Shadowrun

Shadowrun Missions Living Campaign => Living Campaign GM chat => Topic started by: Crash_00 on (15:26:33/11-19-11)

Title: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Crash_00 on (15:26:33/11-19-11)
I don't consider myself a killer GM. I've had a lot of PC deaths in past campaigns, but they're usually related to sheer PC stupidity as opposed to sadistic urges on my part...no really...I swear. So I've been running Season Two's missions for a local group, and I don't think they are that hard really if approached with a tactical mind set. Even at higher TRs, a good strategy will almost always get you through them.

That said, I have a bad feeling based on a few of my groups members typical strategies (ie bull rush in and blast things) a few of them may not make it through the next few missions coming up. I'm really a let the dice fall where they may GM for the most part, so it doesn't really bother me when PCs die off, but I was wondering how often other Missions GMs wind up with a bit of PC blood on their hands. I've made sure to point out the benefits of peaceful solutions as well as the benefits of stealth and general common sense like taking cover and not attacking overwhelming odds, but for a couple players it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. For instance, last session the physically weakest character (a small mage) tried to take on nine guys by himself (one of them being a mage as well) and managed to escape with one box of health left (after two passes).

Is there any other advice I should be giving these players, or should I just let the dice fall where they do and let making new characters be the learning lesson if they don't make it? The next run I'm doing involves another shadowrun team with a make-up similar to my group, and I foresee them using very similar tactics as most of my group. If two of the players try the standard charge in and massacre tactics, I'm almost positive they'll get come out looking like grated cheese.

Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: KarmaInferno on (08:40:58/11-20-11)
I will not go out of the way to kill PCs, but I won't save them from their own stupidity either.

I don't like seeing PC deaths because of some random dice roll, though, and am likely to nudge the odds in those cases. If a PC dies, I want it to have meaning! Preferably because they did it to themselves.

:)


-k
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: wylie on (10:27:19/11-20-11)
I'm with Karmainferno
I try not to kill PCs, unleaset it is a dramaic moment, or just sheer foolishness

beating the PCs within an inch of their life is different story, letting them burn edge & karma to survive
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: tzizimine on (10:27:36/11-20-11)
I guess I not have the same problems with my players, mostly because I have impressed upon them that Shadowrun is a lethal game and there is no resurrection. If it helps, kill off a few third-tier NPCs (the 'Robert Palson' team that the fixer contact lost because they did exactly what the party was thinking of doing). Either that or set up a run where busting down the door and blasting everything leaves the party alive but the run failed.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Blond Goth Girl on (10:40:00/11-20-11)
I will not go out of the way to kill PCs, but I won't save them from their own stupidity either.

I don't like seeing PC deaths because of some random dice roll, though, and am likely to nudge the odds in those cases. If a PC dies, I want it to have meaning! Preferably because they did it to themselves.

100% on that - Why a single PC would want to pick a fight with a pack of werewolves and be surprised when they die, is beyond me.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: wylie on (10:52:20/11-20-11)
I will not go out of the way to kill PCs, but I won't save them from their own stupidity either.

I don't like seeing PC deaths because of some random dice roll, though, and am likely to nudge the odds in those cases. If a PC dies, I want it to have meaning! Preferably because they did it to themselves.

100% on that - Why a single PC would want to pick a fight with a pack of werewolves and be surprised when they die, is beyond me.
TOTALLY!!!
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Crash_00 on (14:06:49/11-20-11)
Thanks, that's pretty much exactly how I feel on PC deaths, but I wanted to get a general feel from other GMs.

For the most part, I think 2/3rds of the team will be fine, its only a couple I'm actually thinking won't make it. That said, if they rush an equally prepared and geared runner team, I don't think there will be anything random about their deaths (other than the of course blatant random nature of the dice, but on averages the result would happen).

I've stressed the lethality present in SR as well as all the different ways to get out of combat/live longer(cover, good cover, full cover/blind fire, full dodge, smoke grenades, etc.), but the first eight or so missions in Season Two are fairly cakewalkish, and I think they have ignored it because they are for the most part leagues ahead of the competition so far. The later half of Season Two really ups the ante.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: JustADude on (14:52:47/11-20-11)
I've stressed the lethality present in SR as well as all the different ways to get out of combat/live longer(cover, good cover, full cover/blind fire, full dodge, smoke grenades, etc.), but the first eight or so missions in Season Two are fairly cakewalkish, and I think they have ignored it because they are for the most part leagues ahead of the competition so far. The later half of Season Two really ups the ante.

Oh, trust me, I learned my lesson after that last little run-in. With Mr. Soft it was all stun damage and huge damage tracks. Getting within one box of "dead" in a single IP made the importance of not getting shot rather clear.

Now I just have to hope Angus the Minotaur, or whatever name he picked doesn't get trigger-happy again.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: raggedhalo on (05:06:35/11-21-11)
Players at my table always keep 1 Edge back in case they need to burn it to survive ;-)
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Kat9 on (13:55:05/11-21-11)
Well I can't say I have run Missions....missions, personally but I try not to go out of my way to kill characters. It sort of bothers me when players have to lose their creations. I know, as a player, I invest a lot of my passion for gaming into making a fun character. They might not be min/Maxed, they might not even be "the best at what they do," but they're individuals.

This isn't to say I go out of my way to keep them alive, its just that I feel bad when the hammer falls. I rather they make it through a mission battered, bruised thanking Dog they survived. Still, death happens and when I see its going to happen, I try to bend things a little to give them a worthy death. Their death might cause the enemy to pause a moment, their attacker might take a moment to gloat only to get gunned down by one of the team.

Granted even in this there is there are exceptions, if someone is doing something stupid, or irritating I don't feel bad. Had a runner try to attack a Johnson during a meet. I went through detail when they walked in describing the guards the J had. Two wired bullyboys, and a mage on hand. He got hostile with the J, one of the bullyboys told him to calm down. He drew a gun and pow, things went bad.

I didn't feel bad about that at all...
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: FastJack on (16:36:23/11-21-11)
Let's just say that last night's game involved the PhysAd Blademaster's brother being in charge of the SecTeam on overwatch for their extraction target. And her brother had gone the path of the Cyberzombie.

