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Acquiring Gear

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LonePaladin

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« on: (12:54:16/04-13-11) »
I've found an area where the rules show some signs of breakage.

Here are the relevant rules for acquiring hard-to-find gear in play:

  • The person searching rolls Negotiation + Charisma (contacts add their Connection rating as well) on an Extended Test; the threshold is the item's Availability, and the interval is based on the item's price -- 12 hours for cheap items, with most having 1 or 2 days.
  • Offering to pay more than the base price adds extra dice: each 25% increase is +1 die, with a maximum of +250% for +10 dice. I'm not using this in the examples, just pointing it out for thoroughness.
  • The price can be modified, by getting used gear or other such conditions. Again, not used in examples.
  • If a contact is used, the character has to pay a "finder's fee" of 5% times the Connection rating.
Let's run with your typical fixer (Negotiation 5, Charisma 5, Connection 4), and no other modifiers. For simplicity, I'm going to assume that the numbers are actually rolled, using the "minus 1 die per interval" option -- because, simply put, sometimes an item just can't be found. I'll also be buying automatic hits. This means the number of hits the fixer will accumulate will be 3-6-9-11-13-15-17-18-19-20-21.


Now for specific items:
  • An Ingram Smartgun X, with no modifications. Price: 650 (interval = 1 day); Availability: 6R. The fixer finds it in two days; his finder's fee is 20%, or 130.
  • A concealable holster. Price 75 (interval = 12 hours); Availability 2. So it takes 12 hours, and the finder's fee is 15.
  • A Mitsubishi Yakusoku MRL. Price 12,000 (interval = 1 week); Availability: 20F. 10 weeks, finder's fee = 2,400.
So far, no big surprises, that's how the numbers play out. But there are scenarios where the acquisition rules start to show cracks.


First is a call for getting something in bulk -- this especially applies to ammunition, but can also run into things like grenades, pharmaceuticals, and pretty much anything where you can't have just one. Ammo is a particularly thorny case, because it's priced in small groups already.


In this case, where you're looking around for, say, 100 rounds of regular ammo, which numbers do you go by? If you go by the base price for a single unit, then you're looking at an interval of 12 hours, but if you take it as a bulk purchase, it becomes 1 day. If you take the bulk as a single item, it will be faster to find 50 rounds (the total price is 100, with a 12-hour interval) than it would be to find 60 (which would make the price 120, and double the interval).


If modifiers are applied to the base price -- things like used gear, or a flooded market -- do you use the modified price for determining the interval? Is the contact's "finder's fee" affected by these modifiers as well?


I'm really starting to miss the equipment rules from prior editions, where they explicitly spelled out the acquisition time per item, as well as giving a modifier for acquiring it through "normal" means (because there were some items that you could actually get cheaper though the shadow markets). I'd consider digging through the SR3 books and retconning these items, but there are things that have been added since then (like commlinks).


Maybe basing the acquisition time on an item's Availability, rather than the price, might fix this a little. I think it's odd that something with a high price, but low Availability can take longer than a cheap item with a high Availability.


F'rinstance: a basic cyberlimb costs 15,000, Availability 4. Our fixer can get it in two tests, one if he actually rolls the dice -- but each check takes a week. By contrast, a package of APDS rounds -- just ten of them -- would only cost 70, making the interval half a day. The 16 Availability, though, means that the fixer would need 7 tests, but this only works out to 3.5 days.


See what I'm getting at?
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dashifen

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« Reply #1 on: (14:08:26/04-13-11) »
I usually only use those rules if you're not purchasing something that's legal through legal channels.  Usually, I figured anything with an availability of 8 or lower that's either legal or restricted a person with a fake ID or a legitimate SIN can purchase without having to roll unless it's being modified.  That cyberarm at availability 4 is completely legal. Just stop into your local chop shop and buy one.  For my tables, the SIN check is 1/2 the availability (round up) and there's a +2 for anything purchased that could in any way be used to harm or kill someone. 
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Chance359

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« Reply #2 on: (16:51:45/04-13-11) »
We ran into a similar problem with Missions.  It got to the point we'd just send one of the tables faces out to gear hunt, just because they had such a better dice pool. 

I would also like the see a revised version of previous editions avail codes. 

Bradd

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« Reply #3 on: (17:17:57/04-13-11) »
For simplicity, I'm going to assume that the numbers are actually rolled, using the "minus 1 die per interval" option -- because, simply put, sometimes an item just can't be found.

