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Otaku On Acid
I'm planning on running my first shadowrun game so I decided to pick up a copy of MJLBB. Reading through I found alot of the information was useful until I came to the sample runs and I just got sticker shocked. What I'm wondering is how accurate are the prices listen in that compared to what people give out?
I'm trying to decide if they're appriopate for the game I plan on running or wheter I need to shore up the nuyen a little. I'm planning on running a dark and gritty atmosphere, but I still want to give the players enough nuyen and cash to allow for some, gradual, improvent. However going by the prices in MJLBB it would take a street samuri 12 runs to afford a Level 1 adrenal pump, and that's not counting any money he needs to pay out in contacts maintenance, life styles, run expenses, and etc... I understand trying to limit characters growth but the rewards offered just seem so pathetic I can't imagine why anyone with 1 milliion nuyen worth of cyberware in them would even bother.
JaronK
Well, really good runners can get really good pay, but I find it more interesting to set the pay low, and make little side quests, as it were, in the mission to get more money. For example, the mission is to break in to the facility and plant a virus... but there's a storage room full of BTL chips in there as well, and some paydata on the mainframe. If they just do the run straight, they get a little cash, but if they get creative or curious, there's more danger and more cash.

JaronK
Sphynx
I set the pay very high personally. I want players to enjoy every aspect of the game, and this allows not only the ability to use powerful elementals, ritually sustained spells, and expendable foci, but it also is the ONLY way samurai characters can feel equal to magic types in advancement (look at how much it cost in both time and nuyen to install something like a Beta/Delta/Cultured).

Realism gives way to Fun often in my games. Besides, the way I see it, a good "run" should be able to put your team in Luxury Lifestyle for a couple of weeks. Of course, you'd be in a bigger shock if you saw the Nuyen I give... Since they only get a good payment once every few months (up to a year even). Like when they ran Bug City, or the Amazon area, their "loot" wasn't sellable for months until they got back into the city. Fairness said that the loot should be worth a buttock-load, so the sammies could "catch up" on their off-time.

Sphynx
Dashifen
I generally hand out more than what they provided as a base pay. For example, I just ended up paying runners around 10k nuyen for a run. 'Course, that being said it totally depends on what they need to do, what they face, and how good their negotiation's roll is smile.gif
nezumi
I generally used to aim at around $10k-$20k per run, but I was pretty gentle on contact maintenance, cyber repair etc. Plus, I had no problem with letting players loot corpses or what not, and they could sometimes get some nice gear that way. Reading through the books though, the pay is usually much higher. The beginning run for players in First Run is $20k, if memory serves. That's for an easy job, enter the back door, grab a case and return with it, no security concerns, no preparation required. Earlier books tend to pay even more. $50k per character is common, plus medical expenses, free contacts, and looted gear including a Fairlight Excalibur (retail of a cool $1M).

The characters will want to improve themselves. Handicapping them with money is fine and good, as long as you give them another avenue to pursue to get their gear. In the case of the sam's adrenal gland, give him a run with a biotech firm. They're willing to give him the gland at wholesale price, and install it for free, cutting the price to lower than half, 3 - 5 runs instead of 12 (better than that, if you remember the SI). On the way, the mage gets into a fight with an ambitious gator shaman and 'inherits' a level 2 Power focus. They still get paid barely enough to keep eating, but they still get a chance to really grow.
Cray74
Lately I've been paying 1-5K per run, sometimes less for "small favors" for Mr. Johnson, who sort of had them on retainer for very odd (but safe) jobs. For real runs they nose up to the 5-20K region.

And I have no urge to pay much more until they turn into super runners who assassinate dragons and have beers with Damien Knight. That's because they *always* manage to earn some major nuyen every so many runs.

They'll get into a fight with some elite corporate troops and walk away with 300K nuyen from re-sold cyberware. They'll spot the Fairlight Excaliber the corporate decker had and sell it. A hostile mage will have a high value power focus on her. There'll be some paydata on the extracted corp scientist's PocketSecretary worth a fortune. Etc.

It's like the runs are just medium-risk business ventures to them. If nothing turns up, they got enough money from Mr. Johnson to cover ammo and booze. If it goes wrong, well, there's always next time. But after a while, they find that phat l00t and can afford that adrenal pump or rigged car or permanent lifestyle or whatever.

