I'm thinking of adding an extended port of the rocker rules from ShadowBeat to Jobs-Jobs-Jobs. What do you think?


Work of art


While making money through art can be presented as an ordinary Day Job with an optional addition of Fame quality, the area has a few particular pitfalls and peculiarities to warrant a separate set of rules. The rules cover all creative professions, both traditional, such as musicians, artists, sculptors or actors, and modern, such as Matrix host sculptors, simsense actors, industrial artists, and genetweakers.


What it takes

Producing a work of art takes four things: the artist, the skill, the tool, and the time.

The artist bit should be obvious enough.

The skill used to produce art is usually Artisan with the relevant specialization (Intuition-based), but there can be exceptions to this rule. For instance, playing certain modern electronic instruments is more coding than making music; the same applies to producing sculptures using the modern CNC machines. In this case, Software with the relevant specialization (Logic-based) is to be used. However, since there are always more script-kiddies than artistic talent, those skills are used at -3 dicepool.

The tools used are usually just that - tools of the trade: musical instruments, amplifiers and recording equipment for musicians, canvas, paints and absinthe for artists, makeup and cocaine for actors, coding IDE and libraries for coders, etcetera. Producing art requires a tool kit worth the normal 500, but of course more exquisite and expensive alternatives are always available. High-quality instruments might provide a bonus to the performing tests, up to GM fiat. Contrary to the popular opinion, singing requires tools just as well, if not for producing sound then for recording and editing it.

The base time to produce an art piece (a song, a metahuman-sized sculture, a small host's sculpting) is 30 days. This time can be reduced by spending hits scored on the performance test (see below).

Creating an art piece is thus a Simple Test against the skill, as outlined above. The number of hits on this test is called the Impact of the piece.

The Impact can be modified by several circumstances.

The most common of these is, of course, creating art as a part of a group, not alone. In this case, all the participants roll their performance tests. Then the highest and the lowest results are summed up and divided by two (round down). Each additional art group member after the two adds one to the final Impact of the piece.

For example, Olaf The Stout plays Viking Metal with his two companions, Eric The Swift and Baleog The Fierce. They each roll their performance tests: Olaf rolls 5 hits, Eric 3 and Baleog 4. To figure the final Impact of their epic ballad, the highest and the lowest results are summed up and divided by two (5+3=8; 8/2=4), and then the result is increased by one for the third band member (4+1=5).

Any amount of Impact rolled can be spent on reducing the time needed for producing the piece; 1 hit spent reduces the time needed by two days. Note that in case of multiple performers, the hits are spent before calculating the final Impact.

Of course, art group members aren't the only people involved in producing art in the 70ies - there are all kinds of helpers commonly known as extras. This umbrella term includes everyone who can lend the artists a hand, from secondary artists needed for a decent DP simsense porno, sound producers and backing vocalists that musicians need to mathematicians and quality testers for host sculptors. Each extra involved in production of a piece adds 1/2 to its final Impact (round up), but hiring extras gets progressively more expensive as the costs of accommodation and team coordination quickly pile up. Employing an extra costs his number in the team squared x100.

For example, if Olaf hires a small chorus of four to accompany his band's charming performance, the Impact of their piece is increased by 2 at the cost of 3000 nuyen (1x100+4x100+9x100+16x100), bringing it to 7.

There are, of course, other considerations. For instance, Sasquatch music players add 2 to their Impact for their natural gift; mages add 2 to the Impact of the art pieces where their talent might be relevant, be it accompanying a musical video with colorful illusions or twisting a piece of wood with magic instead of carving it; AIs add 2 to the Impact of the art pieces they were designed to produce; etcetera. All these modifiers are added to individual Impact scores in an art group before calculating the final total.

The Impact gained from extras or other sources can be spent on reducing the production time as normal.


Where it takes

Each artist starts their career as a Newbie (also known as Hobbyist or Background in the movie industry), with a harsh road to fame laying before them. The professionalism stages beyond that are Apprentice (also known as Opener in the musical industry, since Apprentice-level bands are often booked to warm the audience up before a better known band performs), Journeyman (also known as Seller in the musical industry), Master (alternatively known as Solid in music), Star and Novastar. Ranks can be numbered for convenience, from 1 for Newbie towards 6 for Novastar. Advancement through the ranks is by no means guaranteed, so an actor noticed for his brilliant performance as an extra can remain a one-role pony stuck playing in fishing pole advertisements. Nor is a lucky career builder ever safe, the art history is full of superstars falling into complete obscurity over a couple of failed pieces.

