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How Brutal Are You?

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Critias

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« Reply #30 on: (14:41:49/06-28-12) »
Um to the person who said its bad for business for the corp to kill you and not find out who hired you. Lets look at this logicaly. Corp kills runner /runners. Lets start simple and work more complex. If they capturre a team they are going to kill all but one or two looking for the hacker. Then they are going to torture you, find out what they want and shoot you in the face period. Why would they call the cops or hold you indefinatly your a security threat breathing . If they are going to torture you then kill you, they would break your legs so you cant escape. If cybered they would just start cutting wires till its cyber cement shoes.
Except that's not how the game universe works ("zero zones" and other special circumstances aside), or no one would ever go on shadowruns, and/or shadowunners would get paid a lot more.

As it is, in the Sixth World, shadowrunners are a known angle.  Everyone uses them, everyone knows everyone uses them, and they -- personally -- are sort of left alone.  Corps go after other corps, they don't go after the pawns that get sent their way (most of the time). 

When a corporation catches a bunch of shadowrunners, yes, in a gritty, grim, no-nonsense, merciless world, they'd torture you and dismember you and blah blah blah whatever, because legally they can.  But in a world that's made to function the way the Shadowrun universe is?  They don't.  Or, at least, they don't most of the time.  Most of the time, they'll try to turn you, instead.  Most of the time, they'll ask you who you're working for, who sent you, what you're after.  Then they'll do something goofy and dramatic to try and recycle you -- implant a bomb, show your file and threaten your loved ones, tell you The Deep Dark Truth Behind Mr. Johnson, whatever -- so that they can profit from you.

If they just kill you, you're wasted.  If they kill you, go through your commlink and find all your friends and kill them, go after your Fixer and everyone else you worked with, and all that?  They're losing assets.  They're spending money on petty retribution instead of on the bottom line.  Unless you've already pulled the job successfully (in which case they want their stuff back), the long-standing in-universe trope is they don't care.  You aren't worth revenge.  You aren't any good to them dead.  They can't USE you, dead.  They don't care about you as an individual who has taken action against them, they care about you as an individual who's shown his talent and could take action for them.

Yes, it's goofy.  Yes, it makes shadowrunning a little less terrifying.  But you know what?  It's the only way to keep the setting playable.  It's the only way to keep any of the fun or the over-the-top action, it's the only way to keep anyone from ever having to play anything but an ice cold pro, it's the only way to make the universe itself work.

Quote
If they dont need you alive why would you be alive.
In-universe?  Because they don't need you dead, either.  You can't work for them, dead, and killing you themselves costs them money. 

Out-of-universe?  Because then the campaign ends, and no one has any fun.

JustADude

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« Reply #31 on: (16:55:50/06-28-12) »
You aren't any good to them dead.  They can't USE you, dead.  They don't care about you as an individual who has taken action against them, they care about you as an individual who's shown his talent and could take action for them.

Why does that make me feel like the best way to audition for a Spider position is to hack their servers and leave your resume on the Desktop of the CEO?
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Critias

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« Reply #32 on: (17:18:13/06-28-12) »
You aren't any good to them dead.  They can't USE you, dead.  They don't care about you as an individual who has taken action against them, they care about you as an individual who's shown his talent and could take action for them.

Why does that make me feel like the best way to audition for a Spider position is to hack their servers and leave your resume on the Desktop of the CEO?
Stranger things have happened.  Plenty of folks have made the black hat/grey hat/white hat transitions, IRL, and it'd make for a heck of a plot hook, in-game, for a campaign trying to transition from shadowrunners to company men.

Leigion

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« Reply #33 on: (18:03:05/06-28-12) »
No i never said that they would kill everyone on your com link or friends and all your family.They would back log atleast a week to two weeks and find out who put this together. Sure they might be able to rescramble the codes in 45 minutes or so. But the building lay out, how the securiety forces work, and a ton of more sensitive data that they cant just bring a wrecking ball in on and rebuild. They would have a problem with you seeing to much and being able to recreate it. 