But YMMV.
mfb
i wanna play in sphynx's game, where the cyber types have to scramble to keep up with the magical types.

my runner generally charges 10k for a one-shot run--go to location X and kill/plant/grab Y. he's charged that price from his first time in the game up until now, ~200 karma later.
Krieger
I don't own a copy of MJLBB, but I do know that in the back of SR Comp they list prices for the different types of runs (smash and grab, assassination, etc.). At first I thought these were really low for what they were, but one of our more experienced players/GM's informed us that those were costs per skill. For example, if the average primary skill level for the team is 5, then you take the price for assassination (we'll say :nuyen:10,000), multiply, and there you have it (per runner).
mfb
the SL Comp also mentions that a good rule of thumb is that, for a one-run-per-month campaign, a runner should get paid enough to cover his living expenses plus gear expenditure. this isn't a bad idea; it makes sure that the runners can keep their heads above water as long as they don't hose up too badly; and it means that they have to work extra-hard to advance. it's also a good way to make sure your group's munchkins aren't maintaining low or street lifestyles, and spending the extra money on cyberware/foci/whatever.
GrinderTheTroll
I try and temper the Nuyen reward with some of these things in mind:

1) MRJ needs the runners, else he could hire some regular employees to do it (for company wage).
2) What are the material costs for the run? Why should a runner spend 20k on supplies to make 10k? Would a day job pay more?
3) Mission importance and relavence. What might be a simple task for runners, might be so important to MRJ that they might over-pay just to get the job done right.

...To name a few.
mmu1
Most SR publications try to sell the idea that runners are in the business for more than just the money - to "rage against the machine", "live free or die", and other varieties of what's also known as teenage angst. wink.gif

I never bought it - at least not when it comes to any runs offered by Mr.Johnson, the corporate whore. I expect to be very well paid for those.

I might spend some of that on random acts of kindness if I'm so inclined, but that's just another reason not to work for peanuts.
Kagetenshi
Like gangers that you pick up off the street? smile.gif

Note that that is an entirely literal usage of the phrase "pick up".

~J
Edward
As a player I want my average monthly pay to be slightly hire than my living expenses. If I have a medium lifestyle. A low lifestyle safe house and regular medical expenses your looking at well over 6k per month. Riggers, high cyber characters (needing maintenance) heretics that maintain elementals and characters with high lifestyles need more. (I believe my rigger needed to be getting 10k before he was wiling to power up his drones. (actually not powering them up didn’t save me anything)I wouldn’t lunch the spotted dragon for les than the 5K it cost to fire its weapons systems). Paying 1-5k per run is ok if you’re doing several runs a month. But in general the pay (as apposed to the extras) should keep your lifestyle and equipment running.

I don’t mind loosing stuff to plot or mishap but not getting enough work to pay the bills sucks (and if the hole teem is in that boat your just asking for a self funded run of the type that GMs hate. I like drone raids but robing a legit cyber clinic that focuses on brain wear is also good. (5 encephalon’s, 24 data jacks, 5 alpha data jacks 15 sets of cyber eyes with assorted preinstalled modifications a orienteering system and special recogniser. All in original packaging. A bundle of anaesthetic that can be converted into tranq rounds and all the surgical equipment we could carry.

Edward
FrostyNSO
Dude, pay your runners at least more than they could make managing a Nacho Mama.

I've been paying roughly 20k per run, but we're in a sort of drought so we've only made about 10k a piece. Every once in a while it's nice to tease the runners with a big score. These are rare and pretty tough. On our last "big score" we ended up taking the fall for a corporate type and needless to say didn't get paid. This did a great job to make the runners a little more appreciative of their 10 to 20k "honest" runs, but the cash hasn't been much of a drawback because we're mostly "people people".
lacemaker
I personally hate the side-quest model and accordingly pay enough to discourage it. Nothing is more damaging to the flow and tone of a game than a team of runners who feel the need to stop and steal the heavy pistol from every sec-guard they take down - but if you pay them just enough to cover lifestyle that's exactly what they'll do.

