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Cybersnatching

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WarriorBorn83

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« on: <06-01-18/0131:41> »
Hey folks. I'm new to the forums and have only started running missions for actual Missions play rather than for just a home campaign. But after my first few posts here I was informed of something I have never heard of. Cybersnatching.

I get the idea that people going out to hunt and kill others to steal their ware is an evil act. I can even get behind the idea that the act, regardless of it happening as the cause or result of conflict, is looked down upon. But what I can't find in any rule book, or on this forum, is what should be the ramifications of this act to runners in Missions play? I can understand giving a point of public awareness if they are seen doing it in public. Or a point of Notoriety if they blatantly brag about selling the ware they took from a bunch of dead gangers. (The Swamp Thangs and Chemical Boyz leader for example.) But are there any just baseline rules for Missions play about Cybersnatching? And where exactly is Cybersnatching listed in Shadowrun printed material as being something so dark that people who regularly get hired to kill people won't do?

Marcus

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« Reply #1 on: <06-01-18/0203:22> »
There's a couple factors in play. In mission lewting is discouraged, in general some GM will let commlinks and guns off the bad guys, but truly hard line says no off the books lewt should allowed.

But to understand Why Cybersnatching is so bad you have to look at the group that does it. Tenemos, that group is on the top of the list of Super Bad. What they do is the stuff of nightmares (Blending up babies for ghouls, grow/kidnapping children/people for parts, every variant of slavery you can imagine, Snuff films/shows, basically ever nasty terrifying urban legend you can think of come to life) , and anyone with two morals to rub together will shoot them on sight, you can read about them in various books, but best recent example is they hanging out in the new ghoul nation doing all kinds of horrifying things. Yes in general runners are fairly amoral, steal, kidnapping, wetwork, can generally all be considered part of business. But there are standards of behavior in the shadows just like any profession. You don't cause massive collateral damage (Particularly innocents), you don't work for a Dragon, you don't turn down a job, you don't sell out your employer, you don't screw your team and lewt everything on a run, you don't get caught, and you don't butcher people for parts.  These sort of unspoken rules are enforced at one remove by notoriety. Any and all of those actions carry notoriety penalties, and you get too high on that list, and you end up burned. You contacts ether stop calling or turn you in. The locals call the cops of gangs as soon they see you. The local gangs team up to eliminate the threat you pose to their turf. You wake up to Swat making a personal house call.  Your fellow runners determine you're two much of a liability or there some kind of bounty is placed on you for being monster and deiced to preemptively dispose of you. Any and all of those should be expected if characters start down that path.

« Last Edit: <06-01-18/0209:04> by Marcus »
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #2 on: <06-01-18/0325:17> »
The logistics of looting also makes it a pain.. by design to be so much trouble as to often not be worth the risk.

What risk?

Well in the case of guns and other gear: Until you can swap ownership of a device, it's basically a tracker bug that you're willingly carrying around.  "Where's my (fill in the blank)" is basically a default app for any piece of gear in 2079.  Being able to trace a lost/stolen item is pretty much the main reason everything is wireless.. even things with no useful wireless function like your Katana or your Underwear.  And forcing yourself to be the new owner, as far as the matrix is concerned, is an extended Hardware test 24 (1 hour).  And in SRM you have to buy hits on this sort of thing, which means you need a pool of 14 dice in Hardware to even pull it off.  While taking many hours to do ONE piece of gear.  Missions don't have that much downtime written in.  It's going to just be easier to fence the stolen loot, which in SRM goes for 5% per point of loyalty with your fence contact.  The risk of being traced while carrying looted gear just for a payoff of a couple hundred nuyen each after splitting the pot?  Many players won't even take that risk for that reward.

In the case of Cyber/Bioware:  Sure there's the potential of gaining norotiety as a skeeve, but there's also the practical problems of toting around a bunch of dead bodies.  I don't care how strong you are, you can't carry more than one.  Well MAYBE a troll can carry two.  And you sure as hell can't use Palming to conceal a corpse on your person.  Stash them inside a vehicle?  Well, if you get pulled over by a random patrol the Face won't be able to explain away the presence of those corpses as something innocent.  Doesn't matter how many dice he has.  And extracting them from the corpses so that the cyber bits are easy to hide/transport?  If you don't have the Cybertechnology/Biotechnology/Medicine Skills jacked up nice and high, odds are you won't be able to harvest them in a resellable state.
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Sphinx

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« Reply #3 on: <06-01-18/1149:16> »
I've never heard it called "cybersnatching" before, but yeah, looting cyberware is generally frowned upon. First, it's downright ghoulish, and anything that invites comparison to Tamanous should really be avoided. Second, it's messy and impractical, even using the "Turn to Goo" spell (SG p.119). Third, if word gets out, it'll most certainly earn you Notoriety ("especially callous behavior," SR5 p.368), which hurts your street cred. Having said all that, if a heavily wired razorguy drops at your feet and no one's looking, well ... Nightengale's Body Bank doesn't ask awkward questions.

