|Subject:||Fixers again... part 2|
|Date:||Sun, 30 Jun 1996 10:56:00 +0100|
Letting others do the work for you will lighten your own workload, but
not on a one-to-one basis.
You can start out with a network during character generation, but you
must pay for them as for a gang or tribe (50,000 nuyen). This gives you
enough people to reduce your workload by 60% at maximum (see below for
how to calculate workload reductions). Each of these "employees" will
have Private Enterprising and/or Equipment Acquisition skills at a level
that is lower than your own.
Each person in the network must have either Private Enterprising or
Equipment Acquisition skill, or both. To determine by how much they
reduce your working time, use the following formula:
((Private Enterprising / 2)+2)^2 + (Equipment Acquisition / 2)
For example, if one of your underlings has Private Enterprising 5 and
Equipment Acquisition 3, you gain a work-time reduction of (2.5+2)^2 +
(3/2) = 20.25 + 1.5 = 21.75, or 22 hours. If you would normally have to
work for 60 hours a week, now you've only got to put in 38.
Don't round fractions off until after you've calculated the total time
reduction given by all your employees combined. Then round the reduction
off to the nearest whole hour.
The Underling Time Table shows how many hours of work an employee does
for you, based on his Private Enterprising and Equipment Acquisition
UNDERLING TIME TABLE
PE Equipment Acquisition skill
Skill 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 6.25 6.75 7.25 7.75 8.25 8.75 9.25 9.75 10.2 10.7 11.2
2 9.00 9.50 10.2 10.7 11.2 11.7 12.2 12.7 13.2 13.7 14.2
3 12.2 12.7 13.2 13.7 14.2 14.7 15.2 15.7 16.2 16.7 17.2
4 16.0 16.5 17.0 17.5 18.0 18.5 19.0 19.5 20.0 20.5 21.0
5 20.2 20.7 21.2 21.7 22.2 22.7 23.2 23.7 24.2 24.7 25.2
6 25.0 25.5 26.0 26.5 27.0 27.5 28.0 28.5 29.0 29.5 30.0
7 30.2 30.7 31.2 31.7 32.2 32.7 33.2 33.7 34.2 34.7 35.2
8 36.0 36.5 37.0 37.5 38.0 38.5 39.0 39.5 40.0 40.5 41.0
9 42.2 42.7 43.2 43.7 44.2 44.7 45.2 45.7 46.2 46.2 46.7
10 49.0 49.5 50.0 50.5 51.0 51.5 52.0 52.5 53.0 53.5 54.0
People working for you will generally have lower skill levels than you
have -- if they had higher ratings, it's likely you'd be working for
them, not the other way round.
You can never reduce your own workload to less than 10% of the actual
time you should put in, no matter how many people you hire to work for
you. The only way to do that is to totally give away all your business to
your workforce. But any good fixer would keep an eye on things, if
nothing else than just to make sure they don't run the empire you built
up over the years into the ground within a week. And that constitutes
However, you can always choose to have someone /do/ less work than they
actually /can/. You could let the person from the previous example only
do 10 hours' work, leaving you with 50 per week to do yourself. You can't
make him do more than 22 hours a week, though.
Paying Your Workers
As you can expect, they don't do it for nothing. Everybody wants to make
money off your deals, so you'd better pay them if you want to keep them
working for you. Note that the payment we're talking abou here is partly
actual payments (like wages) you make to these people, and partly money
you would normally have made, but which they pocket themselves now as
compensation for their troubles. Hey, you don't expect them to give you
all the money they make for you, do you?
Multiply the number of hours your employee worked for you by 0.2, and
then by your Income Multiplier. The result is the amount of money you
lose to your worker in one way or another. If this would, in the end,
result in you losing more money than you made, the whole thing levels out
at a zero nuyen profit for you this month: all your income gets spent again
on your employees.
Many fixers buy and sell stolen goods, or goods that other people (not
necessarily the owners) are also after. This is a relatively easy and
profitable venture, because most people who have something to sell need
the money you're offering for it, even though it's very much below the
item's actual worth.
