Shadowrun

Shadowrun Play => Rules and such => Topic started by: ammulder on <05-15-21/0938:12>

Title: [6e] Gear Availability & Contacts
Post by: ammulder on <05-15-21/0938:12>
So there's a lot of interesting gear with availability ratings of 4+.  Some of it isn't that expensive.  Like, a hacking program: 250 and 4(I), or a Mossberg CMDT shotgun: 700 and 4(L).  These are things I want my PCs to be able to buy with the money they earn for jobs.

The availability rules say for an availability of 4, they either need a contact with Connection 5, or a Matrix Search with a threshold of 4.

Most of my PCs don't have a Charisma of 5, meaning they don't have contacts with Connection of 5, so they won't be going to a contact.  I mean, loads of PCs seem to have Charisma 2, meaning their contacts could only ever find gear with an Availability of 1 (!!).  It's this weird situation where only the wilderness Shaman has the contacts to procure guns, breaking & entering tools, and hacking programs for the team?

So instead the weapon specialist and street sam will be doing a Matrix Search for their gear.  They probably have enough Intuition plus limited Electronics skill to have a chance, given a Browse program or whatever.  4 hits won't be a given before the "keep trying" pool runs out (if buying hits per roll, for instance, the minimum Electronics+Intuition pool is 7 to find Rating 4 gear), but this is as compared to a contact where it's flat out impossible.

This doesn't seem right.  I feel like a PC with a cheap commlink and low Electronics skill should be forced to go to a contact instead of the better strategy being to Google for illegal gear.  And I feel like it should take longer and cost more to go through a low-Connection contact, rather than just not working.  And I guess it doesn't make sense to me that a Weapons Specialist with an Arms Dealer contact can't find arms, but a Talismonger contact totally can because the Shaman has a Charisma stat that matters to their build?

So I'm happy to house rule this, but I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing in the intent of the rules?  How are Charisma 2 low-Electronics-skill characters supposed to gear up?  (Knowing the Archetypes aren't worth that much, I'll nevertheless note that almost all of them have NO electronics skill and Connection 1-2 contacts, so they won't be procuring any gear, ever.  The Decker and Technomancer could Matrix Search, the Rigger might pull it off by defaulting Matrix Search to Intuition-1, and the Street Shaman has a C5 Talismonger, but that's it.)

(There's also the matter that a Shopsoft adds to your Influence test to buy gear... except nowhere does the process of procuring gear mention an Influence test.  I would be happy to include one in my house rule for going through the contacts you actually are permitted to have, or to make the Shopsoft add +2 dice to your Matrix Search if going that way.)
Title: Re: [6e] Gear Availability & Contacts
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on <05-15-21/1009:18>
Think about what availability is representing.  It's a trivial thing to find a Guns World store that has a Mossberg CMDT in stock.  Since it's legal with a license, ostensibly anyone with a license can just fork over the 700 nuyen and walk out with one, right? So why's it got an Availability of 4?

Shadowrunners don't want to leave a paper trail.  An availability of 4 is representing finding someone who a) has the item but more importantly b) has the ability and willingness to sell you said item without going through any registration processes that may be legally required.  And it's not quite as easy as googling "who will sell me a Mossberg CMDT off the books", because if someone advertises THAT bluntly, they'll get stung by Lone Star in no time.

So, as the rules suggest, Shadowrunners practice their profession by knowing valuable people.  If you have low charisma, you're not going to know any particularly capable equipment purveyors right out of chargen so maybe you're going to want to think about Electronics skill.  I mean, it IS the Sixth World afterall, and not knowing the ins and outs of the Matrix is kind of like trying to get by today without any comprehension of how to use the internet. Probably even more-so.

What's a low Charisma, low Electronics skill character to do?  Besides spending some post-chargen karma on rectifying that low Electronics skill?  Remember that the GM can award contacts to a PC, and post-chargen that's not limited to Charisma.  You can absolutely throw them a bone by having the team or a character cross paths with a useful contact who then gets to know, trust, and hopefully like the character(s).  You could also deem that an existing contact can go up in Connection as well as Loyalty due to the events of the campaign.  Maybe that Connection 2 Smuggler can go up to say Connection 4, if you do a run for that contact that takes out her competition, or nets her access to more black markets, or etc.

Last but not least, Mr Johnson is a spigot of resources.  Does the samurai want a Mossberg CMDT and is having trouble getting one?  Mr Johnson won't have trouble getting one (or something similar, at least).  Ask for one as part of the team's payment for doing the job.
Title: Re: [6e] Gear Availability & Contacts
Post by: ammulder on <05-15-21/1103:29>
Thanks, I like your suggestion of getting Mr Johnson to help.

So, as the rules suggest, Shadowrunners practice their profession by knowing valuable people.  If you have low charisma, you're not going to know any particularly capable equipment purveyors right out of chargen so maybe you're going to want to think about Electronics skill.  I mean, it IS the Sixth World afterall, and not knowing the ins and outs of the Matrix is kind of like trying to get by today without any comprehension of how to use the internet. Probably even more-so.

Meh, knowing how to search the Matrix barely rises from "common background knowledge" to the level of a Knowledge skill slot to me.  Using a number of your limited number of active skill points on Electronics, when there's no real utility to the character other than avoiding asking another PC to get your gear for you... I have a hard time with that.  I'm A-OK with saying you can't find high availability/illegal gear online without good Electronics skill, I just think there should be an alternative for PCs where Electronics is not otherwise useful to them.

I feel like that's what Contacts should be for -- to give you help in areas outside your personal field.  It's just unfortunate that the rules suggest that going to contacts really shouldn't work for most starting/early characters.  (I feel that it should take meaningful time an effort to boost a contact from Connection 2 to Connection 5, so while that's a strategy, it's a longer-term one.)

I'd be more inclined to say you can go to any contact with a pertinent specialty (an Arms Dealer or Smuggler for the Mossberg, a Tech Wiz or whoever deckers buy stuff from for the Hacking program), and apply something along the lines of the Missions markup -- 5-10% for each point the contact is short (though oddly, Missions says per point of Loyalty they're short, vs. the core book saying Connection is the limiting factor).  Maybe +5% and an extra two days for each point of Connection short just to procure the item, and +5% for each point of Loyalty short to not report the sale (or a favor in place of the Loyalty markup).  There was that suggestion of an Influence test involved, so maybe you can try to Negotiate that down.  Everyone grinds their teeth when they have to pay 20% more than the Face for the same item...  but that's the deal if you're not buying via Matrix Search.
Title: Re: [6e] Gear Availability & Contacts
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on <05-15-21/1208:25>
Well, there's knowing how to use the Matrix, and then there's knowing how to use the Matrix.

You or I and everyone in 2021 knows how to use internet searches, basics of email and email etiquette, how to do online shopping, etc.  But how many know how to use the Dark Web to navigate the black markets of the information superhighway?  How many know how to even get ON the dark web?  Or have even heard of it?

That's a pretty direct analogue to doing a matrix search to look for illegal gear, and unregistered legal gear.

Also note that:

Quote
Generally speaking, contacts can find
goods whose Availability is less than (not equal
to) their Connection rating.

Bolded for emphasis.  There's wiggle room to allow say a Connection 2 contact come up with an Avaiability 4 item, if you deem it appropriate.  Maybe a Connection 2 gunsmith COULD, generally speaking, be better at acquiring guns specifically than a connection 2 smuggler or connection 2 fixer, since they are generalists.  It's not a hard Availability <= Connection rule... there's some deliberate fuzziness baked in for GM flexibility.