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Disincentives for Squatter/Street lifestyles?

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Adder

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« on: (13:10:05/01-26-15) »
I have a couple players trying go the ultra-cheap (squatter/street) route when it comes to lifestyles. They don't really have any material possessions so the lack of physical security doesn't bother them.

I'm thinking about how to get them to upgrade, especially since they have enough money and the rest of the group is getting jealous. I'm running through ideas like negative dice modifiers due to malnutrition and anxious sleep, or possibly subjecting them to physical attack (don't want to push this one too far).

Anyone have ideas or have run into this problem before?

Csjarrat

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« Reply #1 on: (13:33:37/01-26-15) »
run faster has some rules about fatigue damage if your necesseties/comforts are lower than a given threshold and its very easy to penalise matrix heavy chars with -ve mods for noise to represent poor connection at their residences.
Lack of decent hygeine facilities could impose a situational -1 modifier to social test for wearing mucky clothing or being a bit "ripe" smelling, or you could have them be mugged on their way to/from home or have their vehicles vandalised/broken into/stolen to represent the dangerousness of the locale the squat is in. Have them draw some heat from the local gang for building protection money perhaps? plenty of leeway for developing story through that too if they decide to "opt-out" of their payment plan lol.
Noisy neighbours could prevent decent sleep, impacting on healing times.
there are plenty of options open to help "encourage" them to move on up to a better lifestyle :-)
« Last Edit: (13:36:59/01-26-15) by Csjarrat »
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All4BigGuns

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« Reply #2 on: (13:47:28/01-26-15) »
Or you can do the right thing and not try to force your players into doing something that they obviously do not wish to do. It is not your place nor is it the place of anyone other than a particular character's player to determine what is done with said character.
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Kincaid

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« Reply #3 on: (13:49:54/01-26-15) »
Have a really good-looking girl or guy invite themselves over.
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Csjarrat

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« Reply #4 on: (14:01:20/01-26-15) »
Or you can do the right thing and not try to force your players into doing something that they obviously do not wish to do. It is not your place nor is it the place of anyone other than a particular character's player to determine what is done with said character.
I think its more about encouraging the players to move away from what is seen at their table as a money saving exploit. Run faster gives leeway to do so under RAW by using fatigue tests based on comforts + necessity ratings so that's where I'd start.
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Emperors Grace

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« Reply #5 on: (15:17:42/01-26-15) »
I'd think the smell would also keep better Mr. J's away, that could lead to peer pressure to literally clean up their act (or at least an invite to crash with another player)..

Bagels

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« Reply #6 on: (16:09:42/01-26-15) »
Or you can do the right thing and not try to force your players into doing something that they obviously do not wish to do. It is not your place nor is it the place of anyone other than a particular character's player to determine what is done with said character.

I agree that a GM shouldn't force players into something they don't wish to do. On the other hand, all decisions have consequences. As long as the GM is applying reasonable consequences to the player's choices, it's all fair game.

Another idea: There's nothing set in stone about where you can squat (no lease, title, etc). Have someone move into the player's squat and force the player to find a new place.

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #7 on: (19:48:53/01-26-15) »
Or you can do the right thing and not try to force your players into doing something that they obviously do not wish to do. It is not your place nor is it the place of anyone other than a particular character's player to determine what is done with said character.
Force?  No.  A player makes a choice, decides to do something with said character.  The GM, in the person of the entire rest of the world, shows them the consequences of that choice, both the good (hey, you saved money!!) and bad (you got nasty people knocking on your car window at 3AM, leering at you; the cops harrass you; gangers use your vehicle for target practice; etc.).  The GM is supposed to run the world, and that means enforcing the consequences of bad, or just dumb, decisions.  Adder believes - rightly, in my view - that there are negative consequences to living a street/squatter lifestyle, like getting harrassed, or just murdered in their sleep.  He may have expressed it differently, but he clearly wants ideas on how to ensure that the characters are aware of those negative repercussions - consequences which will, no doubt, enamour them to higher lifestyle choices.
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Orffen