Nothing like having the terminator trying to rip you to shreds as the Invoked Memory Stimulator has him talking in a child-like voice with his sister about the the picnics they used to have as children.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Mason on (00:48:59/11-22-11)
Let's just say that last night's game involved the PhysAd Blademaster's brother being in charge of the SecTeam on overwatch for their extraction target. And her brother had gone the path of the Cyberzombie.

Nothing like having the terminator trying to rip you to shreds as the Invoked Memory Stimulator has him talking in a child-like voice with his sister about the the picnics they used to have as children.

That is AMAZING. Why can't my group have that kind of characterization? *scribble scribble scribble*
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Malex on (13:57:40/12-21-11)
I am trying to get over a recent PC death; mostly the 'WTF were you thinking?!'. He had ample warnings from the drone that killed him to not present himself as a threat yet threw a grenade anyway. His Throw check got him one hit and caught him in the blast. The drone, suffering little damage, opens up on him killing him instantly.

So no, I don't think I'm brutal at all; players just do stupid things that get them killed.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: squee_nabob on (12:57:14/12-23-11)
I try not to kill people in missions, especially when it is not their fault (if they sat quietly at a table of 8 people while someone else forced the group to go with their plan). The fact that people PAY to play at missions games makes me think I should take their happiness into consideration more than a regular game.

This doesn't mean you should never risk death, but you should risk death because you choose to. I've had a PC burn permanent edge to save the girl from SRM02-03.

Alternatively, I don't want people to die if they didn't vote for the TR. If 4 people say TR 6 because they have 140 karma, and 2 people are at 0 karma and want TR 1, I'm not going to kill the people who wanted to play at TR 1.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (23:49:48/12-24-11)
Being a GM is a particularly difficult task, because you really aren't there to kill characters.  Even people who come to the game and play bull-ahead shoot-everything-first characters are still players coming to the game to have fun.  Would you want to create a new character every three or four sessions?  I know I'd get frustrated.

Please, please understand that killing is Option Z.  Being wimpy and letting them get away with murder, well, that isn't even an option, but there are plenty of other possibilities out there.  If there's no other PC there to witness events, you can say, 'you throw the grenade, you get caught in the grenade blast, the drone opens up ... and everything is black.'  Killing runners is, actually, bad for business for the corps, because killing you isn't going to find out who hired you.

Capture them.

Most GMs don't do this, because it kind of complicates things; easier just to whack 'em and be done.  Capturing lets the player learn with his character, and find out that death is not the worst thing that can happen to his character.  Don't torture them, but ... pressure them.  Implant things, from carcerands to cortex bombs to tracking devices to muscle poisons with antidotes that if they don't get the temporary antidote once a week, they'll start feeling its effects.

Get them to send Corporation / Agency / Organization X information about their targets.  Then information about their team.  Then start having to follow little 'requests'.  Stuff like this.

Yes, sometimes they just beg to be killed, and sometimes it's really difficult to NOT kill them -- but unless you WANT to be the PKer GM, try to find other things to do than tell them, 'okay, draw up another character'.  Imagine them getting caught three times, and having to follow orders from three different groups ...

... 'cause I think being merciful three times is probably the limit.  :P
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Malex on (17:41:58/01-04-12)
Please, please understand that killing is Option Z.  Being wimpy and letting them get away with murder, well, that isn't even an option, but there are plenty of other possibilities out there.  If there's no other PC there to witness events, you can say, 'you throw the grenade, you get caught in the grenade blast, the drone opens up ... and everything is black.'  Killing runners is, actually, bad for business for the corps, because killing you isn't going to find out who hired you.


I may have made the situation seem very straightforward in my previous entry when infact it was a very complicated matter.

They'd already been captured by an individual who had kink bombs plugged into them. This individual who the team had thwarted on two previous occasions decided to make them useful to his operations by sending them on a suicide job. The job involves going to L.A., vault diving to the Dhakasoft building that's under the waves, finding a program that was being worked on in the labs, and returning to Seattle. The complications involved are 1) an artificial intelligence that became aware within the last few months and 2) a shedim infestation which has basically turned the whole building into a zombie infested hellhole. The AI, only ever having had contact with shedim possessed metahumans and an Aztechnology team that tried to plug a virus into the system, saw the PCs as another potential threat. It made the attempt to communicate with the team, but one of them got hot headed as in the above post and well the rest is history. The AI having seen that the only way to keep things from getting back up again (pesky shedim) is to 'reduce targets to tacomeat', which it did just that to the PC. The AI not really caring about taking prisoners has only been about it's own self-preservation (wait til the team finds out it's suffering from a form of PTSD) as the Shedim have been trying to destroy it and the drones it commands.

The team did manage to not get themselves killed, thus far, and tricked the AI that they are a repair team from Aztechnology/Dhakasoft.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Ryushiroi on (17:52:41/01-04-12)
I may have made the situation seem very straightforward in my previous entry when infact it was a very complicated matter.

They'd already been captured by an individual who had kink bombs plugged into them. This individual who the team had thwarted on two previous occasions decided to make them useful to his operations by sending them on a suicide job. The job involves going to L.A., vault diving to the Dhakasoft building that's under the waves, finding a program that was being worked on in the labs, and returning to Seattle. The complications involved are 1) an artificial intelligence that became aware within the last few months and 2) a shedim infestation which has basically turned the whole building into a zombie infested hellhole. The AI, only ever having had contact with shedim possessed metahumans and an Aztechnology team that tried to plug a virus into the system, saw the PCs as another potential threat. It made the attempt to communicate with the team, but one of them got hot headed as in the above post and well the rest is history. The AI having seen that the only way to keep things from getting back up again (pesky shedim) is to 'reduce targets to tacomeat', which it did just that to the PC. The AI not really caring about taking prisoners has only been about it's own self-preservation (wait til the team finds out it's suffering from a form of PTSD) as the Shedim have been trying to destroy it and the drones it commands.

The team did manage to not get themselves killed, thus far, and tricked the AI that they are a repair team from Aztechnology/Dhakasoft.