As well as hating the rigmarole of searching the bodies and feeling that it detracts from any sense of professionalism or significance, I don't do it just because it doesn't make much sense. If runners are earning the vast bulk of their payoff by stealing things and selling them then why the hell are they bothering with the whole "get mission from Mr Johnson, make a plan, get the item he wants, blah, blah, blah" portion of their profession - if they're really just looters who get paid a bonus for the occasional specific piece of loot then why don't they just get serious about looting - back a truck up to the corp facility and steal the air conditioners and desktop computers?

Finally, low pay (and by that I mean lifestyle+basic maintenance provided things go right kind of level that seem to be suggested by sourcebooks but never applied in actual modules) not only removes certain kinds of advancement, it removes great swathes of options from the run itself - what kind of professionals won't summon an elemental because it would eat up most of their pay, or won't buy a drone or piece of software for the raid because they can't justify it economically? Reasonably professional teams should be happy to make sensible expenditures to help them on the run, they shouldn't be worrying about how every 100 nuyen bribe eats into their bottom line.

Kitty cat runs for starting characters which pay accordingly are fun for a very brief while. Likewise the occasional underpaid or unpaid run is a great change of pace, and brings ideas like limited resources and the possiblity of loot into the frame as a useful change of focus. But as a general rule incredibly talented professionals taking on life-threatening work should not by buying their equipment from cost-co and they should not be stopping to loot the boides on the way through so they can make enough to improve.
mmu1
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Sep 15 2004, 06:14 PM)
Like gangers that you pick up off the street? smile.gif

Note that that is an entirely literal usage of the phrase "pick up".

~J

I figured if I went to the trouble to save him, I might as well make sure he lived...

I thought he'd get emergency treatment and get released with some strong painkillers and a neck brace, not require emergency skull surgery and 15,000 nuyen.gif worth of inpatient care. nyahnyah.gif
Corporate Raider
I tend to pay at rates higher than the books suggest as well. Paying a street sam with 1 million in body mods to perform felonies on behalf of a stranger, no questions asked, should expect to be paid more than 2-3K.

From a player's standpoint, most of my characters will have the attitude that a Johnson will get what he pays for. If he pays top rate, he'll get a professional run with no side trips. If he pays peanuts, he should expect that the team will take more than the prototype he's after and sell the rest to the highest bidder. And he shouldn't be surprised when sees on the trid that the corp security chief bled out 'cause the runners cut off his cyberarm to organleg after they took him down.
Siege
That's one of the problems with unrestricted character creation - 1 million nuyen samurai and similar characters tend to be amazingly high-powered which skews the balance of the overall group.

-Siege
toturi
QUOTE (Siege)
That's one of the problems with unrestricted character creation - 1 million nuyen samurai and similar characters tend to be amazingly high-powered which skews the balance of the overall group.

-Siege

Huh? Unless your players are all using different Chargen systems, the value of each PC should be the same. The non-cybered mundane might not have a million nuyen cyber, but he has many leet skillz worth a million nuyen. The mage on the other hand is worth a million nuyen just by being Awakened. So where is the skewing?
Siege
Because a one million nuyen samurai requires more money to maintain his systems, which impacts directly on how much money the character needs and subsequently the amount of money charged or requested for a given job.

Which can prove a difficult for the GM and how much money he wants floating in the game.

-Siege
Jason Farlander
I havent gotten my hands on a copy of that book yet... does it provide advice on how often runners should be recieving job offers? I mean, if youre constantly running - getting a simple 2000 nuyen job every five days or so - thats enough to live a high lifestyle - or a low lifestyle while accumulating some serious cash.

While one version of success would be to get to the point where youre being offered harder, higher-paying jobs, another version might be to complete your jobs efficiently enough that theres always something for you to make money doing. I mean, if you are sufficiently competent that those little jobs really arent life threatening anymore, 2K nuyen for a night's work really isnt shabby.
mfb
that's addressed in the SR Comp, actually, on page 99. it says most runners average about a run per month.
Jason Farlander
Heh. If theres something I've completely overlooked or forgotten, theres a 95% probability that its in that book.