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« Reply #8 on: (20:41:38/01-26-15) »
Like Csjarrat mentioned, Street and Squatter lifestyles are no guarantees. Maybe the local gang decides whatever arrangement you have with them isn't cutting it anymore, or another squatter moves in. Likewise maluses as a result of fatigue and lack of facilities makes sense in-universe. I haven't seen the Run Faster rules for these but dropping the Physical/Mental/Social limits if you're playing SR5 seems to me more elegant than just dice pool modifiers.

No doubt the equipment dealers would take offense at the clothes and smell too and could well refuse to deal with them until they wash :)

Reaver

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« Reply #9 on: (21:26:02/01-26-15) »
Ahh Lifestyles... How little thought some people put into just what this means.

Your lifestyle does a lot for you that's hidden behind the scenes that people don't realize. This isn't just "where you hang your" hat, it reflects on in society, provides small bonuses and has repercussions for those choices.

Lets look at what each one is telling you in that block of text...

Quote
Luxury
This lifestyle offers the best of everything: ritzy digs,
lots of high-tech toys, the best food and drink, you
name it. The character has a household staff, maid service,
or sophisticated drones to do the chores. She gets
by in her massive mansion, snazzy condo, or the penthouse
suite in a top hotel. Home security is top-of-theline,
with well-trained guards, astral security, and quick
response times. Her home entertainment system is
better than that in public theaters and accessible from
anywhere in the home. She’s on the VIP list at several
exclusive restaurants and clubs, both real and virtual.
This is the life for the high-stakes winners in the world
of Shadowrun: high-level executives, government big
shots, Yakuza bigwigs, and the few shadowrunners
who pull off the big scores (and live to spend their pay).
Cost: 100,000 nuyen a month and up!


What's that saying to you? I am hearing provided mode of transport. Although is would be an asset, it's also not the car the Runner uses on runs. This is a registered car to the property that is used for daily day to day activities that don't involve criminal acts. I am hearing the best clothing. While this doesn't mean they get a Berwick great coat to wear on runs for free, it does mean that this character can assume to have several outfits of various quality (medium, high, tres-chic) ready at a moments notice, in all the latest fashions (at the generic level). Eating out for this character is just a fact of life, doesn't matter how often or where, their lifestyle covers it. (and their soycafe too!). Getting into a club, restaurant, or party is as simple as a name drop (I'm Mr.Smith. I AM the list) And Security? well they are on beck and call to deal with problems, including the police. (So no, "Bash 'n' shoot for them! it's going be warrants, and procedure all the way as they got someone looking over their shoulder the whole time!)

On a side note, for the players that actually get this lifestyle (and manage to pay it!), I include small other things that could be reasonably be considered included... like small bribes ($100 or less), or gifts for contacts (again under that $100 mark)

Quote
High
A High lifestyle offers a roomy house or condo, good
food, and the technology that makes life easy. The
character may not have the same perks as the really big
boys, but neither does she have as many people gunning
for her. Her home is in a secure zone or protected
by good, solid bribes to the local police contractor and
gang boss. She has a housekeeping service or enough
tech to take care of most chores. This is the life for the
well-to-do on either side of the law: mid-level managers,
senior Mob bosses, and the like.
Cost: 10,000 nuyen a month

Again, what is this telling you? I am seeing transit (in this case, more moderate. And no, they can't use it for runs for free.... or a Taxi account or transit pass.) They enjoy eating out (even if they have to make a reservation at the REALLY nice places in advance), so any food the characters get "on the go" is covered. Clothing again for the most part is covered, even if the number of Tres-chic outifts is limited to a half dozen in total. Again Their place is secure (even if that security comes from criminals) so unwelcome guests are not going to be too frequent. Basically, moving around the city for this lifestyle is about as easy as it gets, as every thing about them says "success".