Man, and I thought I watched too much Resident Evil...
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Malex on (18:01:14/01-04-12)
"You're all going to die down here."
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (19:13:48/01-04-12)
Please, please understand that killing is Option Z.  Being wimpy and letting them get away with murder, well, that isn't even an option, but there are plenty of other possibilities out there.  If there's no other PC there to witness events, you can say, 'you throw the grenade, you get caught in the grenade blast, the drone opens up ... and everything is black.'  Killing runners is, actually, bad for business for the corps, because killing you isn't going to find out who hired you.

I may have made the situation seem very straightforward in my previous entry when infact it was a very complicated matter.

You seem to have stopped reading a little early.  Let me quote the end of my post:


Yes, sometimes they just beg to be killed, and sometimes it's really difficult to NOT kill them -- but unless you WANT to be the PKer GM, try to find other things to do than tell them, 'okay, draw up another character'.  Imagine them getting caught three times, and having to follow orders from three different groups ...

... 'cause I think being merciful three times is probably the limit.  :P

If they've passed the limit, whatever your limit happens to be, then sit them down ahead of time -- or at the end of a session -- and be honest.  "Guys, it's getting really, really difficult to not kill you.  I've been trying, but if you continue to act like assholes and idiots simultaneously, you're going to be rolling up new characters.  If that's the way your character is going to act, that's fine -- understand, though, that there are people just as much of an asshole, and just as short-tempered, and even more lethal than you are.  In fact, right now you're in one hell of a 'no survivors' scenario.  Unless you pull it together and act like you want to get out of this alive ... you won't.  Any questions?"

Maybe they'll pull it together.  But if they don't, the PLAYERS have been given fair warning; kill 'em if they play stupid.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Malex on (20:17:42/01-04-12)
I did the sit down and told them straight up 'play smart and you will not die'. I also gave plenty of warning to the eminent peril of the situation which killed that player, a whole week in fact, as the game paused on a cliffhanger with the drone showing up and loading the LMG attached to it.

The thing which kinda irked a bit more was when that player, after the event, said he did it out of boredom. Which as a GM sucks to hear that one of your players was so bored by the game that he decided to get himself killed.

Not like the character death doesn't rebound onto me anyway, since I had to come up with a means by which the player can still contribute to the game while in a place that has no normal way to throw in a new character. Any guesses?
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Ryushiroi on (16:18:42/01-05-12)
Locked in a closet?

Waking up in a shower with no memory of who she is, and having nasty flashbacks throughout the rest of the adventure?
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (18:17:14/01-05-12)
That's a player/GM issue.  You can ask him if he's just bored with Shadowrun, if he wants to play something else.  On the other hand, maybe you have another GM on your hands.  Offer to let him run the game sometimes; finish the current run up without him, and the next 'run is his.  Otherwise, well, I've had those too.  There honestly isn't much you can do with them, because generally all they want is combat-combat-combat.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Chrona on (05:28:48/01-06-12)
Let's just say that last night's game involved the PhysAd Blademaster's brother being in charge of the SecTeam on overwatch for their extraction target. And her brother had gone the path of the Cyberzombie.

Nothing like having the terminator trying to rip you to shreds as the Invoked Memory Stimulator has him talking in a child-like voice with his sister about the the picnics they used to have as children.

I had a run in with a Cyberzombie whose  Invoked Memory Stimulator was stuck, he kept going "Remember, Remember..." between every kill

Eventually I told the party to run while I, the face, bought them time  Miraculously I managed to be viewed as a non-combatent long enough to go "... The 5th of November?" and get him out of kill mode.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Malex on (19:36:15/01-06-12)
Let's just say that last night's game involved the PhysAd Blademaster's brother being in charge of the SecTeam on overwatch for their extraction target. And her brother had gone the path of the Cyberzombie.

Nothing like having the terminator trying to rip you to shreds as the Invoked Memory Stimulator has him talking in a child-like voice with his sister about the the picnics they used to have as children.

I had a run in with a Cyberzombie whose  Invoked Memory Stimulator was stuck, he kept going "Remember, Remember..." between every kill

Eventually I told the party to run while I, the face, bought them time  Miraculously I managed to be viewed as a non-combatent long enough to go "... The 5th of November?" and get him out of kill mode.

Interesting.

As for my answer. I'm giving him a role as one of the Shedim. The Master Shedim wants out of the building and is sending one of it's more capable servants (the player) to intercept the team and to act like a survivor in the hope that the team divulges how they got into the building. What happens after that is anyone's guess, I'm hoping for some interesting roleplaying; especially since one of the other PCs tried to double cross and kill another team member.

The Player has only played one Shadowrun game, this one, and made a character that was on the edge of sanity and had a penchant for explosions (Streetname: Splodey MacGee). The rest of the team felt it was only a matter of time before he got killed, I had hoped otherwise.

After this game I want to not GM for a little while and in the meantime try to get the group to make characters that will work together as a team and not a disorganized rabble of cutthroats.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: DoubleTap on (21:32:52/02-28-12)
I wont stop there stupidity.  They do something stupid to bring down he wrath thats on them.  Had a PC in a reacent game fire a rocket launcher at a lone star patrol car, at that point when the Swat shows, up and he dose'nt bug out,, that would be why he died.  I won't stop them from doing doing something stupid.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: ShadowChaser13 on (21:26:15/03-09-12)
I hate killing PCs, but once one bites the bullet it really ups the tension level in the group.  I had a side plot about a serial killer who implanted himself with barghest sensitive earpieces and had three of the barghests under his control roaming through redmond at night.   I had the pc cee a news vid on him, receive rfid id uptes about where not to walk, stumble over an old fashioned newspaper with the dandgerous neighborhood conveniently showing on top (that was my hail marry saying "do not walk through here, call a cab."  needless to say he walked and became barghest chow.
it keeps that "im the pc, im untouchable because im a player" vibe out.  and there always the doc wagon out....

that plot of your is nice man.  sounds like fun.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leticron on (22:15:55/03-18-12)
In my opinion the possibility of death adds necessary(?) tension to the game and brings in another, possibly deeper, level of play.
Players have free will and who am I not to respect that. I just set the stage, it's their turn to get up there and make it shine.
Staying alive, backup plans, etc. are within their responsibility (to a certain degree ;) ).
Also, if something goes really wrong that's what Edge is for.

