers barely scraping by to high-end prime runners stealing the corps' most heavily guarded secrets. for convenience I'm going to try and quantify this awesome:

1) Low street: you're mainly running against gangs, payouts mean that you just scrape by, and the only reason the Mafia or Ancients don't crush you is that they don't care enough.

2) High street: You're a respected name in the local z-zone, can afford a lifestyle and a safehouse and still have enough cash to upgrade that wired reflexes after a couple of weeks saving. Your employers tend to be large gangs or organized crime.

3) Low corporate: You're a gun-for-hire or similar, mainly employed by rating A or AA corps for runs against A or AA targets. It's the small league, but you can pay the rent each month and have enough change for a soycaf at the local starbucks.

4) Mid corporate: You've got a decent reputation, enough that AAA's are willing to hire you for less important work and AA's consider you on their upper list of 'get-things-doners'. You're making enough for a high lifestyle, a safehouse, and some new toys every couple of weeks.

5) High corporate: You're Ares' go-to guys for an extraction from a Neonet safezone, can and will take down Milspec targets for those that can meet your fee, and are generally the cream of the shadowrunning crop. You're swinging a high lifestyle and multiple safehouses, or maybe even a luxury lifestyle, and can impulse buy most standard-grade 'ware.

6) Super-high corporate: You are a matrix meme on par with Chuck Norris, command fees in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of Nuyen, and are hired when an impossible mission cannot fail. You swing with a luxury lifestyle and then some, can impulse buy Milspec tech, and might even be a lurker on Jackpoint.

Note that a campaign can and will change styles, and that there is overlap between each section in this non-comprehensive list.

My current campaign is both a 2 and somewhere between 3 and 4, with some payouts barely worth getting out of bed for on the face of it (Secure a corporate facility for a grand apiece, though as the facility in questing is deltaware-capable it's worth it solely to get the contact) and others paying suspiciously well (an infiltration mission is looking to net us about 30k each, and we're waiting for the other shoe to drop).

So where do your campaigns stand?
I try to start my campaigns somewhere between High Street and Low Corporate, depending on the character backgrounds I get from players usually by the end of them they hit Highish level. I ran my players through Ancient History's finale for the Artifacts series, so those guys at least retired as Jackpoint lurkers. My first campaign started with High Street, ended with the players being welcomed back from the moon by Lofwyr, only for the Psychotic Trollbow to decide that he really needed to kill a dragon RIGHT NOW and get backhanded into orbit. The rest of the team 'retired' as Lofwyr's personal guard.

So, I'm all over the place, but I usually start the players as just beginning to make a name for themselves, then catching The Big Break that let's them play with the bigger boys. It makes them feel like they've earned it.
Honestly, going by your descriptions, it would seem that Mid-Corporate to High-Corporate (to use your monikers) would be the most enjoyable to me (so long as the lifestyle doesn't eat the entirety of the payouts).
Heck, you players deal with the lifestyle you want to live. I don't enforce any lifestyle limits.
Sid Nitzerglobin
One game (5 sessions in) has runs sitting around a 3 for the content level and somewhere around 1.5-2 for payouts, only way we get to 2 for payout is if we salvage/organleg the opposition or double dip on paydata.

The other (2 sessions in) seems like it's probably a solid 3 for content and payout was 5500/runner for 1st run, ~12,200/runner for 2nd after expenses.

Sposed to be starting a 3rd game in the next couple of weeks but don't have much of a feel for where it will start off yet. I'm guessing in the 2-3 range though.
By your terms mid-corporate is most of the campaign usually start a bit lower and end a bit higher.
Low corporate. Base pay is :nuyen:10,000 per runner per run, plus a little for an unusually risky job.
Sid Nitzerglobin
Just a quick note: Upon closer inspection, the description of payout on high street actually sounds more comfortable than low corporate.

Dunno if that was intentional or not...
QUOTE (Sid Nitzerglobin @ Sep 29 2012, 11:11 AM) *
Just a quick note: Upon closer inspection, the description of payout on high street actually sounds more comfortable than low corporate.

Dunno if that was intentional or not...

It was. In retrospect I should probably have divided it into "Criminal aspects" and "Corporate aspects", with 1 and 2 as the first and 3+ as the second, and made it clear that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Blame my poor communication skills.
Mid-corporate at start and rising from there.
Campaign A is Ghost Cartells (Meteor ,Pitfighter Troll, 70 Karma)
which should be something between #2 and #3
Campaign B Miami ( us Vs the Voodoo Cartells,Will-o-Wisp, Gnome Adept hacker, 50 Karma)
A Bit Highclass .somewhere between #3 and #4
Campaign C New Hong Kong (Ghost, Albino Wakyambi Pistolero Adept, 10 Karma)
Standard Runs. #2

With various Dances
Not currently GMing or playing, but around "Mid-Corporate" would be my favorite level.