Quote
Middle
The Middle lifestyle offers a nice house or condo with
lots of comforts. Characters with this lifestyle sometimes
eat nutrisoy as well as higher-priced natural food,
but at least the autocook has a full suite of flavor faucets.
This is the lifestyle of ordinary wage-earners or
reasonably successful criminals.
Cost: 5,000 nuyen a month

Average. everything about this says average... and Average is good. This is probably the lifestyle you (as in you the reader) have if you are a working professional. while you may not have everything you want, you have everything you need. Getting around the town is probably a transit pass (maybe a economy car...). Eating out at fancy restaurants isn't going to break the bank if you go out once or twice a month, but you don't think twice about picking up a soycaf or sandwich on the go on those busy days. (small, cheap meals are free for this character). Outfits are more limited to the "Joe Average" lines of fashion, so while you won't be wowing anyone  in your lifestyle provided attire, you are clean and presentable. you may even have a high quality outfit lurking in the back, but sadly it's not current.

Quote
Low
With this lifestyle, the character has an apartment,
and nobody is likely to bother her much as long as
she keeps the door bolted. She can count on regular
meals; the nutrisoy may not taste great, but at least it’s
hot. Power and water are available during assigned rationing
periods. Security depends on how regular the
payments to the local street gang are. Factory workers,
petty crooks, and other folks stuck in a rut, just starting
out, or down on their luck tend to have Low lifestyles.
Cost: 2,000 nuyen a month

Remember when you first moved out of your parents place? (if you are that old) Well THIS is probably just like your first apartment  ;) As long as you keep your door bolted at all times, you might get broken into once a year. And you definitely have a "Night-pistol" close to the bed (if not under your pillow) in case that break in happens while you're sleeping. A transit pass would be nice, but probably out of reach. But hey, at least your shoes are good! if you're lucky, you have one suit in your closet that might be taken for a "power suit" as long as they don't look too closely. But sadly, most of your clothing comes from Value Village and other second hand stores, with some better items picked up at the Kong-Mart. Food? Well a cup of soycaf from Sarsmucks once a week isn't going to bankrupt you, it's not a daily thing. But it's not all bad... every Tuesday you get a piece of real (tm) fruit!

Quote
Squatter
Life stinks for the squatter, and most of the time so does
the character. She eats low-grade nutrisoy and yeast,
adding flavors with an eyedropper. Her home is a squatted
building, perhaps fixed up a bit, possibly even converted
into barracks or divided into closet-sized rooms
and shared with other squatters. Or maybe she just rents
a coffin-sized sleep tank by the night. The only thing
worse than the Squatter lifestyle is living on the streets.
Cost: 500 nuyen a month

Hmmm.... Well you don't own anything nice. And if you did, The Pawn shop owns it now if you left it behind! your means of conveyance is.. your feet. (if only you could afford good shoes.. and not the used ones from value village). But really why would you want to go anywhere? Everyone hassles you and tells you, you stink (because, well, you do!) Cops are always hassling you and asking what you are doing here (or there, or over there) whenever you leave your barrens level housing unit, abandoned factory, or other unused building. MMMMmmmm!!! Rat for dinner! Again! And that's all you get, and if you are (un)lucky, the rat eats you! What you are wearing, and what you have in a bag is all the clothing you got.. and none of it is going to get you very far in polite company.