That said, there are (at least) two things to take into account when playing like that.
First of all, the players and me, we all know, that the guy who got some lucky shots last time can get badly betrayed by lady luck next time, so whenever players realize they have to retreat, I won't put extra obstacles in their way as, someone said it before, it's neither a GMs Job to play "against" players nor to kill them when he's got the chance to. I also avoid any "shoot outs" that leave only dead players or dead NPCs - after all it's the players choice how they want to handle a certain situation.
Secondly, should, for whatever reasons, a player get caught up in over his head, I do not force death upon him, so to speak. I let them surrender, or do whatever it takes to survive. So far I haven't come across a single "all in" situation (that wasn't forced by players whom i had previously warned about the possible consequences).

When I get to know my players better (or more so, their new caracters, as we play together for about 10 years now), i of course create situations specifically suited for one particular character that are also tense, in which even the groups life, success etc. lies in the hands of that one character, but they aren't created as 50/50 situations to begin with.

In general there is one particular advice that has helped me tremendously: Be aware of your players current situation and get a feeling for when they can take another hit and when they don't. And if they can't and just want to get out alive - don't go all out on them. Sometimes surviving a run can be as satisfying as dancing with Richard Villiers Daughter while pretending to be an Asian Billionair.
They best GMs I've played with so far, all had a very good feel for their players capabilities and designed their runs, adventures etc. around that skill set (and state of - player - minds). Most situations I've come across so far that got a character killed either came from that character's player not realizing he was in imminent danger of dying should he go on like this, or from the GM not realizing that his players couldn't handle the obstacles he had thrown in his way until it was too late - and not being flexible enough to give his players a way to possibly escape (Even then... who wants to get his as handed only to be saved by the GM?).
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leigion on (20:50:17/06-27-12)
I as a player have lost many a character over the years and a GM i have killed scores. TPK.. yep both sides of the screen. I have played in 3 living campaigns that lasted years though. ADnD, DnD3.5 and Shadowrun. I will not play in a game if we cant die, if we are constantly being saved or if combat is not rolled open. Total deal breakers for me. As a GM i tell my players you can die if, you get into combat, you do crazy shady stuff and get caught, you do insanely stupid stuff like C.LU.E. Other then that I am not trying to single you out or am I going drop a house on your head out of nowhere. Heaven help you if you cheat at dice, throw temper tantrum's, or keep trying to break the game consistently. Any of that you can finish your beer and you can go home.

To me why play a game if we are not going to have consequences for our actions? How can we really enjoy surviving, if death was never really on the line? How can you ask players not to cheat if the GM can fudge rolls? If their is no challenge then it gets boring, and the game will eventually fall apart, so will the group.

I guess I should also point something out in the living campaigns you have more then one character.The one's your not playing are doing stuff its not like they are sitting collecting dust. Thats the secret to not pissing people off and having a way if a TPK happens to keep playing. It helps to have a back up mission or dungeon something so they dont have to go right back to what killed them last time. Hope that helps
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: lurkeroutthere on (02:41:02/06-28-12)
Honestly for a missions game you should probably just be killing them. The alternative is when their captured by some legitimate authority(tm) where you can give them some disadvantages that make sense.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leigion on (04:32:16/06-28-12)
Um to the person who said "its bad for business for the corp to kill you and not find out who hired you." Lets look at this logicaly. Corp kills runner /runners. Lets start simple and work more complex. If they capturre a team they are going to kill all but one or two, looking for the hacker. Then they are going to torture you, find out what they want and shoot you in the face period. Why would they call the cops or hold you indefinatly? Your a security threat breathing . If they are going to torture you then kill you, they would break your legs so you cant escape. If cybered legs they would just start cutting wires till its cyber cement shoes.

Lets move on. They have a body, they are going to go threw your stuff, right. So here is a cold dead cipher.  All your gear is going to tell them who you are. Start with the com link. Well looky here is this your personal or a throw away? If its your personal every one whos on it is now screwed. You gave them numbers to back track you in logs. Oh its the throw away that you were running in hiden mode correct? So it was still picking up stuff in the back log, it just wasnt sending info out. So again its now going follow everything it picked up like a map straight back to the meet, then to your safe house. Hope the runners arnt there hanging out. Once they make it back to your safe house they are going to know alot more about you.

How bout gear so what were you packing anyways ? If you got anything really heavy on you, like dealing with high restriction. They already know what channels to look into on the street, because of the shadow wars. A shorter list the more restricted. Sure this list work might take longer but they still are going to know where you got it. If they dont need you alive why would you be alive?
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Critias on (14:41:49/06-28-12)
Um to the person who said its bad for business for the corp to kill you and not find out who hired you. Lets look at this logicaly. Corp kills runner /runners. Lets start simple and work more complex. If they capturre a team they are going to kill all but one or two looking for the hacker. Then they are going to torture you, find out what they want and shoot you in the face period. Why would they call the cops or hold you indefinatly your a security threat breathing . If they are going to torture you then kill you, they would break your legs so you cant escape. If cybered they would just start cutting wires till its cyber cement shoes.
Except that's not how the game universe works ("zero zones" and other special circumstances aside), or no one would ever go on shadowruns, and/or shadowunners would get paid a lot more.

As it is, in the Sixth World, shadowrunners are a known angle.  Everyone uses them, everyone knows everyone uses them, and they -- personally -- are sort of left alone.  Corps go after other corps, they don't go after the pawns that get sent their way (most of the time). 

When a corporation catches a bunch of shadowrunners, yes, in a gritty, grim, no-nonsense, merciless world, they'd torture you and dismember you and blah blah blah whatever, because legally they can.  But in a world that's made to function the way the Shadowrun universe is?  They don't.  Or, at least, they don't most of the time.  Most of the time, they'll try to turn you, instead.  Most of the time, they'll ask you who you're working for, who sent you, what you're after.  Then they'll do something goofy and dramatic to try and recycle you -- implant a bomb, show your file and threaten your loved ones, tell you The Deep Dark Truth Behind Mr. Johnson, whatever -- so that they can profit from you.