The Missions FAQ does explicitly allow you to fence captured gear using the Contacts and Fencing rules (SR5 p.419) -- see "Can I fence the gear I found during an adventure?" on page 20 of the current Combined FAQ v1 -- but don't blow the run by trying to carry off a half-dozen assault rifles (let alone a few bodies) in the hopes of padding your payday. No one would ever work with you again.

Redwulfe

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« Reply #4 on: <06-01-18/1314:25> »
The way I handle this is by informing the player that stripping cyberware will get them notoriety. And unless they have a contact that deals in stolen cyber they will get nothing for it. The contact simply says no, because they don't want notoriety. Mission does alow looting but it also says that it is up to the GM to discourage or to keep it from happening by disallowing it. Contacts won't buy it, the cyberware was used and the last bullet happened to sever make hard to repair. The bullet went through the dec/Rcc and all his drones crashed to the ground and so on. Unrealistic yes but this is a global game and some concessions have to be made while playing in it. Players should understand this coming in to game. In the end it is just a game and while people are at your table you are the GM. Be polite, be fair (to not just the people at your table but to the global game as a whole), be firm but you don't need to give in to every request.
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 on: <06-01-18/1402:15> »
To dovetail with what Redwulfe said:

If a given SRM mission is programmed to give say 12,000 nuyen if the face maxes the roll vs Mr Johnson, it's not really in the spirit of SRM for the characters to get significantly more than that from looting (or any other means).  It's just not fair for players at one instance to earn more than players of another instance of the exact same mission.

Some variability is fine, but major deviations aren't.  The line's exact placement isn't defined and is up to the GM to be realistic and responsible to stay on the side of consistency with what was given out by other GMs running the same mission.

To give an example, my view of the looting rules is an alternate means for tables without a strong face to still get what a table with a strong face got.  I'm going to be much more hard on approving looting for the group that already is getting max nuyen than the group that couldn't talk Mr Johnson up from his initial lowball offer.

« Last Edit: <06-01-18/1404:45> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Marcus

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« Reply #6 on: <06-01-18/1459:49> »
Another factor is the Murder Hobo issue, while this term is making it's way through the consciousness of  the gaming industry in general. SR is in many ways definitionally guilty as charged. But it's a stereotype I think we can all fight against, while SR has no alignment, it does have things like Codes of Honor, and that at heart that the characters are heroic under dogs fighting the powers that be, in world where morality isn't a neat and clean as it is D&D, where opposition isn't good or bad b/c they happen to scales of certain metallic hue.  Even on the wetwork side of things, there plenty of bad guys that just need kill'en. 

Being anti-heroes is all well and good, everyone loves bad boys. Like Boondock saint's we all love a good revenge story but keep in mind what evil really means to you.
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WarriorBorn83

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« Reply #7 on: <06-02-18/0518:21> »
Ok, just so I am clear on the topic, selling of cyberware should not be allowed because in Missions play there is no looting allowed. I can't say I understand the ruling since this is a game where money is required for advancement. I do understand that keeping players across the country on the same level is required for fair play. I also never considered runners taking the cyber off of a corpse that was just trying to kill them to be as nasty as others consider it. Comparing that to what the Tenemos does on a daily basis is an apples to oranges comparison to me. I even remember a story in one of the Shadowrun books where a DockWagon employee cut a dead runner's cyberarm off to sell for cash while they were scraping another runner off the street. So I didn't see the practice as that bad. (Can't for the life of me remember where that story is.)

So just for clarification, I shouldn't allow looting of cyberware at all, and if they push it to apply penalties to notoriety or public awareness if they are caught in the act. I can put that out to my players. But just to be sure, is the justification to keep players on the same level of cash? Because what missions gives out seems to be more than a bit low to me. It's almost impossible to reach higher levels of cyberware or anything with a rating over 12 given the current rules as it is. Are missions written with the idea of keeping characters on a lower power level?

Kiirnodel

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« Reply #8 on: <06-02-18/0556:53> »
For an off-the-rack cyberarm you are talking about making up to about 3,000¥ for ripping off someone's arm, carrying it around with you and then trying to sell it off to someone else. And that's before splitting the costs between members of the group (and assuming you have a really loyal fence to sell it to). I'm also not taking into consideration the idea that untrained runners could very easily damage the cyberlimb in the process.

To me, it seems like a lot of work for very little pay-out, plus you have the stigma attached of defiling corpses, because that's exactly what you're doing.

As far as Missions in general goes, I wouldn't say that the pay-outs are exceedingly low. They definitely vary, but the general idea is to keep the power-level relatively under control. And if we are talking about some characters managing to double or even triple their earnings by excessive looting, then it is definitely going to throw off the expectating of power with that particular character...