If this is your lifestyle by choice, then expect to get nickled and dimed for EVERYTHING! Got a meeting downtown? $5 for the bus. each way. Want a coffee today? $3.50. A Sandwich? $10. an Actual MEAL? $30. Businesses in B zones don't serve bums. (go away!). And you are not allowed in an A zone. (And if the nice police man has to tell you again, you will lose more then your teeth next time!) Did I meantion you stink? Go shower. That'll be $10 for the water and soap and towel rental. But at least you don't have to worry about starving to death (that $500 buys enough soy to keep you going, and enough yeast to keep you feeling full)

Quote
Streets
The character lives on the streets—or in the sewers,
steam tunnels, condemned buildings, or whatever temporary
flop she can get. Food is wherever the character
finds it, bathing is a thing of the past, and the character’s
only security is what she creates for herself. This
lifestyle is the bottom of the ladder, inhabited by downand-
outers of all stripes.
Cost: Hey pal, life ain’t all bad. It’s free

If you think you were being nickeled and dimed at Squatter.... yea.. everyday you HAVE to by food... to steal it. Or kill and eat it. what you got on IS the best of your wardrobe. And that is all you get (for free). transportation is your feet again. And chances are, getting attacked by someone or something in the night is a weekly ritual.

*****

This is going to sound incredibly "wrong", but it is also very, very much true:  The way you look is the way people respond to you. 

Now every time I say that, I get flooded with negative responses, yet, everyday what I see proves this true on a almost universal level. If you don't believe me, go people watching for a time. Actually go out and find a street person and observe them for a day. 95% of the people that see that Hobo will pretend they didn't. If we calls out to them, they ignore him or even a terse one-word response (sometimes 2 words. The first starts with "F" and the last one end in "F"..). A good many will actually adjust the angle of their walk to increase the distance between them and the Hobo. And some will actually cross the street to avoid them entirely!

What about when you see some guy standing on the corner waiting to cross the street. Only his entire face is covered in tattoos, he's got on a black leather jacket covered in metal studs. His hair is Mo-hawk spiked and different colors. His jeans are more holes then Denim and he's got on a pair of shit kickers. Do you feel comfortable standing next to him? Or do you stand a couple of feet behind or to the sides?

You're at your place  of work and someone comes walking through the front door. Their hair is a mess and hasn't been washed for several days. You can see the collection of a few days worth of grime on his face and clothing, indicating that neither have been washed in several days. Are you happy to see this stranger? Or does he make you uncomfortable? Sure you might not say anything, but what are you thinking?

Ever gotten all dressed up during the day and gone downtown? Seen how differently people treat you?

Now, are you applying that all of this in game? Meaning, are you hitting up that street lifestyle person for food costs PER day, EVERY day? Is the squatter and street lifestyles packing everything (and I mean everything! every bullet every bandage, every sock!) around with them? If not, chances are those items are GONE. Are you giving your higher lifestyle guys the "free-rides" they desire (based on the lifestyle descriptions). Are you having NPCs exclude the squatter and street lifestyle people from places (like bars, clubs, restaurants). How ARE they getting around the city? Can't really walk from one end of Seattle to the other in a reasonable amount of time.

Are Fixers or Johnsons undercutting them in the initial bargaining when the squatter and street lifestyle are present? Cause after all, when you live on the streets (and look like you do!) the Johnson doesn't feel obligated to offer street scum top wage. ("Dude, you have worn that shirt for at least 3 weeks. And I can smell you from the doorway. Normally I pay $10,000 for this type of work. But I will throw you a bone, cause you need it. Do the job and I'll pay you $3500. Yea sure you're a hot shot professional looking like that. Yea uh-huh "by choice" you live in the streets. Sure, I get it. Like I said $3500 is all I'll pay you. Take it, or go back to your street. Maybe you can get work on your knees... or on your hands and knees.")
« Last Edit: (21:33:36/01-26-15) by Reaver »
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Glyph

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« Reply #10 on: (21:40:30/01-26-15) »
Another idea: There's nothing set in stone about where you can squat (no lease, title, etc). Have someone move into the player's squat and force the player to find a new place.

I agree that a street/squatter lifestyle should come with its own unique flavor - having to use public pay-showers for hygiene, lacking privacy in other areas, probably having a bit of an "off" smell despite their best efforts, facing possible harassment from gangers, Knight Errant officers looking for bribes, ghouls, or other down-and-outers.

