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Disincentives for Squatter/Street lifestyles?

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Glyph

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« Reply #15 on: (22:50:25/01-26-15) »
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.

You might want to look at this and possibly fine-tune it.  It sounds (albeit from a limited picture, so I might be drawing the wrong conclusions) like they are dissatisfied with barely eking by, and that might be part of the problem with the street/squatter lifestyles.  The problem is, if they are antagonistic about in-game rewards that they see as too low, they will be prone to see the problems with living on the streets as GM railroading, rather than realistic consequences or roleplaying hooks.  It depends on how they react to it all.  If you do something like the aforementioned neighbor's broken heater example, and they snort and roll their eyes, then it might be a sign the low money payouts are hindering, rather than enabling, the roleplaying.

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« Reply #16 on: (23:21:15/01-26-15) »
There's a reason why Wealth is taken so often in games that have it as an ability, like the HERO system - because it's nice to a) not have to worry, and b) be able to spend a lot without any care.  "What brings you to New York?"  "A cello, actually.  I heard a rumor that the Piatti-Prieto Strad was coming to auction at Christie's, and I wanted to decide whether I should bid or not."
« Last Edit: (23:23:50/01-26-15) by The Wyrm Ouroboros »
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« Reply #17 on: (23:27:34/01-26-15) »
I'm having a hard time with this one.  I understand why lifestyles matter, and there's a reason why so much space is devoted to them in the core book, but I'm not terribly comfortable with the way the OP is playing it either.  So, for the chars who are still living street/squatter, what are they spending their ¥ on? 

I'll also say, riggers are a very resource-intensive archetype to play, but if your players are having a hard time moving up the ladder at all after a handful of successful runs, there's a problem with resources beyond 2 players playing it on the cheap. 
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« Reply #18 on: (23:35:45/01-26-15) »
You might want to look at this and possibly fine-tune it.  It sounds (albeit from a limited picture, so I might be drawing the wrong conclusions) like they are dissatisfied with barely eking by, and that might be part of the problem with the street/squatter lifestyles.

It's definitely something I'm keeping an eye on, and they have expressed pleasure with the relative scarcity of money (I mean it's really not THAT bad, I expect that it still net averages out to a typical group) and how it affects their roleplaying choices.

There's just this one player in particular is a technomancer so he's really flush with cash (I'm not sure he even owns a pistol, and has cheap armor to boot) and is still living as a squatter. He's got ~25,000¥ and still lives like a bum. The other party members have between 2,000-10,000¥ at any time, and it's hard not to throw a glance in his direction and think, "hey if there's no reason not to, why don't I downgrade my lifestyle?". So it's not like this guy is trying to save up for some big purchase and resents the lack of money. He literally complains about not having anything to do with his money. He's just min/maxing and picking the lowest lifestyle option since there haven't been any drawbacks that actually bother him. I want to nip that sentiment in the bud before it spreads and everyone thinks about doing the same- especially since everybody else actually needs that money.

(edit) I should clarify that I am by no means artificially starving the players of cash, merely diligently monitoring intake to prevent rapid depreciation of value for nuyen. If you follow the recommended baselines and modifiers given by the book, they're probably right on track if not a little ahead due to secondary bonuses earned due to excellent play. However, lifestyle (and how often your runs happen in in-character time) can change how that feels. If two characters got paid 10,000¥ this month but one has a 5k medium lifestyle and one has a 500 squatter lifestyle, that dramatically changes their net profit.

I expect nuyen to naturally inflate over time- after all, if you're a great runner with a fantastic rep, why would you bother on small payout jobs- but I want to make sure that at present they appreciate how valuable that nuyen is, especially to the common folk. Nuyen does not exactly convert at a 1:1 ratio with US$ so it's tricky solidifying its meaning in their minds.

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So, for the chars who are still living street/squatter, what are they spending their ¥ on? 
Literally, nothing. They actually approached me and asked for suggestions, and we've come up with ways for them to spend it to develop their contact networks.

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« Reply #19 on: (23:39:40/01-26-15) »
Copying and saving your answer, Reaver.  It seems like a good summary and something GMs should look over and keep in mind.  In my play group, the runners are both street rats (they paid Squatter to live out of their cars) but their characters reflected this, and they are still (about half a year into running) dealing with fixers and Johnsons too easily dictating their pay and them getting regularly tricked with the details of their jobs.  And unless they both shape up (and one of them learns some social skills) that's the way it's gonna stay.