About going back to your safe house and or finding the runners who were working with you. Yea why not they followed the hacker to is safe house to find out what other infomation hes got stashed for a rainy day. I see a possible profit panning out. Looking for the other runners that were with you why wouldnt they? Like you said those peple made it out and might have something. They might not blow alot of resources looking but they would still look. Why would they see you as useful asset? You were caught wernt you?Again, so if they turn you lose as a asset and you get caught again they just gave enemy corp more data.(Question: Shadowrun put out a book called safe houses, why would you need a save house if no one is after you?)

About turning people sure I would see them back logging and finding the middle men like fixers, johnsons what not. Also keeping tabs on who is moving what hardware. That makes sence like little micro managers for the company. But the Shadowruners why in the world would they care about the little guy? With the tons of sinless walking around it breeds Shadowruners. The grim reality is shadowruners are wageslaves just with better toys with one foot in the grave. They do jobs because they need money to survive and not die starving like the thousands of other sinless.

About the game setting, Megacorps have the right to do what ever on their turf. Millions of sinless around the globe even more now since the last crash. Mata human racism, spooky native americans blowing volcano's wide open, Dragons like ghostwalker who you cant bring down with military force. Yea its supposed to be terrifying.
Basicaly what i gather from if they just kill you then the setting isnt playable? Why isn't it playable if someone dies? Plenty of people were saying "yea if they do something completly stupid i'd let them die." Does that kill the game system?

I am seriously not trying to be out of line but iam in the "how brutal are you" am I not supposed to be here talking about lethality? Honest question i dont know. All i was talking about was they dont need you alive to find out information.The 4e has backlogs why wouldnt they use them?  If they capture you and they did just care about the botton line they wouldn't let a security risk/threat go to tell the competition anything. Any of the old novels and older sourceboks had corps just brutal is was the shadowrun version of a high level dungeon in ADnD was for pros wich is a good thing because it challanges the players and the GM so things dont get boring.

I guess I should also point something out in the living campaigns you have more then one character.The one's your not playing are doing stuff its not like they are sitting collecting dust. Thats the secret to not pissing people off and having a way if a TPK happens to keep playing. It helps to have a back up mission or dungeon something so they dont have to go right back to what killed them last time. Hope that helps
« Last Edit: (23:23:15/06-28-12) by Leigion »

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #34 on: (01:43:25/06-29-12) »
'Lethality' is different from 'brutal' is different from 'make the game unplayable'.  Critias is right - shadowrunners are expendable, deniable assets, but the Johnson generally wants you to succeed, and the corp you hit (pretty much no matter what corp it is) wants you to live.  Oh, they'll break out the steel-jacketed lead just as soon as you do, but if a location is less than ultra-secure, then why shouldn't they be loading gel rounds?  Bullets miss, and stray gel rounds going into the city beyond are far less likely to kill a bystander, which would lead to Bad Publicity.

If you want your runners to live in perpetual fear that The Corp(s) is/are after them to kill them, feel free.  But your logic is erroneous in any number of places.

Most glaringly, there is a difference between 'killed during a run' and 'hunted down after'.  Do something stupid during a run, walk into a zero-zone shouting 'here I am', yes, you're stupid, and stupid should die.  Do something exceedingly stupid immediately after the run, walk into a runner hangout bragging "Hey, I just took a big chunk out of Aztechnology, wanna hear how?  Well, I'll tell ya ...", yes, you're stupid, and stupid should die.  Finish a run, do things right and lay low, or go somewhere else?  Then after a few days, a week or two, the heat dies down and presto change-o, the corp is after some other runner team who JUST stole The Doohickey.

If you just finished a Run, the corp you hit wants to Talk To You to find out who you pulled the run for; you hide out until the heat dies down.  The heat dies down because unless you stole some Very Drekking Hot criminal and/or irreplaceable data of some sort, they'll get their backups online, and then send out a Johnson to hire some OTHER runner team to fuck with the top three most likely corps to have hit them.  Are they interested in you any more?  Not so much.

If they capture you, sure - they CAN just kill you.  Spend 2¥ on the bullet, or use the knife, and hey, your PCs are now dead.  That isn't brutal; that's unplayable.  Brutal is Making Your Players Work For Freedom - implanting carcerands, or cranial nukes, or taking a loved one or favorite contact hostage.  You seem to be missing the basic bottom-line equivalency of Shadowrun - Rating 2 Is Average, Rating 3 Is Trained, Rating 5-6 Is Very Highly Trained Indeed.  If you're a middle manager and your security guards actually manage to capture the trained equivalent of a 5-man Navy SEAL team, are you just going to go and kill them, or are you going to figure out how to leverage those SEALs into using their Very Extensive Training to go after your competition?