But an otherwise-successful runner who still lives on the streets would kind of be the 900 pound gorilla of squatters.  If the whole point is that someone raking in big money but living in a squalid dump is unrealistic, then it undermines it a bit if you have someone even more badass doing the same thing.


I think the GM needs to look at why the players are doing this.  Is it because they like the whole idea of being hobos with shotguns?  Roll with it, although you should still play up the above, not to punish them but to add a bit of flavor.  It is because they don't make quite enough for their character's goals and a good lifestyle?  Maybe give payouts that are a bit higher.  Is it because they think of their characters as cardboard cutouts, and care more about having plenty of APDS ammo than whether their character eats steak or stewed devil rat?  Maybe give payouts that are a bit lower (since they are spending so little on lifestyle), while you brainstorm some ways to make the NPCs and setting come alive for the players (it may or may not be doable - it depends on whether they are just new to the game, or locked into powergamer mode).

Adder

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« Reply #11 on: (21:44:32/01-26-15) »
A lot of people got my intention perfectly, which was the "demonstrate negative consequences" part. I never intended to force any of my players to do anything- I just want to make clear that every choice has a consequence.

There are multiple driving factors behind this. One is the interpersonal jealousy. I have one player who's a rigger strapped for money, trying to buy new drones while maintaining her medium lifestyle. She sees another player scrounging around in a squatter lifestyle and flaunting it. She looks down on them for both in character (which is fine) and out of character (not so good) reasons. "What's the point of me bothering with this nicer, more expensive lifestyle if there isn't any actual impact?"

The second reason is for roleplaying. I try to emphasize the differences between the lifestyles. For example, quality of food, dress, feeling of safety when you go home. But sometimes it's hard to get that message across. I've had them meet with a Johnson and get offered real meat (!!!) which they're like, uh, okay, whatever, let's get down to business. Telling them they get real fruits and veggies if they upgrade for another 4000¥/month is a hard sell. Some players even find it entertaining when I tell them how bad they smell, the shabbiness of their clothes and how others look down on them ("what do I care? I could kick their ass anyway"). Sometimes you have to sting them a little harder to appreciate the difference.

The third is for economy control. I'm intentionally trying to keep them in the "every nuyen counts" phase as long as I can. I give them larger than average payouts but disguise the final net payout through a series of expected bribes, contact payments and specialized gear purchases such that the runs always look very appealing on digital paper but end up moving their bank accounts forward only a bit. A large part of this is because I'm trying to emphasize roleplay and decision-making at a "street" level. e.g. "your neighbor's heat is broken and it's a bitterly cold night. It'll cost 300¥ for emergency repairs. Do you help them out?" That kind of decision feels trivially easy when (if) you're making a lot more, but when you're already scrounging to purchase a new rifle and still make rent, something like that bites into your budget hard. It helps cement in their minds who their characters are, especially their generosity/altruism. I believe those little decisions help shape their personalities in a game where you have no defined alignment, and will influence future, bigger, morally-gray actions.

ScytheKnight

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« Reply #12 on: (21:44:32/01-26-15) »
An interesting post Reaver... and definitely got me thinking about lifestyles as my Chicago based team goes to Seattle (Sprawl Wilds) and maaaybe London (London Falling) while the fallout from their last botched job settles down and they can return (Missions Series 5)... would you mind if I copied this over? Sounds a great way to fill out the lifestyle system without having to dive into the Advanced Lifestyles (which kinda go over my head I'll admit)
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Reaver

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« Reply #13 on: (21:48:41/01-26-15) »
Feel free.

As usual, anything I post that doesn't come with a direct quote is my opinion, and I have no problems with people using anything I post to help their games. (hence why I post it  ;D )
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The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #14 on: (22:00:34/01-26-15) »
It's always been that way.  Reaver's post is a good way of reminding people what they get - or don't get - though.
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