The way things are normally handled from a shadowrunner's (or criminal's)
point of view is explained on page 188 of SRII. Most of this applies to
the fixer's side of the deal as well, except he doesn't need to find a
fence -- people come to him, not the other way around. The amount of money
the fixer has available should definitely /not/ be determined by the rules
under Financing the Fence, p.188, SRII.
It's no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest
-- U2, "The Fly"
To anyone who knows where to look, the money a fixer has made will appear
to have come from a non-legitimate source. This is because most people
with a regular income find it hard to explain why they have a few tens of
thousands of nuyen on their cred accounts while they only make 1500 bucks
a month, plus of course where the Westwind 2000 and the apartment in
Inglewood came from, not to mention the diamond watch...
Anyway, you get the picture. You have to make it appear like you got the
money through some or another legal means, disguising where it really
came from and preventing investigators from tracking it back to your
shadowy activities -- in criminal jargon, it's called laundering.
This is easier if you have no SIN, because in that case you won't get
bothered by the taxman anyway.
In game terms, you make a Laundering skill roll. If you don't have this
skill, you may know someone who does, but these people generally charge a
fee equal to about 10% of the money they launder for you.
The skill roll's target number is a basic 5, or a 6 if you don't have a
SIN. There are no real modifiers to this roll (wounds do not apply),
except that the gamemaster may modify it to take into account the general
credibility of your scheme. A -1, for example, if the "reason" you have
thought up is very plausible, or even +4 if it's totally unbelievable.
Yes, you have to explain to the gamemaster what you want to project to
the outside world as the reason for you having the money.
If you fail to roll any successes, add 1 to your Police Trouble rating
for the coming month only. If you totally mess it up an roll all ones,
the gamemaster makes an immediate Police Trouble roll, in addition to the
normal one for that month. Oh, and don't forget to add the extra die
because none of your Laundering skill dice succeeded.
If you do roll successes, count them and multiply them by 15%. The result
is the percentage of the money you started with, that you still have
after laundering. This DOES NOT include the fee charged by someone else
to launder your money for you. No matter how many successes you have, you
cannot get more than 90% efficiency -- that is, if you launder 100,000
nuyen you will at most end up with 90,000 afterward. The difference goes
into paying for the laundering operation.
Note that the money we're talking about here is that you have /after/
paying any people you may have working for you. How they launder their
money is not your problem. Usually.
Of course, you don't NEED to launder your money at all. It's just that
having large amounts of unexplained money around will sooner or later
attract the cops' attention.
However, there is also no need to launder every nuyen each time you make
one. You can elect to wait a few months and pot up some money before
letting it flow through the system -- the system above assumes you
make one Laundering skill roll which covers your activities for the whole
past month. It doesn't need to, if you don't want to.
Once every month, the gamemaster should make a Police Threat roll, using
the fixer's Police Threat rating for the number of dice to roll. The
target number for this roll varies with the general legality of your
practices, as well as a variety of other factors. Use the Police Threat
Table to find the base target number, based on the Legality Category
(from Shadowtech) of what you generally deal in. If you trade equally in
multiple categories of goods, take the lowest, and apply a -1 modifier per
two additional categories (rounding up).
POLICE THREAT TABLE
Class Target Number
A, B, C: Bladed or Blunt weapons 10
D, E: Projectile weapons or Pistols 9
F: Rifles 8
G, H, I, J, L: Automatic, Heavy, or
Military weapons, ammo or explosives 6
K: Military armor 8
BA, CA: Bioware/Cyberware 9
BB, BC, CB, CC: Bioware/Cyberware 6
CD: Matrix Tech 7
E1: Equipment 11
E2: Equipment 8
E3: Equipment 5
M1: Substances 10
M2: Substances 7
M3: Substances 3
Legal stuff (any)* 13
Security Rating of area character
operates out of**:
AAA to A -6
Character has a SIN -2
Character has no SIN -0
Character's amount of unlaundered
up to 10,000 nuyen -0
up to 50,000 nuyen -1
up to 100,000 nuyen -2
up to 250,000 nuyen -4
up to 1,000,000 nuyen -7
over 1,000,000 nuyen -10
* This is to represent the fact that, even though you only buy and sell
things that are totally legal, the police don't necessarily believe you
when you tell them this. They might decide to take a look for themselves.
