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I've just started the second seasons of missions, GMing for my brother. I've only played PbP SR for the last year or so, after the Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter. I've never GMed before, so it's a bit overwhelming. By the same token, he's never played Shadowrun at all, so he's quite understanding when I'm baffled about how to (say) analyse the bandwidth of a signal between a hacker and his bike. (It doesn't help that he's an EE, and whoever wrote that section of the rules certainly wasn't...).

While I'm open to any advice, the biggest question I have now is about reward. I've read several times that Missions is underpayed, and I expect this to only cause more problems for a single-player team. Now, I know there are radical differences of opinion on payscales on dumpshock. I'm aiming for a single professional in a fairly trenchcoat-style set of runs, with fairly rapid advancement, at first at least. (I expect this character to get retired or killed fairly shortly; at one point in the first run, he was down to 3 in his physical track, with 8 still living enemies. Yeah...)

So, how do you guys think should the pay scales (both Nuyen and Karma) should be adjusted?
Use the table for Karma rewards on page 269 of SR4A. I've heard of paying out about 2.5k per point of karma awarded, but with only one person that'll be significantly more payout than in a team. It also depends on how frequently you get missions - if I do one 'run a month they're going to have to pay out big. If I do one a week or more, they can pay out less.

As an aside: what's an EE?
Maybe electrical engineer?
QUOTE (NiL_FisK_Urd @ Oct 24 2012, 03:04 PM) *
Maybe electrical engineer?

Exactly. I'm a CpE (Computer Engineer) and ME (Mechanical Engineer) (basically, a roboticist.) So I understand generally what he's talking about, and tend to have great difficulty translating it into SR rules when it comes to wireless scanning. (Seriously? How exactly DO you go about measuring the bandwidth of a signal? Or polarity? Gain? Any of these can be measured in real life, with the right equipment, but aren't even mentioned in the book. I think what I'll do is declare the Radio Scanner to be a general frequency transciever, assume we can do software defined radio, and then make any of these checks a Scan + Computer, and Analyze + Computer test to check how well the signal is received, and how well the desired datum is derived from it.)

So far as the frequency of runs, I plan to enforce learning time limits. I think he may be surprised when I tell him he as to do an extended test that lasts a couple weeks to raise his Intimidation from 1 to 2...
The reason you can't get the bandwidth of a signal in Shadowrun is because signals have a Rating attribute, not a Bandwidth attribute. Leave all of your RL experience at the door and enjoy the suspension-of-disbelief game.
Right, but Signal rating is almost a perfect model for signal power. Bandwidth is a frequency domain measurement; basically how much of the spectrum the signal is using. This could trivially distinguish a jammer from a normal connection, for instance...

And yeah, suspension of disbelief is necessary. But while I wouldn't have trouble suspending disbelief here (my understanding of wireless is fuzzy, so whatever arbitrary strictures can be applied without fuss) he would've. Just like if you're running a table for a bunch of gunnuts or ex-uniform guys, you probably have to houserule guns to be a bit more high fidelity.

It bugs me that less thought was put into making the various aspects of the game model real life a bit better. It wouldn't really have changed the balance any...
The rules are abstract for two reasons.

1) It's easier.

2) Attempting to extrapolate real principles of how wireless communication works now would have produced results that were laughably poor. This is true for damn near every attempt to speculate on the advancement of technology over a 60 year period.

To address this, Shadowrun isn't based on an extrapolation of our technology. It's based on an extrapolation of technology as understood by people who wrote "The Net", just like the combat system draws its reality from Call of Duty. It's meant to be dramatic and cinematic, rather than simulationist.

I think I have a fairly solid grasp on the realities of firearms, medical technology, data infrastructure, macroeconomics, geopolitics, and Newtonian mechanics. I can enjoy Shadowrun because I don't expect it to conform to any of those realities.

To steer things back on topic, look at all the stuff you're planning to run, compare the payments relative to the tasks. The payments that seem too low, bring up. The ones that seem too high call for harder jobs. Oh, and you're probably going to want to cut back on the numbers of opposition, because weight of numbers (even among the most incompetent of combatants) count for a lot if you're not a mage.
To answer that question you have to decide where you want his character to be in X number of runs. If you are going to continue to run mission modules I think 5-10 karma per mission (10, which is fairly high but will help compensate for him running alone in those modules) and roughly 5-25k per run depending on what sort of job it is and how gritty you want it to be. He will probably buy a few items for a mission to help compensate for lack of expertise or pay someone and that will chip away at his cred account. If he starts to make big changes with too much money just start pulling back on the nuyen and increase costs a little bit. Additionally really make it clear that he needs to work the hell out of the contacts and maintain them so that he can get things that he needs to complete these runs. At least that is my two cyber cents.
Thanks! Those numbers are pretty close to Neraph's too. It's a major pay increase, but that's fine. Just means he'll be able to afford nice stuff sooner. And not almost die to a handful of triad thugs...

Edit: Are there any other things to be adjusted in the missions to bring them closer to 'normal' shadowruns, or make them more suitable for soloing? So far, I've seen that I need to dial back the numbers of opposition, emphasize social work, and increase pay+karma.
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