As an aside, I started out using that option and then quickly ditched it. An average character (dice pool 6) can only reach 7 hits on average using this method, and that's before accounting for glitches and critical glitches. That's barely enough to finish an Easy (6) test, and nowhere near enough to finish an Average (12) test. Surely an average character should usually finish an Average test?

With the decreasing dice option, you need about 6 dice to finish an Easy task, 8 dice to finish an Average task, 10 dice to finish a Hard task, and 12+ dice to finish an Extreme task. That's not too unreasonable at the high end, but it's way too hard at the low end. Also, note that a character with 3 dice cannot finish even an Easy task without rolling 100% hits or spending edge. Or to put it another way, if you're defaulting on a skill, it's practically impossible to finish even Easy extended tasks. That seems excessive to me.

Keep in mind that even the standard rules allow for the possibility of failure on extended tests; see p. 65, "Extended Tests and Glitches."

Damien Granz

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« Reply #4 on: (19:55:05/04-13-11) »
You should probably only be rolling if there's some good suspense to be had in wondering if a character can find something and how fast, otherwise you're wasting everyone's time rolling dice.

If it's non-restricted, non-forbidden, and under availability 12 and the character's not bleeding to death waiting for the item, then chances are just assign a markup % you think is fair and let them spend the nuyen, otherwise you're doing a lot of paperwork for something that is essentially a forgone conclusion.

Pretty much the similar rationale behind the 'Take 20' rule in D&D.

LonePaladin

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« Reply #5 on: (21:24:47/04-13-11) »
Didn't meant to imply that I always use the descending-dice-pool rule for getting things, it was just used for the examples.
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CanRay

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« Reply #6 on: (21:51:47/04-13-11) »
So, what's the availability of Lesbian Elf Stripper Ninjas?
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Damien Granz

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« Reply #7 on: (00:03:01/04-14-11) »
So, what's the availability of Lesbian Elf Stripper Ninjas?

Considering that's about what half the population of elves are, I think it'd be rather high.

Charybdis

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« Reply #8 on: (02:30:36/04-14-11) »
So, what's the availability of Lesbian Elf Stripper Ninjas?

Considering that's about what half the population of elves are, I think it'd be rather high.
Campaign dependent...

However they'd be bloody easy to find in the Body-puppet industry.
Examples below :)




Now, these are the only ones I could post from work. Other easily searchable links are definitely NSFW :P
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LonePaladin

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« Reply #9 on: (02:37:27/04-14-11) »
Okay, okay. Rather than just pule about how the shopping rules are hinky, how about I propose a variant?

Here's the idea: the specifics on the Extended Test to acquire an item, legally or not, depends primarily on the item's Availability. The base price of the item is not a factor in this, as Availability is supposed to represent how difficult the item is to find. The Availability is the threshold of the test, and also sets the interval:

AvailabilityInterval
01 minute
1-310 minutes
4-630 minutes
7-101 hour
11-141 day
15-201 week
21+1 month

These assume that an appropriate seller is located; even buying a box of regular ammo at Weapons World may take a couple minutes of browsing. Fixers, arms dealers, and other contacts who regularly sell items will typically have a selection of common items on-hand, but it may take them a little time to fish them out of storage.

Glitches on the Availability test simply cause a delay; if the character is attempting to buy an item legally, the ID they are using might fall under scrutiny. A critical glitch means that the item is unavailable at that location -- the character will have to find another seller. This could also result in additional complications, such as a Lone Star raid on a gun-running operation, or a double-cross by the seller.

An item's Legality will not generally affect acquiring an item through the black market. Fixers, drug-runners, and arms dealers don't care if an item's illegal. If the character is attempting to get an item through a contact that is within the contact's reach for personal use, but would be risky and/or illegal to distribute, then the request counts as a Favor. For Restricted items, it would count as a Low Risk (2) Favor; Forbidden items are considered Moderate Risk (4).

Wallace is looking for some wheels, and asks his Lone Star patrolman contact if he can get a cruiser that is being decomissioned. A Chrysler-Nissan Patrol-1 has an Availability of 12R, reduced to 10R because it's used. The patrolman can probably pull a few strings back at HQ to get one pulled off the lot when it's being replaced, but get it before all the specialized equipment can be removed. Doing so might raise a few eyebrows, though, so this counts as a low-risk favor.