The art career is determined, naturally enough, by the art pieces produced. An art piece with Impact below 4 is Abysmal, 4 to 6 is Mediocre, 7 to 8 is Good, 8 or more is Stellar. An Abysmal piece moves the artist one rank down the ladder, a Stellar one - one rank up. In an art group, all the performers move up or down the ranks depending on the quality of their latest piece. The competition on the market is absolutely cutthroat, given the untold multitudes of wannabes toiling day and night to make their way up. So after advancing to Novastar, an artist gains to further benefits. However, there is always space to fall: if a Newbie publishes an Abysmal piece, the thresholds for producing a Stellar piece and for booking are increased by 1.

Career artists get a call to fame: Masters receive Local Fame, Stars National Fame, and Novastars Global Fame (as per RC, p. 97).


What it makes

There are two main ways an artist can make money for his art: distribution and live appearances.

Distribution includes paid downloads over the Matrix, royalty payments for broadcasting, chip and even disk sales for musicians; exhibition payments and paid blueprint downloads for sculptors; sales of simsense recordings done during performance, and other such income sources that do not require active participation. For stages up to Master, no distribution fees are to be expected - even if on some off chance someone wants to see the artist's work, it is usually just pirated. However, for Masters the payment is the piece's Impact x300, for Stars Impact x1,000, and for Novastars Impact x10,000. An Abysmal piece pays -75% of that, a Good piece +25%, and a Stellar +100%. This sum is usually paid in even parts over three months of the most active rotation. In art groups, distribution is calculated using the most well-known participant's rank.

For example, Olaf The Stout is a Star, while Eric The Swift and Baleog The Fierce are only Journeymen. Their latest recording has Impact 7, Good, which means they're receiving 8,750 for it (7x1,000x1.25). Had they not hired that chorus, however, their impact would've been 5, Mediocre, which would've only net them 5,000 - the chorus paid for itself, and then some!

Live appearances include live concerts, appearances on TV talk shows and documentaries, personal performances for politicians or corporate big-wigs, or making visual assets for ads and persona icons. For Stars and up it's usually something grandiose like a concert tour or teaching a course at a local Universities. For Newbies, it's usually being an extra in someone else's performance. Landing a live appearance booking requires an Etiquette(Music Industry) Extended Test, with the performer's rank (or highest rank, in case of a group) multiplied by 5 as threshold, and 1 week as period. This steep requirement means most professional artists employ an agent to organize their live appearances. Longer contracts are slightly easier to arrange, the threshold reduced by 1 for each appearance contracted after the first. Each live appearance generally takes about five hours (including two hours of preparation and three hours of performing), but series of appearances can require much longer as time is spent on travel, visa arrangements, fan meetings and other necessities.

The payment for live appearances is determined a bit differently than that for distribution. Each live appearance (a concert, a talk show, a documentary film) requires a separate performance roll. However, unlike with production, live appearances link these rolls not to Intuition or Logic, but Charisma. The final Impact is affected by the additional performers, extras, and other circumstances as normal, except the extras cost a multiple of 10. Newbies get Impact x10, Apprentices Impact x30, Journeymen Impact x100; further ranks receive the sums similar to Distribution incomes. Performance quality modifies the payment as described above. The payment received is usually divided equally between the art group members and their agent.

Live appearances are subject to additional modifiers which produced art is blissfully devoid of.

First, they require rehearsals. Rehearsals are needed to prepare for a public appearance, and include not just practicing with an instrument, but psychological build-up, learning the lines, etcetera. Rehearsals take an Extended Test to perform. Use the character's normal skill pool to roll the Extended Test, the threshold is 15, and the period 1 day. Under-rehearsed artists have their Impact decreased by 2.

Second, live appearances depend upon the state of the performer. If he's hungover, ill, beaten and bruised, depressed, or generally unwell, decrease his Impact by 2.

Third, the performers depend on the reaction of the audience to a surprising degree. Use the disposition modifiers from the Social Modifiers Table (SR4AE, p. 131) to change the artist's Impact - and remember that only Superstars and Stars on the concerts for fans ever get Friendly audiences, while Newbies and Apprentices usually face at least Suspicious ones!

Finally, many of the other circumstances of the particular appearance can affect the artist's performance, such as high-quality club sound system being smashed during a particularly violent previous Goblin Rock concert to be replaced with police loudspeakers, or the reception host insisting on adding half-naked troll background dancers to a symphonic piece to be performed.

Live appearances move the performers up and down the ranks as normal. Sliding down the ranks during a contracted series of appearances can lead to its termination with dire financial consequences.


Social Impact

Optionally, a game master might include the social impact of art into her campaign. In this case, an artist might subtract points from the Impact of his piece (before figuring out the final Impact, in case of an art group). As the artist uses his medium for social or political commentary, these Impact points are used as the static number of hits rolled on an Opposed Social Test against any consumers of the final product. An artist can't, of course, change the foundation of someone's beliefs or directly dictate the behavior of his audience, but he can still influence it to a large degree.