** A character's Lifestyle is not the same as the Security Rating of his
area of operations. It pays to keep business and pleasure separate,
Example: Diane's main merchandise is illegal cyberdecks, or Class CD
materials. That makes the target number for the gamemaster's Police Threat
roll a 7. She lives in a high-class apartment in Auburn (AA rated by Lone
Star), but all her business is conducted from an old warehouse in Boise
(rated at D). This gives a +2 modifier for her High lifestyle, and +0
for the D-rated area of operations.
Oh, and she has a SIN, so there's a -2 for that, and the fact that she has
about 15 thousand nuyen of unexplained money on her credstick gives a -1.
This makes a total target number of 7 +2 -2 -1, or 6.
If Diane were to sell decks out of her living room, she'd face a -4
modifier to the Police Threat test target number, instead of +2, and would
result in a Police Threat target number of 4, not 6.
If the roll yields any successes, the police has some kind of lead on
your activities. No successes means they don't know anything about what
you've been doing the past month, but even one success indicates that
they know you're out there, and have at least a rudimentary idea of your
dealings in the shadows. Whether they act upon this is up to the
gamemaster to decide, but in general he should keep track of the number
of successes that get accumulated over time. When certain numbers of
successes are reached, various actions may be taken, at the gamemaster's
discretion. The Law Enforcement Reaction Table gives some suggestions.
It is highly recommended that the Police Threat roll is made where the
player can't see it, and that the number of generated successes is
likewise kept secret.
LAW ENFORCEMENT REACTION TABLE
Successes Action taken
0 None -- they don't know the character is in business at
2 Character will be kept under surveillance if time and
manpower allows (unlikely): Police Threat rating +1
5 Character will likely be kept under surveillance at
least some of the time: Police Threat rating +2
10 Character is under definite surveillance, and is prime
target for law enforcement: Police Threat rating +4
15 Character is arrested
When a character is under surveillance, add the indicated number of dice
to his Police Threat rating. Additionally, lower all target numbers for
Police Threat tests by -1.
These extra dice are removed at one die per month -- if 11 successes have
been gathered against Diane, her Police Threat rating is up by +4 for the
next month. At the end of that month (/after/ the Police Threat test for
that month), it goes down to +3, then +2 the month after that, and so on.
If the character does anything that is obviously illegal while under
actual surveillance, he might be arrested on the spot, if the cops (i.e.
the gamemaster) think they can make a case at that moment. If not, they
will keep it in mind for when the character is actually arrested.
Naturally, in all cases of arrest, charges will be brought to bear based
on all crimes the police has gathered evidence about, or which have been
confessed by the character. Use Shadowtech and/or the gamemaster book
from the Denver boxed set to determine the appropriate sentence (fines,
prison, and so on).
At the gamemaster's discretion, only threats of this nature will be made
in order to coerce the character to become an informant. If he gives in,
and this fact ever gets out, the character's Fixer Status drops at least
2 levels, possibly more. If nobody with a gun comes after him, that is.
GETTING RID OF THE HEAT
You may want to cut back on your operations to keep the police off your
trail for a while, if you believe they may have a lead on you. This means
you have to do less work than normal, because you have to keep up the
appearance that you're an honest citizen who doesn't fraternize with known
lawbreakers. An alternative is to give "donations" to the local police
You will have to keep this up for some time in order to shake off any
detectives, or even undercover cops, investigating your case. If there are
any, of course.
You will have to cut back the number of hours you work in a week, and the
less you work, the higher the chances are you'll get rid of police
[Definitely unfinished at the moment, and in need of some ideas...]
You have to have some kind of working relationship with the local police
force for this tactic to work -- they have to know who's paying them, and
why. This means you're going to have to have at least one contact there.
It's difficult to give hard rules for this situation; the best advice is
to roleplay the situation, with the gamemaster deciding the cops' attitude
toward this point. For example, if you get along with them well, most
officers in the precinct feel they're underpaid, and there isn't much
chance of anyone finding out about your bribes, they're much more likely
to accept than when you've arranged for the deaths of a few of their
colleagues, they earn a good salary, and Internal Affairs is breathing
down their necks all the time.