There are ways to get an item faster; if the character is willing to increase the base price of the item, every 25% increase reduces the item's effective Availability by 1 (to a maximum reduction of 10). This extra spending does not grant additional dice to the Availability Test. The cost increase is calculated after accounting for the Street Cost modifiers (SR4A, p. 312).

In addition, the modifiers to an item's Street Cost will affect the Availability. These modifiers are in addition to the cost modifiers.

SituationAvailability
Counterfeit/knock-off1
Stolen1
Used2
Used in a crime under investigation1
Market Flooded3
Distribution channels monopolized+1
Law-enforcement crackdown+4
Market dry+2

In most cases, the Availability is not affected by the quantity being sought; if you can find one fragmentation grenade, you can probably find twenty.
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Kontact

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« Reply #10 on: (03:18:20/04-14-11) »
Arms dealers actually care a good deal whether they're dealing contraband or legal arms...

FastJack

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« Reply #11 on: (07:49:46/04-14-11) »
AvailabilityInterval
01 minute
1-310 minutes
4-630 minutes
7-101 hour
11-141 day
15-201 week
21+1 month
I don't know about this. I mean, an interval of 30 minutes? Is your fixer/contact Dominoes?

"Hey, I need a Colt America Pistol. I'm on the corner of 3rd and Main in a gun fight with Knight Errant. Do you guys deliver?"

Then again, I don't have any problems with the listed intervals in the SR4A, since it takes into account that getting the gear isn't just calling a contact, it's about tracking down who has it, who can get it, negotiating the price, setting up the meet, going to the meet, etc., etc. Intervals are the time for each test. If you have an availability of 22, it's going to take 6-7 dice rolls to get the 22 successes with an average DP, so on objects costing over 10,000, it'll be a few months.
« Last Edit: (07:52:10/04-14-11) by FastJack »

FastJack

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« Reply #12 on: (07:53:05/04-14-11) »
So, what's the availability of Lesbian Elf Stripper Ninjas?

Considering that's about what half the population of elves are, I think it'd be rather high.
Campaign dependent...

However they'd be bloody easy to find in the Body-puppet industry.
Examples below :)

Now, these are the only ones I could post from work. Other easily searchable links are definitely NSFW :P
I'm totally using that second picture for the Knight Errant recruitment posters. ;)

Redwulfe

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« Reply #13 on: (11:17:43/04-14-11) »
To cut down on dice rolling, especially on gear that is normally available to characters at creation, I usually let them roll once and then divide the total threshold they need by the hits they received on the initial test. Multiply this by the interval an you get how long it takes them to get it.

If it is Availability of 12 with a 1 day interval and they get 3 hits, it would take 4 days to get the item.

Another way to do it is allow them to by auto hits for the first test for gear they normally could get.

For consumables I add 2 to the availability of the item for every extra dose or box.

Anything that is F, above 12 Avail, or Rating higher than 6, requires legwork and role play to acquire. Regular rules apply and I degrade the pool. I do allow character to add extra dice for contacts they know it is the sum of all contacts connection ratings they have divided by 10 round down. Basically it is there connection rating for the roll. Usually this means they get it through there fixer as he adds dice due to contacts.

If they have three contacts at connection 2, 1 at connect 3, and two at connection 4, then they would get 2 extra dice as their personal connection rating is 1.7 or 2.

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LonePaladin

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« Reply #14 on: (12:17:33/04-14-11) »
I don't know about this. I mean, an interval of 30 minutes? Is your fixer/contact Dominoes?[/quote]
Just spitballin' here, really. All I did was take the table on Extended Test intervals and make up some number ranges for it -- editing was expected. Then again, items that aren't particularly hard to come by shouldn't take long to negotiate over: getting a Colt Manhunter might be as simple as hunting around a swap meet for an hour or so, or doing a Matrix search for a seller.

The rules seem to assume that all shadowrunners know where they can reach gray and black markets, and that they can find items like this without having to use (and pay) contacts for the privilege. Anything that is legal should be available somewhere, which brings up some unusual situations.

"I want to buy a taser."
[rolls dice] "Okay, it'll take you 24 hours to find a seller."
"They're legal. I just want to go to Weapons World and grab one off the shelf."

I still have an issue with the time required being based strictly on the price; if the Availability is supposed to represent how difficult it is to find the item, it shouldn't matter if it costs 10 or 10,000. It also leaves open the question of how buying something in quantity is figured -- whether you use the base figure, or the total price of the bundle. I've already pointed out ways in which that can get weird.

Continue with the suggestions.
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