If they just kill you, you're wasted.  If they kill you, go through your commlink and find all your friends and kill them, go after your Fixer and everyone else you worked with, and all that?  They're losing assets.  They're spending money on petty retribution instead of on the bottom line.  Unless you've already pulled the job successfully (in which case they want their stuff back), the long-standing in-universe trope is they don't care.  You aren't worth revenge.  You aren't any good to them dead.  They can't USE you, dead.  They don't care about you as an individual who has taken action against them, they care about you as an individual who's shown his talent and could take action for them.

Yes, it's goofy.  Yes, it makes shadowrunning a little less terrifying.  But you know what?  It's the only way to keep the setting playable.  It's the only way to keep any of the fun or the over-the-top action, it's the only way to keep anyone from ever having to play anything but an ice cold pro, it's the only way to make the universe itself work.

Quote
If they dont need you alive why would you be alive.
In-universe?  Because they don't need you dead, either.  You can't work for them, dead, and killing you themselves costs them money. 

Out-of-universe?  Because then the campaign ends, and no one has any fun.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: JustADude on (16:55:50/06-28-12)
You aren't any good to them dead.  They can't USE you, dead.  They don't care about you as an individual who has taken action against them, they care about you as an individual who's shown his talent and could take action for them.

Why does that make me feel like the best way to audition for a Spider position is to hack their servers and leave your resume on the Desktop of the CEO?
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Critias on (17:18:13/06-28-12)
You aren't any good to them dead.  They can't USE you, dead.  They don't care about you as an individual who has taken action against them, they care about you as an individual who's shown his talent and could take action for them.

Why does that make me feel like the best way to audition for a Spider position is to hack their servers and leave your resume on the Desktop of the CEO?
Stranger things have happened.  Plenty of folks have made the black hat/grey hat/white hat transitions, IRL, and it'd make for a heck of a plot hook, in-game, for a campaign trying to transition from shadowrunners to company men.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leigion on (18:03:05/06-28-12)
No i never said that they would kill everyone on your com link or friends and all your family.They would back log atleast a week to two weeks and find out who put this together. Sure they might be able to rescramble the codes in 45 minutes or so. But the building lay out, how the securiety forces work, and a ton of more sensitive data that they cant just bring a wrecking ball in on and rebuild. They would have a problem with you seeing to much and being able to recreate it. 

About going back to your safe house and or finding the runners who were working with you. Yea why not they followed the hacker to is safe house to find out what other infomation hes got stashed for a rainy day. I see a possible profit panning out. Looking for the other runners that were with you why wouldnt they? Like you said those peple made it out and might have something. They might not blow alot of resources looking but they would still look. Why would they see you as useful asset? You were caught wernt you?Again, so if they turn you lose as a asset and you get caught again they just gave enemy corp more data.(Question: Shadowrun put out a book called safe houses, why would you need a save house if no one is after you?)

About turning people sure I would see them back logging and finding the middle men like fixers, johnsons what not. Also keeping tabs on who is moving what hardware. That makes sence like little micro managers for the company. But the Shadowruners why in the world would they care about the little guy? With the tons of sinless walking around it breeds Shadowruners. The grim reality is shadowruners are wageslaves just with better toys with one foot in the grave. They do jobs because they need money to survive and not die starving like the thousands of other sinless.

About the game setting, Megacorps have the right to do what ever on their turf. Millions of sinless around the globe even more now since the last crash. Mata human racism, spooky native americans blowing volcano's wide open, Dragons like ghostwalker who you cant bring down with military force. Yea its supposed to be terrifying.
Basicaly what i gather from if they just kill you then the setting isnt playable? Why isn't it playable if someone dies? Plenty of people were saying "yea if they do something completly stupid i'd let them die." Does that kill the game system?

I am seriously not trying to be out of line but iam in the "how brutal are you" am I not supposed to be here talking about lethality? Honest question i dont know. All i was talking about was they dont need you alive to find out information.The 4e has backlogs why wouldnt they use them?  If they capture you and they did just care about the botton line they wouldn't let a security risk/threat go to tell the competition anything. Any of the old novels and older sourceboks had corps just brutal is was the shadowrun version of a high level dungeon in ADnD was for pros wich is a good thing because it challanges the players and the GM so things dont get boring.

I guess I should also point something out in the living campaigns you have more then one character.The one's your not playing are doing stuff its not like they are sitting collecting dust. Thats the secret to not pissing people off and having a way if a TPK happens to keep playing. It helps to have a back up mission or dungeon something so they dont have to go right back to what killed them last time. Hope that helps
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (01:43:25/06-29-12)
'Lethality' is different from 'brutal' is different from 'make the game unplayable'.  Critias is right - shadowrunners are expendable, deniable assets, but the Johnson generally wants you to succeed, and the corp you hit (pretty much no matter what corp it is) wants you to live.  Oh, they'll break out the steel-jacketed lead just as soon as you do, but if a location is less than ultra-secure, then why shouldn't they be loading gel rounds?  Bullets miss, and stray gel rounds going into the city beyond are far less likely to kill a bystander, which would lead to Bad Publicity.

If you want your runners to live in perpetual fear that The Corp(s) is/are after them to kill them, feel free.  But your logic is erroneous in any number of places.

Most glaringly, there is a difference between 'killed during a run' and 'hunted down after'.  Do something stupid during a run, walk into a zero-zone shouting 'here I am', yes, you're stupid, and stupid should die.  Do something exceedingly stupid immediately after the run, walk into a runner hangout bragging "Hey, I just took a big chunk out of Aztechnology, wanna hear how?  Well, I'll tell ya ...", yes, you're stupid, and stupid should die.  Finish a run, do things right and lay low, or go somewhere else?  Then after a few days, a week or two, the heat dies down and presto change-o, the corp is after some other runner team who JUST stole The Doohickey.