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All4BigGuns

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« Reply #20 on: (23:49:16/01-26-15) »
You think that the guy who happens to have a Squatter lifestyle having 25,000 nuyen is "flush with cash"? Please. That is chump change. Until you seriously increase payouts, expect lifestyles to stay or become lower.
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ScytheKnight

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« Reply #21 on: (23:52:06/01-26-15) »
You think that the guy who happens to have a Squatter lifestyle having 25,000 nuyen is "flush with cash"? Please. That is chump change. Until you seriously increase payouts, expect lifestyles to stay or become lower.

Taken in isolation yes, but remember that this is 10x-20x the amount of cash the other players in the group have.

Kinda surprised that even a technomancer has 'nothing to spend money on'... high end armor, a personal vehicle, hell even a Cyberdeck and Agent program to handle Matrix Security for the group.
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« Reply #22 on: (23:57:19/01-26-15) »
You think that the guy who happens to have a Squatter lifestyle having 25,000 nuyen is "flush with cash"? Please. That is chump change. Until you seriously increase payouts, expect lifestyles to stay or become lower.

Taken in isolation yes, but remember that this is 10x-20x the amount of cash the other players in the group have.

Kinda surprised that even a technomancer has 'nothing to spend money on'... high end armor, a personal vehicle, hell even a Cyberdeck and Agent program to handle Matrix Security for the group.

True. The technomancer is still the chosen boogeyman of the popular media in the Shadowrun universe around 5th edition. There are corps that'll pay for him, living or dead. If he doesn't even have an apartment? Yeah. Next time he sleeps, he should get a rude awakening. Other bums or ghouls find out he's got that much spare jing? He's a target on that merit, too. 25K is a lot to the guy living out of a cardboard box.

If nothing else gets through your players' heads, the inherent danger of not having a safe (relatively) place to sleep should do that quite nicely. Best part is that isn't even unrealistic.

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #23 on: (00:04:30/01-27-15) »
I expect nuyen to naturally inflate over time- after all, if you're a great runner with a fantastic rep, why would you bother on small payout jobs- but I want to make sure that at present they appreciate how valuable that nuyen is, especially to the common folk. Nuyen does not exactly convert at a 1:1 ratio with US$ so it's tricky solidifying its meaning in their minds.

Actually, you SHOULD think of nuyen-to-current-USD as being a 1:1 propositon.  In-game it's a different story, of course, but SR has in general tried to keep steady on that 1:1 ratio.

Given the specifics of what you're talking about, though, I would have to say that you should definitely bring out the issues and impacts of 'having a better lifestyle' to the players.  Give them Reaver's spiel, then every session ask them questions, the answers upon which their lifestyle impacts.  Ask them what they've been eating for the last few days, and if they tell you something that's 'out of zone' for their lifestyle, charge them for it.  It may only be 5-20¥ per diem, but that can add up - and if they DO say 'I'm eating found-food from behind the Stuffer Shack', don't even ask them - make a Body roll for them, for something minor but unpleasant.  "Ah, I see.  *roll*  Blake, hate to tell you this, but the E-Mancer has the runs.  Sorry - perils of eating out of dumpsters."

Ask them how they've been getting around town.  Ask them what they've been doing for entertainment - and if the E-Mancer has been hacking VR entertainment, roll his Edge for a 'luck' test, to see whether or not HE'S been vandalized.  And again, each time they give answers out of zone for their lifestyle, hit 'em with a surcharge.  Very soon they'll realize that if they don't want to end up with 'DUMBASS' painted in fingernail polish on their foreheads by ganger chicks, or going around on the bus, or showering at a truck stop (if the truck stop even allows them!!), they'll need to pony up for at least a Low lifestyle.  Especially since a lot of those 'added surcharge' bits can really add up over a month.

You think that the guy who happens to have a Squatter lifestyle having 25,000 nuyen is "flush with cash"? Please. That is chump change. Until you seriously increase payouts, expect lifestyles to stay or become lower.

It depends on what your lifestyle preferences are to start with, A4BG, and what the run preferences - including the player preferences - are.  Clearly his people are GOOD with the amounts they're having, but as he said - the people with decent lifestyles are not seeing the value of having that lifestyle, as compared to saving 4k or whatever on a cheaper one.

So the discussion isn't about 'should I give my players more money'.  It's 'how do I bring the effects of a chosen lifestyle to life for my players'.  If you have a suggestion, we'd be glad to hear it - but saying that the party needs to get more money when they're all clearly okay with what they've got so far really isn't what anyone here is looking for.