If you bribe someone higher up in the police chain of command, you'll
very likely "control" most of the people below him or her as well. The
reason here is simple: if you bribe a lieutenant, he can order his officers
to drop cases in which you seem to be involved.
Those requiring a dice rolling solution can do this by rolling an opposed
Negotiation test between the officer being bribed and the character doing
the bribing. There is a +4 modifier to the player's target number, because
taking a bribe could be bad for the officer's career. (Player's desired
result is harmful to NPC, SRII page 182.)
As a guide for the size of the payment, the Bribe Table gives typical
bribes, based on your Police Threat rating. If you pay the amount indicated,
your effective Police Threat rating goes down as shown. This is not
cumulative -- that is, to get it reduced by 2, you only need to pay for
level 2, not level 1 as well.
You cannot reduce the Police Threat level by more than half this way,
for the simple reason that you cannot control all police officers in town.
Also keep in mind that bribing one precinct won't do anything for another
precinct, so that one may still come after you. The same goes for security
forces in general: paying Lone Star will not keep Knight Errant off your
Payment made (nuyen) Rating modifier
(Police Threat^2) x 100 -1
(Police Threat^2) x 250 -2
(Police Threat^2) x 500 -3
(Police Threat^2) x 1,000 -4
(Police Threat^2) x 2,000 -5
You have to keep up your payment every month, else the reduction is
Example: Diane has a Police Trouble rating of 2. She thinks this is too
high, especially because she's got an important deal coming up next week,
and decides to make a donation to the local captain. She can only reduce
her Police Threat rating by -1, because that would halve her current rating
of 2. This costs 400 nuyen: (2^2) x 100 = 4 x 100 = 400 nuyen, and makes
Diane's Police Threat rating 1 for the coming month, instead of 2. She
doesn't pay the cops again after that, so it goes back to 2 then.
Gamemaster note: It pays to keep a character's Police Threat rating secret
from that character's player. That way, he or she won't really know when
things might get too hot, and will have to take precautions -- possibly
at the wrong times. If you take this route, don't mention how high the
bribe should be to reduce the Police Threat; instead, let the character pay
whatever he wants to, and then compare it to the bribe you have in mind. If
it's enough, the bribe will work; if not, well, too bad for the player.
Bribing To Remove Police Threat Successes
This is done in much the same was as bribing to reduce your Police Threat
rating itself, but instead of reducing the number of dice they get to roll,
you reduce the number of successes that is applied to the Law Enforcement
Reaction Table. This means they make evidence that was gathered against you
disappear, so you cannot be caught because of it.
Every success you want to have removed costs an amount of nuyen equal to
the total number of successes that has already been gathered, multiplied by
1,000. For example, getting 3 successes removed costs 3,000 nuyen. You
cannot make them lose more than 5 successes per month this way -- if you
want more, wait until next month.
Flip Side Of The Credstick: Internal Affairs
The dangerous side of bribing the police is that, when Internal Affairs
finds out, the cops will be in trouble -- and they'll often be quite happy
to make you share their misery. In short, they'll tell IA who bribed them.
This doubles your Police Threat rating (the actual one, not the one that
includes the bribe modifier) for the month after IA found out about your
donations, which is removed at 2 points for each subsequent month. This
only applies if you have paid bribes to the police in the month in which
Internal Affairs find out about them. If you've made any in previously,
but not in that month, your Police Threat rating gets a +1 for one month.
For example, your Police Threat is 4, but you've reduced it to 2 by means
of a bribe. IA does an audit, and finds out about your money going into
officers' pockets; the officers in question confess to these corruption
charges, and mention your name. You now have a Police Threat rating of 8
for the coming month (4, doubled), 6 for the month after that, and it's
back to the normal 4 again in the month after /that/ one.