But anyway, I think my point still stands. If you can complete jobs efficiently and are willing to work cheaply, you will end up getting more jobs than the average runner, and you can make a decent living off of doing so.
mfb
yeah, but that'd be a pretty unrewarding life. sure, you'd have a high lifestyle, but when would you have time to enjoy it?
Kanada Ten
Fah, my players do 4 "runs" a week for a month, then take a month off to train and vacation, repeat. And by "runs" I mean do things to make money.
FrostyNSO
I'm tellin' ya, get a day job managing a Nacho Mama to cover your lifestyle, and do 1 run a month for "spending money".
Siege
Lessee...stress of managing Nacho Momma, screaming kids and obnoxious teens...getting shot at and blowing stuff up.

Yeah, I can see this as a tough choice.

Where did I leave my Ingram again?

-Siege
mfb
at least on runs, you're armed appropriately for the threats you're facing.
Siege
Although to be fair, you never know when a vat of month-old, triple-processed nacho-cheese synth-sauce will come in handy on a run...

-Siege
toturi
QUOTE (Siege)
Lessee...stress of managing Nacho Momma, screaming kids and obnoxious teens...getting shot at and blowing stuff up.

Yeah, I can see this as a tough choice.

Where did I leave my Ingram again?

-Siege

tsk tsk, did you forget your Silence spell?
Edward
In future am going to ask any GM how much we will be being payed and how often we will be working so I can create an appropriate character. if he is only paying a 2-5k a month I will play a character that will take that. Ie one without high monthly costs or massive investments in being a runner.

One of the 20 questions is where did you get your toys. If you payed cash it includes where did you get the cash. If you invested a cool mill in running paraphernalia you would expect to recoup your investment in a modest amount of time. 5 years on the outside at one run a month that is 60 runs and over 16k per run. And 5 years is a long time in the shadows. There are some answers witch allow for a period of pissant runs (I got it working for X and quit, they are now an enemy) but on the howl you need a reason not to find a trusted doctor to pull it out, take -1/4 of its value and start a new life.

Trusted doc includes doc in presents of trusted friend with gun to head (if he doesn’t wake up you go to sleep)

Edward
Sphynx
My boys average 100k a month in their work. Whether through looting or straight MrJ payments (The rare times they do MrJ runs, they bring in about 50k per-person per-run).

Way I see it, a corp that needs a run, is only going to pay someone to do it if it's incredibly profitable to do so. New Technology brings in billions of nuyens, spending 1 mil to insure they bring that tech to the market first is well worth it.

Anything that the corp would only pay 100k (total) for, well, it's not worth it to the Corp to get involved in criminal activities for such a small endeavor.

I realize I see things very differently than others, and I've been regularly called a min-max or twink GM by those that don't play in my games, but like I said in my first post, Fun over Realism everytime.

When my teams mages are reaching level 3 initiates, I expect the average Sammie to have a good 3 million in cyber/bio upgrades, and nothing below Alpha cyber. The average Cyber-player kinda expects the same thing I think, and not a 1 of my mage types have disagreed (besides, they can afford to ritual cast sustained spells and summon major elementals, bond nice foci, etc with their share, though most cash out for karma....)

Sphynx
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Jason Farlander)
Heh. If theres something I've completely overlooked or forgotten, theres a 95% probability that its in that book.

For such a useful book, it has an amazingly large amount of mostly-useless stuff.

Incidentally, the canon costs are absurd regardless of million-nuyen status. Take a runner who has performed ten jobs. Now, according to SRComp that's ten months of running. We'll say the runner has been busy and it's been five. According to that pay scale, that's probably twenty to twenty-five thousand nuyen.

If the runner spends none of that, they still go into debt from a Deadly wound unless they roll two 10s on an unaided Body test.

It's a deadly world out there, and anyone with the skills to be worth it is going to make damn sure they can go to the hospital without having to sell off some body parts after five months solid of running and no expenditures whatsoever.

~J
Krieger
Kagen, I thought the same thing initially myself. But, as I said in an earlier post:
QUOTE
At first I thought these were really low for what they were, but one of our more experienced players/GM's informed us that those were costs per skill. For example, if the average primary skill level for the team is 5, then you take the price for assassination (we'll say nuyen.gif 10,000), multiply, and there you have it (nuyen.gif 50,000 per runner).