Sure, there are a ton of SINless walking around.  Gutterpunks are 5¥ a pop.  Gutterpunks also have a skill of 2, and none of the bangs and whistles.  Good shadowrunners - like the ones that you caught on their way out, or the ones who got away but left evidence that let you track them down 3 days later - are worth far more than 5¥.  Training = value.  Value = profit.  If you recover training that you can use to your advantage, then ... that's profit.  And profit is what the corp is all about.

This is basic economics...
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Critias

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« Reply #35 on: (02:10:20/06-29-12) »
I'm not saying no one ever dies, and shadowunners never need to have a safehouse, or the setting falls apart if any character ever gets killed. 

What I am saying is that there are certain concessions that need to be made, speaking specifically about a Missions campaign (running at conventions under a time limit, not singling out a PC to hog the spotlight, not giving the impression of singling out a PC to be punished, etc), in order to keep the game world running, keep convention games running smoothly, and make sure players -- who paid cash for the ability to play in any given session -- are having fun. 

Sometimes you have to cut the corners of "realism" in order to keep a game moving and maintain the very unrealistic notion of shadowrunners existing in the first place.

Just because a corp can legally torture some SINless criminal to death and then backtrack him and ruin a bunch of lives, doesn't mean they should when you're trying to help eight strangers have a good time at GenCon or Origins.

lurkeroutthere

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« Reply #36 on: (05:17:01/06-29-12) »
It's been said before in this very thread somewhat but i'll sum it up as best I can.

Stoping runners in the act of running agaisnt you is good for business. It proves that your security is up to snuff.
Tracking runners after the run and getting revenge, not much point in it from a business sense.

In most cases if a corp can capture or kill runners mid run the effect is roughly the same. The runner will be taken out behind the chemical shed and take a round to the noggin. Avoiding this fate is pretty much what hand of god is for. Somehow, you survive, either the corp decides to cut you a deal or you somehow live through your what would normally be fatal wounds.

However I think we as GM's do have an obligation to weigh very carefully how brutal or forgiving the opposition is going to be, and error on the brutal side.

Rule Zere always applies: Don't Get Caught
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bmoham

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« Reply #37 on: (16:17:44/06-29-12) »
I'm curious as to how character optimization plays into this.
Do you assume that players will have the best possible characters for the BP/Karma they have? Does that play into how brutal you'll be?

Simple example: If a player has Body 1 or edge 1 or not much armor or whatever, is that "stupid" in your book and therefore fair game for a quick death?

Does the shadowrun Missions campaign generally assume highly optimized characters?

JustADude

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« Reply #38 on: (20:23:48/06-29-12) »
Does the shadowrun Missions campaign generally assume highly optimized characters?

Nope. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It assumes it's going to be a group of mediocre players that have characters on par with the templates from SR4A, rather than UmaroVI's Archetypes, and that they're probably going to be missing a Hacker, Face and/or a Mage. A reasonably intelligent group with a properly coordinated crew will crush them... or at least that's how it was with Season 2. At the highest Table Rating, our Hacker was stealing the Black IC from the nodes she was hacking.
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Critias

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« Reply #39 on: (21:14:05/06-29-12) »
It's worth pointing out that the Missions tend to be written for a less-than-ideal group, yes, but that right there in every single chapter are suggestions for GMs that want to ramp it up.  The thought is that it's easier to write for the new GM with new players and less-than-optimized characters -- to make things easy on them -- and to trust the experienced GM with the more hardcore crew to "dial it up."  It's meaner to set the base difficulty high, and make the newbs try and tone it down, in my opinion.  ;)

Leigion

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« Reply #40 on: (07:49:05/06-30-12) »
To The Wyrm Ouroboros, On capture with cranial Bomb. I know you said cranial nukes I ll assume you ment cranial area bombs. You said 5 runners so right off the bat your corp dropped 50,000 in a high risk return. Ill meet you half way though at cranial microbombs x5 =25,000k. then transport to facility(induviualy because they were caught together and considered dangerous=high risk) Then medical bill to be fitted. then another transport. then trust that they wont have it defused it less your going to hold their hand to drop them off. So all the 25000k plus all the expensises, guarding, feeding, medicine, Time and company resources On top of all this thier is no guarentee looking at it from the corp side that they will make it they have to go with what they know they know whats in the report. Gear, BS names, no hard data on ID, where you were, and you were caught. Megacorp did we catch em yea ok so whos to say they wont and spill so our facility will again be compermised the enemy will have a very recent update of groundwork,layout, guard patrol, what gear they carrie and a whole mess of classidied info.

