New Shadowrun GM questions

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« on: (00:38:24/05-28-17) »
So, the 5th edition book is a beast! I've read through a lot of it and I still have a couple questions I'm hoping the community can help me out with.

  • Contact Upgrading
    • I know, after character creation, it's strictly based on RP. But, how do I determine Loyalty and Connection based on that? Example: My players recently had a run in with a do gooder adept who was on a mission that interfered with their own. They reasoned with her and left amicably. The Face even convinced her to keep them in mind if she has any other jobs come up that she might want some help with. Would I base her Loyalty on that interaction? I played her like she has a name in the runner community (as a do gooder), how would that affect her Connection? Using the table on SR 387 would I just assign what I feel was appropriate and let the character(s) take her as a contact? Who would get her (just the Face or the rest of the team)?
    • Is there a Karma cost to upgrade existing Contacts. Is the increase a hand-wavey GM fiat thing or is there a structure to it. With Fences you use Loyalty to determine how much you get for an item, arbitrarily increasing it by a certain number can have a benefit to the players.

  • Using Karma/Nuyen exchange as in Missions FAQ
    • One of my players discovered a rule that allows them to exchange up to 5 Karma for 10k at a rate of 1 Karma per week. Alternatively they can exchange 2,000 for 1 Karma (at a rate of 1 per week). Being new to running Shadowrun (and a but intimidated by the rules), I'm not sure if this would this cause too much of a balance issue allowing characters to, effectively, pay to level. I understand that performing that action is all they can do that week (i.e. that means no training during that time) but I do worry about game balance.
« Last Edit: (00:40:16/05-28-17) by LucidCargo »


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« Reply #1 on: (01:03:07/05-28-17) »
A general rule of thumb that I use is that Loyalty will generally start out at 1, 2 if they do something really big or go above and beyond somehow. I generally award Contacts to the entire team unless effort was made to keep one character as the only person of interest. Connection would be based on the chart in the Core Rulebook. Based on your example, I would say that the Contact would be awarded to the group, meaning that anyone on the team could call her up if necessary. She knows who all of them are, even if they have to say "hey remember when my team bumped into you..." but if she is calling on them, she would probably call up the face (as that's probably the number he gave her).

Awarding contacts is based on what the GM feels is reasonable. If you want an example of how some of the official "adventures" hand out contacts, take a look at the official Missions line. There you will guidelines that essentially state that performing a job for one of the contacts that is considered a "recurring NPC" results in +1 Loyalty (although it caps at a total of 4).

That being said, if you're running a home game where the cast of characters is pretty constant, mixing things up is a great idea. The book Run Faster has several suggestions about ways to handle Contacts, including using a "chips" system where you can track favors. Utilizing this system allows the Players to be in more control of how they treat their Contacts. In a longer running game, you would award chips with the contacts rather than giving pure bumps to Loyalty. In turn, those chips can be used to increase your Loyalty, call in favors, things of that nature.

As far as the Cash for Karma (and vice-versa), it doesn't particularly unbalance anything. As you pointed out, there is some inherent limits already surrounding the use of that rule, so if you are keeping close track of downtime and how people spend their resources, you should be able to keep a handle on things. If all of your players want to do this (and in the same direction), it might indicate that you've handed out a bit too much nuyen/karma to keep things balanced. You might also see players not spending money that could otherwise be useful to get resources for the team.
My suggestion is to hold off for now (while you're starting out) and talk with your players about how their spending their resources normally (without any exchanges). If, over time, they still want to use that rule, consider introducing it.