I have no idea where he got that scale from - maybe it's even in the book somewhere - but it seems to make some degree of sense to me; they pay you for how good you are. If the prices listed in SR Comp are supposed to be used as listed, then I agree that they're off.
Edward
The biggest problem with realism is I can come up with relatively soft targets that will make 50-200k.

The reason I believe corps hire shadow runners is to control them.

If the corps suddenly stoped hiring shadow runners the shadows would not die. They would reduce but they would not die.

Deckers would be the new Johnsons. Skimming the matrix for information on where loot can be found and what security there is and hiring runners to help steal it. Those that remained would be the ones with the initiative and innovation to make there own work and those that are hired by them. Probably the cream of the crop.

Example targets.
Warehouses
Medical clinics
Research laboratories
Computer stores.
With a competent SR team, 20 thugs that can look mean and obey orders and a good plan I can take a shopping mall for all its worth.

True it basically boils down to petty theft and wouldn’t make for much of a campaign but if you mix in some significant objective (character goal beyond wealth. Eg every second run is a money maker so you can afford extreme kit for the run to destroy aztechnolagy)

Edward
Kremlin KOA
The sad thing is Edward is being nice... as per usual, Simsense trucks have roughly street value of nuyen.gif 2-3Million in chips in the back of the truck, just hijack and distribute...

then the decker can always do paydata runs for extra cash... information is valuable to a lot of people, the nature of the paydata just changed deck int a corp and get all the juicy weak points then sell to gangs for share of loot...

Remember Bull's little Theft of the dunky dolls thread on his web site. givern that such toys could go for up to a grand and a half per, think what the rigger with the semi can bring in with just a little help from his friends (500 interactive dunkys in a truck, 4 man team, 20 thugs). thugs load van, team gets in and out lets say interactive dunky went for nuyen.gif 500 per on the resell that's nuyen.gif2,500 per thug and nuyen.gif 50,000 per runner for a relatively easy hit of a toy factory.

We don't need Johnsons anymore! smokin.gif

edit for typos...
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Krieger)
I have no idea where he got that scale from - maybe it's even in the book somewhere - but it seems to make some degree of sense to me; they pay you for how good you are. If the prices listed in SR Comp are supposed to be used as listed, then I agree that they're off.

Not only are they supposed to be used as listed, if I read this correctly, they're supposed to be the payment for an entire team! It says if a team has more runners than usual, increase the payment somewhat.

So say we have a four-man team, running twice a month. At that price, doing extractions alone and having no expenses whatsoever, it'll take five and a half months to earn just enough for the streetsam to alphaware a set of Wired Reflexes 1. A Rigger losing a Strato-9 with no encryption puts him down a good four months of pay. Two Force 5 elementals (or any other combination totaling 6) cost a month's pay.

A fake SIN capable of getting past most threats costs three months of solid running.

~J
Siege
Tot - what Silence spell?

I just happen to like the gun because of the magazine size, FA capability and an integral smartlink.

Anything else is just a plus.

-Siege
Kagetenshi
Silence on the screaming kids and annoying teenagers.

~J
Modesitt
In my current campaign and others, the players usually make 20K a run plus various bonuses. For example, last week we staged a rescue of a pair of little kids from gangers holding them hostage. That's 20K. However, each of the 4 gangers had a certified credstick in their pocket with 5K on it(They were getting paid for the job too yo know). So we split that 20K 5 ways for a 4K bonus. We also took the gangers weapons and ammo.

It's not that we NEED the extra money from selling the loot - We aren't planning on doing so - But you never know when you might need some extra guns. Maybe we'll bribe a gang to let us through their territory with the loot. Maybe we'll use it as barter when buying something and just barely lack the cash. "I'm a little short what you want - Will this cover the difference?".

We've usually gotten 2-3 karma a session, delivered in one lump sum at the end of a run.

Time between runs - Current run is staged one week after the previous one. Just barely not enough time to get some of the things we ordered from our fixers in...

We still have to penny pinch in a few ways(Ever look at how cheap and easy making ritual materials is from refined materials? Pay 60 nuyen...get back 500 nuyen! WOO!) and I'm becoming a master of mooching money off of others. "Pay me 3K and I'll have an ejection seat installed in our vehicle just for you." But that's because I'm playing possibly the most nuyen-needy concept ever(Rigger Conjurer)
Bigity
Can you install new cyber/bio into slots left by taking old junk out? I thought that was some kind of special procedure?
Kagetenshi
Riggerdecker needs more cash. Riggerdeckerconjurer would need even more.