However I don't think you should tie these levels to the corp ratings. AA corps in their specific areas of activity can have almost as much clout as the AAAs, they just aren't as diversified. A run ordered by the Universal Omnitech or Frankfurt Bank Association CEO will probably have much more impact, be much riskier and better-paid than a run ordered by a middle-management desk jockey from Ares' or Mitsuhama's Dullsville office. I'd say that AA runs can be just as much super-high corporate as AAA runs.
My campaign started around your "high street" and "low corporate" level. I paid out 5-10 thou per run, then increased to around 20K as their rep grew and they started taking on some of the bigger corps. Now I guess my players are doing "mid-corporate" to "high corporate" runs (they are just lying low after a 100K high-risk run against a AAA), averaging 20 - 50K per run and up. This is after several years of play and approaching the 150 karma level.

My players are still leery of zero-zero runs, but have done a few. One blew up in their faces, and they are still dealing with the fallout from that ...
We're mostly playing Mid-corporate. I could not stand to play 1, 2 or 6 for any prolonged amount of time.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
Our Longest running campaign started out at Mid 2-3, and continued on to High 5. We had the culminating 6 leveled run towards the end (took about 18 months to set up and a 15 or so runs to have everything prepared). Campaign ran for just at 3 actual years. Characters changed in and out (Mostly because of Overwhelming Severe Trauma, Death or Incarceration until escape). There are 3 original Characters remaining, CYberlogician retired to spend time with his Girlfriend.

Typical Campaigns start at the 2 and advance to the 5 range dependant upon length. We start low and move up from there as we gain Cred, Notoriety and Rep.
Mine right now is at low level (in fact, it's 0th level). The runners have started with half karma, with little or no access to guns etc., no magic and hacking.

They are doing small jobs for the mob now, working their way up to street ganger status nyahnyah.gif
I like to start at 3. Opportunities at 2 and 4 sometimes present themselves. You may seek out jobs of 1 or 5, but significant karma is recommended before attempting a 5. Level 6 would be a possibility down the road. Weaker/stronger starting characters would go down/up a level, with weaker ones not getting access to 5s until later, and stronger ones advised to get some karma before going for level 6 jobs.
Christian Lafay
Higher end. But I would love to be in a street level game. But those usually just mean hack and slash games.
Capability-wise, the campaign I am playing in, we're 5. But most of the time, we do jobs in the 3-4 zone, just so we can completely dominate the opposition and make sure absolutely nothing goes wrong and everything runs smoothly. It helps that other than the face, the rest of the team keep our reps low.
My last game was definitely 1 heading to 2 at the very end. They were 300 BP characters (about 150 BP on attributes, less than 50,000 starting equipment, only one skill at a 5 and no criminal contacts). They had to build everything up themselves.
I played in a lvl 6 game before. I was basicly a super biogenetically and gene enhanced soldier, It was fun due to the fact that It felt alot more like I was a spartan from Halo :3. not to mention we started with alot of karma for karmagen haha. but there seems to always be more combat in lvl 5 and 6 then others. (excluding street or ganger games). I enjoy combat in shadowrun gives it a movie like feel, but I still enjoy the quieter aspect as well. well I love it haha but so far I have played a 2, 4, and a 6
Our current game started in the #1 or #2 area, but now almost 2 years later and 300+ karma we are more like #5 to #7 (our current mission will be paying gross 100k each).

Drake medic/combat leader, Troll mystic adept, drake infiltrator (currently on vacation for an undetermined amount of time), and vampire hacker/adept.


Our GM rewrote the rules on drakes and vampires to make them more useful/playable.
The Jopp
Hmm, probably Level 4 in earnings but difficulty of 5...

Bulletproof Adept Troll with moderate magic resistance

Borg rigger with the supervan that includes anti tank missiles

Ninja magician with an ally spirit, invisibility and a crapload of elementals if needed.


Troll takes center stage and ignores bullets while kicking people to death
Magician gives spell protection and elemental support while invisible and head-shotting people from point blank range
Rigger shoots stuff into tiny, tiny pieces with missiles and LMG's
We start out anywhere from 0 to 3, and then raise it up as we go. However I don't necessarily hold to the target distinctions (gangs at low level, then small corps, and so on). It's entirely possible for gang runs to be upper crust, and have AAA corporate milk-runs.
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