Addendum: remember that 'squatter' is shorthand for 'I found a dry place where I can maybe put a lock on the door'.  It doesn't mean 'nobody else is gonna try taking it over.'  For my money, you should simply have him harrassed.  If it's in a lower-end zone (C or worse), make it by a local gang, ghouls, or Bubba the Troll fresh out of prison who used to squat there and wants his place back.  If it's a better area, then maybe he gets harrassed - read 'kicked out' - by the owner of the property, by Knight Errant doing a routine check, or even just by the neighbors.
« Last Edit: (00:07:51/01-27-15) by The Wyrm Ouroboros »
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« Reply #24 on: (00:17:25/01-27-15) »
I think the advanced lifestyle rules from Run & Gun help to incentivize people to pick higher lifestyles, while de-incentivizing the lower lifestyles.  With that said, consider what neighborhood and security the runners have.  If they're in a Z-zone, they're going to get harassed, jumped, mugged, their place will get broken into, etc.  If they have phenomenal security, they will at least find bodies and get alerts when something bad happens.  Eventually, the poor and destitute around them will gang up and try to take their stuff by force.  If nothing else, this encourages them to move to a new neighborhood, stay mobile, and/or keep a close eye on their things.
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Reaver

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« Reply #25 on: (01:39:41/01-27-15) »
will say one thing though Adder;

Please be careful about how you go about doing things. From what you have posted, it sounds like you got a good group of players and things are running (for the most part) smoothly. And I think you are correct in that the issue is mostly setting as opposed to substance. This is a common problem for many players. And I blame that a little one Shadowrun's 25+ year living history. things get glossed over as time goes by and things don't have as much impact.  Also, player's persona lifestyles (Hey! there's that word again!) play into this. The PnP game crowd generally comes from the "better off" tiers of the social strata, so it's hard to imagine poverty. And I mean Real poverty.

Some of us that have travelled have seen this and can convey that a bit better. I have had the unfortunate luck of working a broad and being in the "gleaming towers behind the pearly gates" while everyone else wallows in the literal muck. (And, if you have a soul, its heart wrenching) What a lot of people don't realize is that places like Africa are hot beds of industrial work. It just doesn't go to Africans (by jobsite %). They pull in people like me, with a certain skill set to build, maintain, and work in this sites due to the lack of education in most of Africa. (I am happy to say, that despite some people's effort's, that education is getting through). But you should see the look of absolute vile and hatred we get from the locals (and with good reason. We earn in an hour, what they make in a year in some cases). And along with that comes the despair of deep poverty... child prostitution, sexual slavery for food, murder, and a host of other ills.

Now, take that and apply that to Seattle. Because in reality, THAT is the Seattle of Shadowrun. The line between the rich and the poor is so wide, and the walls so high, each side can not see each other. Read that "Low Lifestyle" again. Water and Power within allotted ration time. You are paying taxes, working 50 hours a week. All your bills are paid up, and YOU are on a ration for water and power? you go look out the window of your 25 floor 350 sq foot apartment at the lights 6 blocks over. The lights that are on 24 hours a day. all that neon and LED. All those holographic displays showing the latest fashions or gizmos. THEY have fountains of water shooting 20 feet in the air every damn 2 minutes! And YOU are on a ration. With all your bills paid up. Sucks to be poor.

Now take your average Squatter. if they are lucky, they can find a place with other squatters, maybe someplace mostly dry. Hopefully it's the number of people there that will keep the real things that go bump in the night away. And there are really REAL things that go bump in the night! Hopefully it's only a stray dog and not a pack. Hopefully it's not a Devil Rat, because if the rat doesn't get you, the diseases it has will. Hopefully it's not ghoul, and a raving mad on at that, those ones try to eat you while your still kicking and screaming... Yea hopefully the numbers will keep the monsters away. But what about the monsters in the camp? We your meal has been dirt mixed with soy for the last 10 days, sickly John in the corner starts looking less like John, and more like steak... And it's not like he was going to live much longer anyways. And when winter rolls around, and the snow starts to collect, and you can feel the frost bite on the edge of setting in taking hold of your finger tips and toes... suddenly Ted's used Jacket isn't Ted's Jacket. It's a tool of survival that you need. Or you Die. Food out of a trash bin would be great, if your neighbours actually threw out anything edible. But knowing them, if they got something in a plastic wrapper, they licked the wrapper clean, several times. Of course, 10 blocks over where all the lights and real people are, restaurants are throwing plates of food away! Too bad there is a 10 meter high cement wall topped with mono-wire and patrolled by drones to keep  you out between you and that trash can. All the roads have check points into that gleaming "castle" of full trashcans. Any car can pass, but a person on foot has to go into the checkpoint and show ID (you HAVE a SIN, right??) and the reason for going in. Too bad "Dumpster diving" is against the zone's policies. And the last time you snuck in and got caught, it cost you 3 broken ribs and a black eye. That rattle in chests stuck around for months too...