If you just finished a Run, the corp you hit wants to Talk To You to find out who you pulled the run for; you hide out until the heat dies down.  The heat dies down because unless you stole some Very Drekking Hot criminal and/or irreplaceable data of some sort, they'll get their backups online, and then send out a Johnson to hire some OTHER runner team to fuck with the top three most likely corps to have hit them.  Are they interested in you any more?  Not so much.

If they capture you, sure - they CAN just kill you.  Spend 2 on the bullet, or use the knife, and hey, your PCs are now dead.  That isn't brutal; that's unplayable.  Brutal is Making Your Players Work For Freedom - implanting carcerands, or cranial nukes, or taking a loved one or favorite contact hostage.  You seem to be missing the basic bottom-line equivalency of Shadowrun - Rating 2 Is Average, Rating 3 Is Trained, Rating 5-6 Is Very Highly Trained Indeed.  If you're a middle manager and your security guards actually manage to capture the trained equivalent of a 5-man Navy SEAL team, are you just going to go and kill them, or are you going to figure out how to leverage those SEALs into using their Very Extensive Training to go after your competition?

Sure, there are a ton of SINless walking around.  Gutterpunks are 5 a pop.  Gutterpunks also have a skill of 2, and none of the bangs and whistles.  Good shadowrunners - like the ones that you caught on their way out, or the ones who got away but left evidence that let you track them down 3 days later - are worth far more than 5.  Training = value.  Value = profit.  If you recover training that you can use to your advantage, then ... that's profit.  And profit is what the corp is all about.

This is basic economics...
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Critias on (02:10:20/06-29-12)
I'm not saying no one ever dies, and shadowunners never need to have a safehouse, or the setting falls apart if any character ever gets killed. 

What I am saying is that there are certain concessions that need to be made, speaking specifically about a Missions campaign (running at conventions under a time limit, not singling out a PC to hog the spotlight, not giving the impression of singling out a PC to be punished, etc), in order to keep the game world running, keep convention games running smoothly, and make sure players -- who paid cash for the ability to play in any given session -- are having fun. 

Sometimes you have to cut the corners of "realism" in order to keep a game moving and maintain the very unrealistic notion of shadowrunners existing in the first place.

Just because a corp can legally torture some SINless criminal to death and then backtrack him and ruin a bunch of lives, doesn't mean they should when you're trying to help eight strangers have a good time at GenCon or Origins.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: lurkeroutthere on (05:17:01/06-29-12)
It's been said before in this very thread somewhat but i'll sum it up as best I can.

Stoping runners in the act of running agaisnt you is good for business. It proves that your security is up to snuff.
Tracking runners after the run and getting revenge, not much point in it from a business sense.

In most cases if a corp can capture or kill runners mid run the effect is roughly the same. The runner will be taken out behind the chemical shed and take a round to the noggin. Avoiding this fate is pretty much what hand of god is for. Somehow, you survive, either the corp decides to cut you a deal or you somehow live through your what would normally be fatal wounds.

However I think we as GM's do have an obligation to weigh very carefully how brutal or forgiving the opposition is going to be, and error on the brutal side.

Rule Zere always applies: Don't Get Caught
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: bmoham on (16:17:44/06-29-12)
I'm curious as to how character optimization plays into this.
Do you assume that players will have the best possible characters for the BP/Karma they have? Does that play into how brutal you'll be?

Simple example: If a player has Body 1 or edge 1 or not much armor or whatever, is that "stupid" in your book and therefore fair game for a quick death?

Does the shadowrun Missions campaign generally assume highly optimized characters?
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: JustADude on (20:23:48/06-29-12)
Does the shadowrun Missions campaign generally assume highly optimized characters?

Nope. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It assumes it's going to be a group of mediocre players that have characters on par with the templates from SR4A, rather than UmaroVI's Archetypes, and that they're probably going to be missing a Hacker, Face and/or a Mage. A reasonably intelligent group with a properly coordinated crew will crush them... or at least that's how it was with Season 2. At the highest Table Rating, our Hacker was stealing the Black IC from the nodes she was hacking.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Critias on (21:14:05/06-29-12)
It's worth pointing out that the Missions tend to be written for a less-than-ideal group, yes, but that right there in every single chapter are suggestions for GMs that want to ramp it up.  The thought is that it's easier to write for the new GM with new players and less-than-optimized characters -- to make things easy on them -- and to trust the experienced GM with the more hardcore crew to "dial it up."  It's meaner to set the base difficulty high, and make the newbs try and tone it down, in my opinion.  ;)
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leigion on (07:49:05/06-30-12)
To The Wyrm Ouroboros, On capture with cranial Bomb. I know you said cranial nukes I ll assume you ment cranial area bombs. You said 5 runners so right off the bat your corp dropped 50,000 in a high risk return. Ill meet you half way though at cranial microbombs x5 =25,000k. then transport to facility(induviualy because they were caught together and considered dangerous=high risk) Then medical bill to be fitted. then another transport. then trust that they wont have it defused it less your going to hold their hand to drop them off. So all the 25000k plus all the expensises, guarding, feeding, medicine, Time and company resources On top of all this thier is no guarentee looking at it from the corp side that they will make it they have to go with what they know they know whats in the report. Gear, BS names, no hard data on ID, where you were, and you were caught. Megacorp did we catch em yea ok so whos to say they wont and spill so our facility will again be compermised the enemy will have a very recent update of groundwork,layout, guard patrol, what gear they carrie and a whole mess of classidied info.

$10 for bullets > (60,000 if you were talking area heads explode) 25,000 starting package and up then way in a possible failure in total cost. They could hire a completly differnt crew pay em 1/2 up front half later and even if their team fails they still saved on cost and it would probally be faster. Capture a loved one or contacts. How did they backlog and torture''em or did they sit em under a hot lamp with a rolled up magazine and say bad Runner.. bad runner, in grown up voices? Meenwhile asking them about thier personal life? So Blade tell us alittle about yourself? "Well captain corp security dude... I like techno,romantic dinners, bathsalts and taking long walks on the beach. I dislike hot lamps and rolled up magazines. So when they do take it upon themselfs to track down 5 differnt "possible" hostages across town. The time and money thats going to cost again plus holding, food,till they get leverage aka the hostages then house them. Now when they spring you to do the job. What's stopping you from turning and waxing them or just walk off the job? So Corp Kills the hostages and the runners dont mind thinking glad we told em people we didnt like. In the hahahahahah moment.