Gamemasters can assume that Internal Affairs takes a look at any given
precinct every 2D6 months. If they feel generous, they may apply the Rule
of Six to these dice. However, if evidence is destroyed because a player
bribed the police, immediately roll 2D6-2. If the roll is below, or equal
to, the number of successes that were removed from the Law Enforcement
Reaction Table, IA pays a visit to the precinct to investigate the
disappearance of evidence from there.
Another way to remove successes from the Law Enforcement Reaction Table is
to get a decker to break into the police Matrix system and erase or alter
relevant files. The hows and whys of such an operation is up to the
gamemaster to work out, but it should not be possible to erase an entire
police record without attarcting attention to your operation. Two or three
successes is managable per try, but do it too often, or try to go al the
way immediately is bad for business -- although a good fixer can continue
working from inside a prison if necessary.
Anyway, this would be a shadowrun, and is best handled as such. Police
matrix systems are /hard/ to crack, by the way. If rolling up a random one,
(pages 62 to 65, Virtual Realities 2.0), make it at least a medium-security
Orange or Red system.
Just as there are various "styles" in shadowrunning, fixers come in all
kinds of orientations. Most of these are represented by the various
concentrations of the Private Enterprising and Equipment Acquisition
skills, and it is recommended players concentrate in one or two areas of
these skills. It will give them a higher income, because more dice give a
higher chance of rolling high results.
What follows here are descriptions of a number of types of fixer that
commonly exist in Seattle and most other North American cities. All of
these are available to player characters, although you should discuss
your choice with your gamemaster. If you don't like any of the ones
presented here, make one up yourself that does suit your ideas.
As with the fixer status levels, most fixers do not use the names given
here to describe themselves. Most prefer the term "businessman."
The Dealer is a military/mercenary fixer. He buys mainly military gear,
often even directly from arms producers or importers, or sometimes from
military surplus sales, and then sells them to any merc units he has
good relations with. Sometimes, a Dealer also works as a middle-man to
negotiate deals between mercenaries and prospective employers, although
this could get him into trouble with merc organizations like MET-2000 if
he does it too much.
Suggested skills: Equipment Acquisition (any military), Etiquette
(Mercenary), Laundering, Negotiation, Private Enterprising (any military)
Suggested contacts' affiliations: corporate, government, mercenary,
Special rules: Dealers apply a -1 Availability target number modifier when
acquiring military gear, but add 25% to the acquisition time for it, because
of the paperwork and legal troubles a Dealer often has to go through. (See
p.81, Fields of Fire.)
The Deckmeister is the person to turn to for anything that's supposed to
get hooked up to the Matrix. He sells both complete cyberdecks and their
component parts, microtronic tools, conventional computers, software; you
name anything related to decking, and he's got a warehouse full of it.
Deckmeisters deal almost exclusively with deckers, and most of them were
once highly skilled deckers before the SOTA caught up with them. They
then turned to a different way of making money from their knowledge of
Suggested skills: Equipment Acquisition (Electronics), Etiquette
(Matrix), Etiquette (Street), Laundering, Negotiation, Private
Suggested contacts' affiliations: corporate, decker, street
The Fence is one of the archetypical fixers: he buys and sells goods. Some
will specialize in certain things only, such as weapons, information, cars,
or what you care to name, but most simply deal in anything they think will
net them a nice profit. Most fences have extensive connections out of the
shadows and in the underworld, but most commonly with gangs and petty
crooks -- those are the people who generally have things for sale that a
Fence can buy cheap and sell for a lot more. Fences deal with shadowrunners
sometimes, but usually as the seller: most runners have pre-set arrangements
about selling the things they got from their runs.
Suggested skills: Equipment Acquisition, Evaluate, Etiquette (Street),
Laundering, Negotiation, Private Enterprising
Suggested contacts' affiliations: gang, street
Special rules: the Fence doesn't need to Concentrate in Equipment Acquisition
and Private Enterprising skills, but at the cost that all his target numbers
for these skills go up by +1 (open-ended rolls have the highest roll reduced
by -1). Fences who do take a Concentration do not apply the +1 to rolls in
that Concentration only.
This represents the fact that Fences can get almost anything, but because
they lack the specialist connections that most other fixers have, they can't
find it as easily as their colleagues.