~J

Edit: Man and Machine made it special, but under base SR3 it's automatic. Many GMs keep it that way, and if not you just pay your surgeon more. Raising the time it takes to earn enough, by the way.
Sphynx
QUOTE (Bigity)
Can you install new cyber/bio into slots left by taking old junk out? I thought that was some kind of special procedure?

It is a special procedure, but between you and me, it's too much realism and really jacks the Samurai. Chances of success on those tables is so low that no person in his right mind would ever 'upgrade'. As a general rule for my players, cyberware can be replaced, you just NEVER gain back the essence, so keep those holes filled. nyahnyah.gif

Sphynx
Bigity
Yea, I've always allowed for the empty "space" to be used first when adding implants. Too many rules, too much paperwork, and too much suck for the guy who doesn't max out his cyber at chargen.
lokugh
QUOTE (mfb)
yeah, but that'd be a pretty unrewarding life. sure, you'd have a high lifestyle, but when would you have time to enjoy it?

Ask the corp exec who works 60 hours a week to maintain his high lifestyle the same question.

Figure legwork and the actual run and wrapping up a run takes a total of about 40 hours. If you do three runs a month at half normal prices, you not only make more money than a one a month runner, but you still are working only 2/3 as much as a some wageslave and having more fun. And if you need to take tow months off a year to upgrade or just take a vacation, you have the nuyen.
Black Isis
The way I look at runs is to pay them enough so that they won't be encouraged to do something stupid, but not enough so that they will be able to have a ton of money left at the end of the month. The way I see it, there's no problem with the fact that it will take forever for a street sam to save up the cash for his new wired reflexes or some other wiz piece of 'ware; if he wants something really expensive, that's something to build an entire run around.

I encourage my runners not to "loot the bodies," a) because it's not professional in the least and b) because it's an easy way to get caught. Especially for cyberware, you can't just rip a delicate piece of cybernetics from someone's skull if you want to reuse it, you'll need to get someone to remove it with some amount of skill so as not to damage it. Taking guns from security guards is a good way to get a trail leading back to you (not to mention, guns are not really that expensive, relatively speaking). Now, what I might do is something like in the episode "Ariel" of Firefly, where payment for the job was informtion about where there's some valuable stuff the runners will be able to fence, and the Johnson's mission is completely uninvolved in that side of things (he tells them where they can find a shipment of soon-to-be-released simchips, valuable drugs, or prototype bioware, but wants them to bring him some files from the site's off-Matrix mainframe in return). Not only does that give the runners a chance to get some things they have been looking for, but it also opens up more roleplaying possibilities when they need to fence the stuff they managed to get out. If the Johnson wants them to specifically avoid taking advantage of targets of opportunity (in other words, "break in to this facility, extract this scientist, but don't steal the prototypes in the lab"), he'll certainly be willing to pay the runners extra to make up for that.

In general, the stuff the runners take as "incidentals" is going to be small, easily transportable stuff. You don't want to drag a prototype jet engine out of a factory when what you're getting paid for is to yank some files off their mainframe. You can always offer tradeoffs -- they can try dragging two cases of BTLs out the door, but it will slow them down, make them have to work harder to get the actual job done.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Black Isis)
I encourage my runners not to "loot the bodies," a) because it's not professional in the least and b) because it's an easy way to get caught.

A) Bull.

B) It's a great way to not get caught. Or would you rather not know when someone's biomonitor is screaming for help to six different security organizations?

~J
Sargasso
Shadowrun guns have serial numbers and all kinds of Id info, unless they've been stripped of those for the black market. Looting the dead is rarely in good taste, and seldom lucarative. It makes you look like a bloodthristy amatuer. Do your job, and do it right. The reputation you'll cultivate will garner more expensive runs, and will give you a repuation as a clear headed runner.
mfb
yes, ignore the Fairlight over there, which will pay your lifestyle for the next six months. you're not in this for the money, after all.
Sargasso
Lifting the occasional peice of valueable material or goods is one thing. Taking all the assult rifles from the corporate gaurds is another. I've seen both styles.
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