$10 for bullets > (60,000 if you were talking area heads explode) 25,000 starting package and up then way in a possible failure in total cost. They could hire a completly differnt crew pay em 1/2 up front half later and even if their team fails they still saved on cost and it would probally be faster. Capture a loved one or contacts. How did they backlog and torture''em or did they sit em under a hot lamp with a rolled up magazine and say bad Runner.. bad runner, in grown up voices? Meenwhile asking them about thier personal life? So Blade tell us alittle about yourself? "Well captain corp security dude... I like techno,romantic dinners, bathsalts and taking long walks on the beach. I dislike hot lamps and rolled up magazines. So when they do take it upon themselfs to track down 5 differnt "possible" hostages across town. The time and money thats going to cost again plus holding, food,till they get leverage aka the hostages then house them. Now when they spring you to do the job. What's stopping you from turning and waxing them or just walk off the job? So Corp Kills the hostages and the runners dont mind thinking glad we told em people we didnt like. In the hahahahahah moment.

What it boils down to is two things 1st your already stated this earlier in this thread "Please, please understand that killing is Option Z" so thats why its unplayable with death being a it could happen. I would wager in your group if the runners got pinned down DM fiat would effect dice rolls aswell. Thats cool GM fiat death away till Z. Hey what ever works for your group. Secondly,Your only point to your argument is what i just explained the rest is just rehash. On real basic ecnomics. The rule of thumb is low risk high profit and/or low cost high mark up. 2nd rule stay out of the red. Less we are talking about a smaller branch of a major company and then its sink money in, then claim loss, so it becomes a tax write off. Let me put my how to turn captured runners into profit and low risk hat on. Here is two. Harvest runner organs low cost higher mark up. Turned into lab mice. Low risk to the corp high profit if something pans out.
« Last Edit: (16:44:35/06-30-12) by Leigion »

CanRay

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« Reply #41 on: (12:06:27/06-30-12) »
How brutal am I?

I'm still counting the number of automotive interiors I've destroyed with "Burn".  ;D
Si vis pacem, para bellum

Leigion

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« Reply #42 on: (17:54:38/06-30-12) »
I agree with Critias, maybe not everything but on the whole mission/convention thing as it wouldnt be very cool to drop hammers on people and say well your dead. Some people didnt come out to have a guy killed off they came out to play with new people on different skill levels. So on that we agree 100%. If we are talking people playing in their own groups though I dont see why death's a big deal as long as its not drop a house on your head out of no where. Thats not cool either.   

To bmoham, If you came to play in our group. We use certain optional rules we dont have many "house rules" but we would copy it for you. Other then that you have to use your imagination and some reasoning. You dont have to build a munchkin or play ultra serious pure emotionless A typical socialpath just when you are breaking serious laws you just have to take precaution on not to get caught. Again your Npc's contacts would drop "hints" over a beer or fixing a car plus the other players at the table would help you out. Just keep in mind anything thats NPC's has its own motavations. Not all of em are trying to kill you but in a gun fight or playing for keeps they will try to live if that meens killing you.

Oh on the 1 body score with no armor question you had. If you made a die if you sneezed player. Yea we would say something cuz we arnt trying to go out of our way to murder your player or anything for no good reason. Just with death on the table we would say hey if thats part of your concept a frail what ever thats cool what if you put more points in this or that so you have some strengths to cover a weakness. If you stuck to your guns and said no i want it this way part of the concept then we wouldnt tell you no.
 
Reason why its bring two charecters is yea in case one dies but also because its a living campagin. We let people play what charecter's they want to play this week we have a limit on Four sheets per person though.. Lets just say for sake of what happens if in a run and someone dies. That player plays one of the opponets or commander and earns karma for another character they have. It's something different and its better then I'll go watch tv call me when you need me guys.     