Jack_Spade

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« Reply #9 on: <06-02-18/0640:03> »
Yeah, unless you fancy some particular ware for your personal use and don't mind the used aspect, the resale value of cyber is generally too low. Bioware would be a different matter, but that is exceedingly hard to harvest.

Turn to Goo is the go to spell if you want to extract cyber with the minimum amount of fuss (and makes disposing the body with a hose possible.
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Hobbes

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« Reply #10 on: <06-02-18/0810:59> »
No Looting in Mission games.  Please don't. 

One huge reason, time.  4 Hour time slot and most games wind up running a bit over that IME.  As ticky-tacky as Shadowrun can get playing out the actual looting and fencing could eat up half an hour easy.  And typically, by the time you divide up the loots, you're only up a few hundred Nuyen. 

Occasional gun or new commlink that your runner is going to swap ownership on?  Whatever. 

Ripping off and selling cyberware from dead people.  Or selling the bodies to Ghouls.  (Basically the same thing)  Someone at the table is likely to object for any number of reasons, and Missions games aren't some steady-state of players.  Having the same ghoulish inter-party conversation every game is going to drive your GM nuts, please don't do it.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #11 on: <06-02-18/1102:05> »
Keep in mind that SRM explicitly disallows the primary method of (profiting from) looting covered in the Core Rulebook.  Per the SRM FAQ, the only allowed rule for fencing gear is the 5% per point of loyalty with your fencing contact rule.  So looting doesn't actually eat much time.. just however much time it takes to trawl the equipment section of the book to figure out how much the base value of the loot is.  Figuring the fenced value takes literal seconds once you have that total tallied.

But to agree with another point:  yes you're normally only getting a couple hundred nuyen per runner once it's all said and done.  Still, compensating for bribes and similar expenses might be reason enough to go to the bother of collecting and hawking some loot.  (and risking being caught with said loot during the run)
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Lormyr

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« Reply #12 on: <06-02-18/1132:55> »
For clarification, here is the precise disclaimer on looting found in every single Mission:

"A Note on Loot and Looting

Gamemasters should be careful what they allow players access to, because they can and will try to steal everything not nailed down (and even then, they
often have pry bars and claw hammers to deal with those nails). Shadowrun Missions operate under the assumption that two players who have run the same missions will have roughly the same amount of resources available to them (give or take some negotiation and a little bit of minor loot fenced), so when players are able to steal and fence a lot of gear or are able to get their hands on high-priced vehicles, cyberdecks, or foci, it can unbalance the game and make it unfair to players who didn’t have the opportunity to get those items. Gamemasters should avoid letting the players get into a position to do high value looting whenever possible." (Emphasis mine)

If the campaign was against players looting, it should simply state that looting is not permitted in Missions. I personally run my tables as it is written, which is avoid high value looting.

What is high value, though? That is somewhat subjective. I personally cut off the additional loot money at roughly 20% of what they are earning for the run. So if you are getting a 10,000 nuyen pay day, you can loot up to an additional 2,000 nuyen in gear if it is available. The one exception to this is vehicles. If a runner doesn't have a vehicle, and the Mission states that the baddies roll up in a low or midrange cost ride (say, a ford americar or a gmc bulldog), I will let them loot the ride one time so the PC has a ride.

What are the downsides of this? When I run, it is the following:

- Notoriety: If you are witnessed looting the dead, you get 1 point of Notoriety per scene you did so. If you are peeling ware out of someone's body, it is an additional point of Notoriety per body.

- Ownership: A lot of matrix connected items require the ownership to be changed. As this is a downtime action (where hits must be bought), doing so successfully requires at least 15 dice on a Hardware + Logic test. If you can swing that? Cool, enjoy your new item. If not? I'll need you to explain to me after the Mission how you either hire a contact to do this for you, or a good plan for how you evade law enforcement.

- Time: Looting takes time, and sometimes taking extra time is a bad decision. If you are in a time sensitive situation, such as looting in a corporate enclave, expect additional high threat to arrive in the middle of your little loot spree.

If players are smart about it, I generally let them get away with it up to that 20%ish additional nuyen.
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Jayde Moon

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« Reply #13 on: <06-06-18/1753:05> »
In a home game, I always add a point of notoriety for each instance of body snatching.  Maybe nobody saw them, but they gotta sell the parts to somebody and word eventually gets around.

I haven't brought that up for Missions because I'm not sure it's something that goes on a lot in Missions?
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #14 on: <06-06-18/1802:35> »
It's something that involves intensive handling. And generally anything that'd require intensive handling is something that is outlawed. No time to deal with complicated consequences in a total-strangers-4-hours game. If people really want to go this route, it probably should be outlawed, but I really hope people won't need to take Common Sense to understand why this isn't fair to other people or the GM.
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