This seems to be a little touched on subject with many campaigns. In shadowrun the old adage "It's not what you know, it's who you know." is very applicable. Contacts are not meant to be a GM roll to see if they can do it/get it. Contacts make up the history and life of a character. They are friends or at least friendly people that help the character for their own reasons, not just because he spent the 5000¥. From crawling around on the net and adding my own ideas, I came up with some rules to help "guide" players to a better character. This system is very much up to the discretion of the GM. They may be lenient or strict on what facilitates the need for a contact.
This is how rule #2 works. A player decides to make a street Sam. He wants big modified guns, Cyberware up the wazoo, fast cars and a steady job. For guns you have to account for how big and how modified. If the player likes it with factory specs, and it is a more common weapon (pistols, shotguns, some rifles) then he may not need a contact. If they are dealing with adding smartlinks, special ammo and other modifications need a contact. Cyberware is the big one. Unless you have Boutique cyberware*, you will need a contact. If you go legit, it will be on the books and likely a corporate sponsor, if you want it a secret, then you go for criminal contacts. Fast cars are a little less problematic. The character could get something off the lot, but this involves "paperwork" and they are on the books. Modifications and no questions involves a suitable contact. A steady job may seem like a lame reason to take a contact, but your character had to start for some one to build his reputation.
Here is his list of options for contacts. His charisma is 2, so he has 4 Contact Points to spend.
Modified Guns: Fixer, Armourer, Merc Cyberware: Street Doc, Corporate Official, Yakuza Boss Fast Car: Fixer, Rigger Steady Job: Mr. Johnson, Fixer, Yakuza Boss, Mafia Don
Now you look at some of the options and say " what if I double up ?". For each background item a contact is responsible for, the level of the contact goes up. Say our Street Sam takes 3 contacts, A fixer, Street doc and a Mafia Don. Since the fixer is responsible for a hot car and the guns, the fixer is considered a level 2 ( as in the shadowrun companion). A contact may only be responsible for 3 things, because there is only three levels of contacts.
One additional modification that can be made to the Shadowrun rules is to introduce another stat for contacts called Degree. The Degree of a contact is that contacts relationship with the character. A 0 Degree contact knows the character but doesn't really care about him. He may fix him up with a job for a percentage, introduce him to people, and sell the character information & goods for the local street price. 1st through 3rd Degree contacts follow the Contact, Buddy, and Friend for Life descriptions in the Shadowrun books.
|Degree 0||Associate||Isn't going to reveal anything to the character unless she makes it worth his while. A little cred will open doors anywhere omae. |
Advantages: Doesn't know anything about the character, sells equipment and services at street prices.
|Degree 1||Chummer||May know information that a character needs and will probably reveal it--but may keep it to himself just becaus he doesn't feel any particular loyalty to the character. |
Advantages: The gamemaster may make an Intelligence (6) Test for the contact to determine if the contact can recall information about the runner when asked.
Sells equipment and services at Base price.
|Degree 2||Buddy||Will always provide the information a runner is looking for and may even "keep her ear to the ground" for a runner if she has the time. |
Advantages: A runner recives 1 extra die for any Etiquette Tests made to acquire information from Level 2 contacts. In addition, the gamemaster may make an Opposed Willpower (5) Test for the contact to deteremine if the contact can successfully refuse to answer questions about the runner.
Sells equipment and services at 10% discount from Base price.
|Degree 3||Friend for Life||Knows the runner well and interacts with him or her on a regular basis. The character may not even think of his or her friend as a contact, but the runner will surely find what that person does or knows uwseful at some point. |
Advantages: A runner recives 2 extra dice for any Etiquette Tests made to acquire information from Level 3 contacts. In addition, the gamemaster may make an Opposed Willpower (6) Test for the contact to deteremine if the contact can successfully refuse to answer questions about the runner.
Sells equipment and services at 20% discount from Base price.
Under these rules, the Level of a contact determines only that contacts ability to provide items of use to the character. In addition to Levels 1-3, Level 0 characters represent street level or personal contacts whom have nothing more to offer than their association or friendship.
|Level 0||Street||Has nothing to offer the character in terms of equipment or services|
|Level 1||General||Can offer one type of equipment or service to the character,|
has access to Street Level goods & services.
|Level 2||Specialist||Can offer two types of equipment or service to the character, |
has access to restricted Security level goods & services.
|Level 3||Expert||Can offer three types of equipment or service to the character, |
has access to restricted Milspec goods & services.
The Contact Point (CP) cost becomes the contact's Degree x Level. For example, a standard 1st Degree, 1st Level contact costs 1 CP. A 2nd Degree (Buddy), 1st Level contact costs 2 CPs, and a 1st Degree, 3rd Level (Expert) contact would cost 3 CPs. Level 0 and Degree 0 contacts are mostly used to round out a character's background with relatives, family, friends, and the general associates, acquaintances, business contacts, and 'regulars' the character sees on a daily basis. Basically, anyone a character ever meets becomes a 0th Degree, 0th Level contact.
As a side effect to these rules the players not only add a new dimension to role-playing, but they also notice and care about their charisma attribute. It also shows that the npcs are not just filler, they are an integral part of their backgrounds.
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