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #43 on: (04:52:17/07-01-12) »
To The Wyrm Ouroboros ...
*snip*
The rule of thumb is low risk high profit and/or low cost high mark up. 2nd rule stay out of the red. Less we are talking about a smaller branch of a major company and then its sink money in, then claim loss, so it becomes a tax write off. Let me put my how to turn captured runners into profit and low risk hat on. Here is two. Harvest runner organs low cost higher mark up. Turned into lab mice. Low risk to the corp high profit if something pans out.

... wow.  So purchasing five highly-motivated highly-skilled utterly deniable individuals at 5000¥-plus-add-ons each is too expensive for you, huh?  You actually think they're going to be able to remove the headware first thing Monday morning, that they're getting The Grand Tour of whatever facilities you usher them through?  You want to basically just shoot them in the head, harvest their organs, and be on your way.  250,000¥ pure profit, right?

Instead, let's look at what it'd take to get one of these people.

Let's take a 16-year-old kid (0¥), put him through boot camp (9 weeks @ 125¥/week squatter lifestyle expense, 5¥/week drill instructer expense per boot candidate: 1170¥).  We now have a newbie soldier: skill level 2.  Let's add 2 years of living and training (2000¥ low lifestyle, 100¥ training, 2000¥ ammo, 100¥ miscellaneous expenses per month, 24 months: 100,800¥).  We now have an 18-year-old military grunt: skill level 3.  Let's send the kid to Desert Wars a few times - be generous, say 4 times, 1 year's worth (2000¥ low lifestyle, 200¥ training, 3000¥ ammo, ¥200 miscellaneous expenses per month, 12 months: 64,800¥ plus transport (1200¥ x4): 69,600¥).  We have a 19-year-old combat veteran, skill level 4.  Veteran-boy wants to go gung-ho.  Special Forces it is, overall a 2-year journey (2000¥ low lifestyle, 500¥ training, ¥5000 ammo, ¥500 miscellaneous per month, 24 months: 192,000¥).  Tough, competent SpecForce trooper: skill level 5.

We'll stop there, having spent 363,570¥ on simple lifestyle, training, ammunition, and miscellaneous expenses to get this 21-year-old combat vet's training in one skill up to a level 5.  Implant and/or purchase your typical street sam gear by spending another 250,000¥, and we've reached 613,570¥ for a well-trained mundane.  What price magic?  For a competent one, 15 BP + 40 BP (5 Magic) + 15 BP (at least 5 Spells) = 70 BP, which equates to 350,000¥.  Say 25,000¥ in gear for the mage (this replaces the other gear above), and you have a price-point-equivalent of $738,570 - and that's for training your mage without sending him to college.  (College expensive.)  Technomancer equivalent to mage, but we'll presume you only have one of 'em.  Face will cost less on the back end (implants, gear), but more on the front end (parties, school), so we'll ballpark him with the street sam.  Rigger, same thing as sam, just different gear, and hacker as rigger.

  • Street Sam: 613,570¥
  • Rigger: 613,570¥
  • Hacker: 613,570¥
  • Face: 613,570¥
  • Mage: 738,570¥

Someone once wrote a bit of fanfic, as I recall, that looked into the economics of shadowruns.  Again as I recall, what it boiled down to was that the value of the effects of the shadowrun had to be at least three times the amount you're paying the runners to do the job - the cost of the shadowrun.  Pay the runners 60,000¥ (6 runners at a typical Missions table), and the corporation had better get a minimum of 180,000¥ out the back-end on it.  This is for security, secrecy, accounting for the measures taken to remove all the rest of the potential negative impact the run could have on your company.  Here, you're paying 25,000¥ plus, say, 1,000¥ per runner in negligibles (transport, medicines, and bandages are your main non-reuseables here) for a highly-skilled, highly-motivated, completely-deniable strike force you can use at least once on a suicide search-and-destroy / structure hit / assassination that only has to be worth 90,000¥ to you.

Total cost required to 'grow' your own combat team: 3,192,850¥.
Cost required to implant cranial bombs in a captive runner team: 30,000¥.
Value of watching the local subsidiary of Opponent, Inc. go up in flames: Priceless.

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« Reply #44 on: (11:21:44/07-01-12) »
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