What it boils down to is two things 1st your already stated this earlier in this thread "Please, please understand that killing is Option Z" so thats why its unplayable with death being a it could happen. I would wager in your group if the runners got pinned down DM fiat would effect dice rolls aswell. Thats cool GM fiat death away till Z. Hey what ever works for your group. Secondly,Your only point to your argument is what i just explained the rest is just rehash. On real basic ecnomics. The rule of thumb is low risk high profit and/or low cost high mark up. 2nd rule stay out of the red. Less we are talking about a smaller branch of a major company and then its sink money in, then claim loss, so it becomes a tax write off. Let me put my how to turn captured runners into profit and low risk hat on. Here is two. Harvest runner organs low cost higher mark up. Turned into lab mice. Low risk to the corp high profit if something pans out.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: CanRay on (12:06:27/06-30-12)
How brutal am I?

I'm still counting the number of automotive interiors I've destroyed with "Burn".  ;D
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leigion on (17:54:38/06-30-12)
I agree with Critias, maybe not everything but on the whole mission/convention thing as it wouldnt be very cool to drop hammers on people and say well your dead. Some people didnt come out to have a guy killed off they came out to play with new people on different skill levels. So on that we agree 100%. If we are talking people playing in their own groups though I dont see why death's a big deal as long as its not drop a house on your head out of no where. Thats not cool either.   

To bmoham, If you came to play in our group. We use certain optional rules we dont have many "house rules" but we would copy it for you. Other then that you have to use your imagination and some reasoning. You dont have to build a munchkin or play ultra serious pure emotionless A typical socialpath just when you are breaking serious laws you just have to take precaution on not to get caught. Again your Npc's contacts would drop "hints" over a beer or fixing a car plus the other players at the table would help you out. Just keep in mind anything thats NPC's has its own motavations. Not all of em are trying to kill you but in a gun fight or playing for keeps they will try to live if that meens killing you.

Oh on the 1 body score with no armor question you had. If you made a die if you sneezed player. Yea we would say something cuz we arnt trying to go out of our way to murder your player or anything for no good reason. Just with death on the table we would say hey if thats part of your concept a frail what ever thats cool what if you put more points in this or that so you have some strengths to cover a weakness. If you stuck to your guns and said no i want it this way part of the concept then we wouldnt tell you no.
 
Reason why its bring two charecters is yea in case one dies but also because its a living campagin. We let people play what charecter's they want to play this week we have a limit on Four sheets per person though.. Lets just say for sake of what happens if in a run and someone dies. That player plays one of the opponets or commander and earns karma for another character they have. It's something different and its better then I'll go watch tv call me when you need me guys.     
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (04:52:17/07-01-12)
To The Wyrm Ouroboros ...
*snip*
The rule of thumb is low risk high profit and/or low cost high mark up. 2nd rule stay out of the red. Less we are talking about a smaller branch of a major company and then its sink money in, then claim loss, so it becomes a tax write off. Let me put my how to turn captured runners into profit and low risk hat on. Here is two. Harvest runner organs low cost higher mark up. Turned into lab mice. Low risk to the corp high profit if something pans out.

... wow.  So purchasing five highly-motivated highly-skilled utterly deniable individuals at 5000-plus-add-ons each is too expensive for you, huh?  You actually think they're going to be able to remove the headware first thing Monday morning, that they're getting The Grand Tour of whatever facilities you usher them through?  You want to basically just shoot them in the head, harvest their organs, and be on your way.  250,000 pure profit, right?

Instead, let's look at what it'd take to get one of these people.

Let's take a 16-year-old kid (0), put him through boot camp (9 weeks @ 125/week squatter lifestyle expense, 5/week drill instructer expense per boot candidate: 1170).  We now have a newbie soldier: skill level 2.  Let's add 2 years of living and training (2000 low lifestyle, 100 training, 2000 ammo, 100 miscellaneous expenses per month, 24 months: 100,800).  We now have an 18-year-old military grunt: skill level 3.  Let's send the kid to Desert Wars a few times - be generous, say 4 times, 1 year's worth (2000 low lifestyle, 200 training, 3000 ammo, 200 miscellaneous expenses per month, 12 months: 64,800 plus transport (1200 x4): 69,600).  We have a 19-year-old combat veteran, skill level 4.  Veteran-boy wants to go gung-ho.  Special Forces it is, overall a 2-year journey (2000 low lifestyle, 500 training, 5000 ammo, 500 miscellaneous per month, 24 months: 192,000).  Tough, competent SpecForce trooper: skill level 5.

We'll stop there, having spent 363,570 on simple lifestyle, training, ammunition, and miscellaneous expenses to get this 21-year-old combat vet's training in one skill up to a level 5.  Implant and/or purchase your typical street sam gear by spending another 250,000, and we've reached 613,570 for a well-trained mundane.  What price magic?  For a competent one, 15 BP + 40 BP (5 Magic) + 15 BP (at least 5 Spells) = 70 BP, which equates to 350,000.  Say 25,000 in gear for the mage (this replaces the other gear above), and you have a price-point-equivalent of $738,570 - and that's for training your mage without sending him to college.  (College expensive.)  Technomancer equivalent to mage, but we'll presume you only have one of 'em.  Face will cost less on the back end (implants, gear), but more on the front end (parties, school), so we'll ballpark him with the street sam.  Rigger, same thing as sam, just different gear, and hacker as rigger.