Also known as "smugglers", Free Traders buy things in one country, ship
them to another county where they are more expensive, and sell them there.
Seattle has a high number of Free Traders, because of its position on the
Pacific Rim and in the middle of the NAN, while Denver has even more --
the situation there is just about the ultimate breeding ground for them.
Free Traders often have their own transportation, ranging from not more
than a civilian car or van, to a full-fledged T-bird if they do well enough
and think they can get away with it. Most civilian vehicles are heavily
modified to create hidden storage spaces, and have beefed-up engines so
they can out-run law enforcement vehicles if they need to.
Suggested skills: Equipment Acquisition, Etiquette (Street), Laundering,
Negotiation, Private Enterprising, a Vehicle skill
Suggested contacts' affiliations: corporate, criminal, government, street
Special rules: Free Traders must take contacts in at least two countries.
Where most fixers trade in goods, Information Brokers (or "info bros" in
street lingo) sell data, ideas, and other intangible merchandise. Any
data is worth something to somebody, as deckers well know -- the concept
of "paydata" is what gave rise to Info Bros existence in all of the
world's sprawls. The trouble with being an Information Broker is that
data ages very fast in the modern world -- you may have a chip with data
that's worth millions today, and by the day after tomorrow the chip
might be worth more than its contents. For this reason, Information
Brokers tend to work fast, often selling to the first serious bidder
rather than waiting for the highest.
Suggested skills: Etiquette (any and all), Interrogation, Laundering,
Negotiation, Private Enterprising (Information)
Suggested contacts' affiliations: any
Special rules: Information Brokers substitute the average of all their
Etiquette skills (rounded to the nearest whole number) for Equipment
Acquisition skill in these rules.
People are always in need of money, and the Loanshark provides them with
just that when they have nowhere else to turn to for it. At gigantic
interest rates, of course, and if you don't (or can't) pay, some of his
goons will drop by and break a few of your major bones. That's about it,
Suggested skills: Etiquette (Corporate), Etiquette (Street), Laundering,
Negotiation, Private Enterprising
Suggested contacts' affiliations: corporate, criminal, gang, street
Special rules: Loansharks get to use Negotiation instead of Equipment
The Middle Man is the fixer shadowrunners deal with most of the time. He
(or she, of course) has connections all over the Sprawl, and mediates
between two parties that need each other somehow. In most cases, that
means Mr. Johnsons and shadowrunners -- if Mr. J needs a run set up, he
gives a call to a Middle Man, who in turn will contact the shadowrunners
he think will be best suited for the job. Johnson pays the Middle Man a
certain amount, and he then pays as little of it as he thinks he can get
away with, to the shadowrunners.
Middle Men sometimes also function as negotiators between parties that
need to work out their differences somehow, and/or provides them with a
secure place where they can meet.
Suggested skills: Etiquette (as many as possible), Laundering, Negotiation
Suggested contacts' affiliations: any
Special rules: the Middle Man uses Negotiation skill in place of Private
Enterprising, and the average (rounded nearest) of his Etiquette skills
instead of Equipment Acquisition.
Pushers sell ("push") drugs and BTLs to addicts. They buy their wares
from drug cartels operating out of South America and Asia, or from chip
manufacturers from Asia, Europe, or North America, increase the price a
good deal, and sell them on. A pusher is often the last link in a vast
network of smugglers, middle men, and fences, as well as the mafia,
the yakuza, legitimate businessmen, and/or other organized criminals.
Pushers often double as fences, because many of their customers don't
have the hard nuyen to pay with -- instead, they trade a couple of
car stereos or some antique jewelry against a shot of their favorite
drug or chip.
Suggested skills: Equipment Acquisition (Narcotics/BTLs), Etiquette
(Criminal), Etiquette (Street), Laundering, Negotiation, Private
Suggested contacts' affiliations: criminal, gang, street
Gurth@******.nl - http://www.xs4all.nl/~gurth/index.html
There were no pants -- it was the sixties.
-> NERPS Project Leader & Unofficial Shadowrun Guru <-
-> The Character Mortuary: http://huizen.dds.nl/~mortuary/mortuary.html <-
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