And then there is Those IN that gleaming city.  Working your ass off for a boss in a high stress job. You have to schedule "appointments" with your wife for sex, between the 60 hours paid work, the 20 hours from your home and the 4 to 5 hours sleep you get a night, your a wreck. Every penny you've earned has gone to moving you from that crappy condo you started out in, to the next less crappy condo. Now, after years of work, you own a house! Well, you own a mortgage on a house! And a car even if your knees are next your ears, it's a car! And it's all yours, as long as you make the  payments. Oh those payments! Just when you thought you were ahead, every time you bought a new house, it took more time at the office. The circle that never ends.... You need a job to buy shit, Once you have shit you need a better job to afford that shit, you get a better job to afford shit, then you buy more shit... and thus the circle you are running in. So when that one day off a week rolls around and you get to unwind, you actually "go out". And there it is All the bright lights of the city, your reward for all your hard work. And just beyond that is the wall. The wall that keeps those that want to hurt you just because you work for a living. You used to go to Tourist Town with your college mates to "slum it up" when you were younger, but one night you got a good look into the faces of the people that actually live down there... They were full of barely contained rage. Rage at being treated like animals because of circumstance, rage at being taxes and denied for those that actually had SINs, or just plain old denied if they didn't. You thought about trying to explain that it isn't your fault, it's.. jus the way things are. But you can see that they don't care, to them, you personify everything they can't have. Your worry is if the boss will like your report. Their worry is if they will live through the night. You live in the same city as these people, but your are worlds apart. So you are glad that wall is there. Leave the homeless and the SINless on the other side of the wall, they are dangerous, deranged, "They must like to live that way" you tell yourself. And you keep telling it to yourself until you believe it.


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Remember, a lot of the social safety nets we think of today are just not there in Shadowrun. Vitas epidemics have slaughtered a quarter of the world population and destroyed the economy in the 201x to 202x's. Then, just when things got stabilized and moving again, Along came the CRASH of 2029(?). And along with that crash of the computers, so did the economy. And so it was again in 2064. If you are looking for a good case study in what a single recession can do to a country, Check out Greece 2002 compared to Greece 2013. Governments are strapped with debt, Corporations only spend where there is an investment and return (so, definitely NOT on welfare programs for non-workers.) The Private Unions are Broken (teamsters, construction, etc) Government Unions are bankrupt either through a series of strikes to get concessions from governments that just couldn't pay, or from attrition of the workforce as governments unload Unionized Public Sector jobs to the private sector.

This means that means that more of the strain for government tax dollars also often falls on the public sector middle class and the private sector lower class. As, generally speaking those of middle class or higher that work for a AA+ rated corp often get Extra-territoriality housing and taxing. (thus removing them from the government's burden, but also taking away from their tax revenue). And, as that strain gets to heavy, and services are cut, those that are marginalized, fall off the tax system, cease contributing to government coffers and putting more strain on the social safety net. Eventually it breaks and services get cut...... And, you get the picture.


Trying to convey THIS breach and interactions that do exist between the "haves" and "have nots" away from our 21th century understanding of social welfare and consciousness, is what your job as a GM is. And if you are able to convey both sides through your NPCs are your PCs interactions with them, you will only help your cause of enriching your players in the SR lore and setting but also show then the real value of the Money they are making and just what other would be willing to do for even some of it (And what they are willing to do, can be and often is, much, much worse then you could possibly imagine) 


 
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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« Reply #26 on: (01:54:56/01-27-15) »
And that, my friends, is what you really should copy-and-paste.
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« Reply #27 on: (02:08:42/01-27-15) »
Again I really gotta thank you for that, Reaver.  This kind of knowledge is gonna go a long way in dramatic roleplaying and better representation of the hardships of the poor in Shadowrun.  Which is a big deal considering how common it is for runners to come from those parts (aside from real world moral reasons to not misrepresent any group).

And believe me, Wyrm, I'm saving that too.  *nods*
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« Reply #28 on: (02:27:21/01-27-15) »
Totally agree, reaver. I have been in some places like that myself, even been the target of discrimination because I was not the right nationality. I put some of that experience in my game, but I always try to remember that it is just a game that gets played to have fun.
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« Reply #29 on: (03:00:40/01-27-15) »
Great insight, Reaver.  *kudos*
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