Someone once wrote a bit of fanfic, as I recall, that looked into the economics of shadowruns.  Again as I recall, what it boiled down to was that the value of the effects of the shadowrun had to be at least three times the amount you're paying the runners to do the job - the cost of the shadowrun.  Pay the runners 60,000 (6 runners at a typical Missions table), and the corporation had better get a minimum of 180,000 out the back-end on it.  This is for security, secrecy, accounting for the measures taken to remove all the rest of the potential negative impact the run could have on your company.  Here, you're paying 25,000 plus, say, 1,000 per runner in negligibles (transport, medicines, and bandages are your main non-reuseables here) for a highly-skilled, highly-motivated, completely-deniable strike force you can use at least once on a suicide search-and-destroy / structure hit / assassination that only has to be worth 90,000 to you.

Total cost required to 'grow' your own combat team: 3,192,850.
Cost required to implant cranial bombs in a captive runner team: 30,000.
Value of watching the local subsidiary of Opponent, Inc. go up in flames: Priceless.

Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: CanRay on (11:21:44/07-01-12)
There are some things in life nuyen can't buy, for everything else, there's Certified Credsticks!
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: DaveDaveDaave on (14:24:57/07-01-12)
Does the shadowrun Missions campaign generally assume highly optimized characters?

Nope. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It assumes it's going to be a group of mediocre players that have characters on par with the templates from SR4A, rather than UmaroVI's Archetypes, and that they're probably going to be missing a Hacker, Face and/or a Mage. A reasonably intelligent group with a properly coordinated crew will crush them... or at least that's how it was with Season 2. At the highest Table Rating, our Hacker was stealing the Black IC from the nodes she was hacking.

Wow I noticed this late on but an amazing idea. I`m having problems finding the resale value of pirated software can anyone give me a pointer i have a vague idea it starts around 10 pct but I think thats just an assumption?
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: JustADude on (00:22:45/07-02-12)
Does the shadowrun Missions campaign generally assume highly optimized characters?

Nope. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It assumes it's going to be a group of mediocre players that have characters on par with the templates from SR4A, rather than UmaroVI's Archetypes, and that they're probably going to be missing a Hacker, Face and/or a Mage. A reasonably intelligent group with a properly coordinated crew will crush them... or at least that's how it was with Season 2. At the highest Table Rating, our Hacker was stealing the Black IC from the nodes she was hacking.

Wow I noticed this late on but an amazing idea. I`m having problems finding the resale value of pirated software can anyone give me a pointer i have a vague idea it starts around 10 pct but I think thats just an assumption?

According to Missions, it's 10% flat resale value for anything that's "hot", and 30% for anything you get legally.
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Bull on (03:19:26/07-02-12)
Also, Pirated Software isn't allowed in Season 4.

Bull
Title: Re: How Brutal Are You?
Post by: Leigion on (23:58:19/07-02-12)
To The Wyrm Ouroboros, I apreciate you trying to break it all down on what the actual cost is for a corp to make mercanarys but I think the math is off no offence. Anywho here it is in a nutshell sorry its long.

1. Read a high security briefing report. Its the age of the Internet you can find one. After that then you can figure out risk assessment for allowing people in a restricted area's. You can compromise millions/billions worth of research and risk personal's lives. On top of that lose key personal scientist engineers,ect ect that can set back research months if not years and waste more company money and time. 

2 i understand you wanted to compare a special force team training and cost then chuck cyber wear on them to fit into shadowrun. Here is the problem with that. America has a huge over spending in the military budget because almost everything is out source. What iam trying to say is they buy from defense contractors they don't put scores of boots to build weapon/ammo/tech/uniforms they pay company's in defense contracts to build that for them. So the cost goes up in gear and training. If it was all done in house it be penny's to a dollar. Same cents/math it costs Nike less then a quarter to make a pair of shoes. Pull up zee German's war machine in world war 2 they mass produced and cut cost because majority of the bulk was in house. (i just got done watching snatch "zee Germans" is a line he keeps telling Tommy no offence to German people)

3.It doesn't cost anywhere near that much in the real world to build mercenary's. I am talking military training/ Para military not just trigger men. Don't believe me look it up. I'll even send you links from cartel mercenary's to cost of what other countries spend on mercenary's to blackwater. Not  just their pay grade which is roughly ballpark figure 700 a day pay.
It be cheaper with the tech and cyber parts for a corp. Again they would get it cheap from subsidized company's. Even training would be cheaper in the future. Not just with skill wares they would cut on cost by running 100's of hours combat training and technical skills in VR. Just like the Air Force does with thier pilots in simulations.
Only shadowrun VR would be very  sophisticated ground troop training aswell.
(sorry not posting it you want it ill sent it.last time i linked real world comparing to shadowrun,even done in tongue and cheek humor, i had a person go off about the illuminati. Was a mess of conspiracy theory's. They even linked the show conspiracy theory's. So again if you want it ill link it to you)

4. So lets break down the math on the pay grade since i already explained how training and tech would be cheaper. The pay grade that's a huge merry go round with the money the corp pays a salary offers discounts to buy the corps stuff or from a subsidiary of the umbrella megacorp. So money changes hands and goes right back to where it came from hence the merry go round effect. The real trick is, the umbrella mega corp and including subsidized company's under the umbrella can now claim loss at some point get tax write offs and turn loss into profit. 
A simple real life example if you work for ford, and buy a ford. Sure they cut a few grand off the top in discounts but the money just changed hands back to the company and they turned a profit even with giving you a discount.
 
5. The whole point of having a deniable asset is to not have a trail leading back to who hired the run/hit. If that person gets picked up, killed or caught they have no idea who ordered it. The runners/hitters  are just there for the money. That runs contradictory to releasing captured runners if they get caught at X corp then released to run against Y corp and get caught at Y corp. Y is going to learn about X which may or may not lead a hearing in corporate court over the matter. 

6. If they were caught to begin with how would the head of security know they have 5 in stats? Of course the GM knows but the head of security as NPC, all he's got to go on is the assessment from feeds and gear and what ever creditable data he got out of them during the interrogation. Also do you make your players spend that kind of cash to get a 5 in a couple of stats? 

7. Seriously just read the canon, not only in novels but other older source books. Corps are well known to kill personal that betray the corp let alone gun down shadowruners on runs. Sometimes even try to gun 'em down after they get what they want and dont want to pay for it. Sometimes they try to kill runners to tie up a loose ends