Player Run Plots

Player Run Plots

A Playerplot is a "Shadowrun" (or really, anything) in which a player character is in charge of the flow, order and implementation for a group of 1 or more PC's. In other words, the player is acting as an admin, running the scene for other players. Your PC can participate in the plot, to a greater or lesser degree, but it's far more fun if you stand back and let the other players do most of the work.

Playerplots are highly encouraged on Shadowrun Denver as a way to earn karma, cash, or even new contacts. While we as admins try to provide exciting and interesting Shadowruns and plots for you to participate in, sometimes there just isn't enough of us to go around to keep everybody occupied. That's where playerplots come in.

Don't limit yourself to thinking in terms of Shadowruns as being the only possible playerplots. Sometimes you can run something that's just a little one-night situation. You can run a playerplot involving finding a new contact, rescuing a kid, or really doing whatever. It should involve excitement, intrigue, and challenges to be overcome. This is what separates it from ordinary day-to-day roleplaying.

Step 1: Planning

Whether your plot is a simple little one-night exercise in fun or a long drawn-out plot with intricate elements, you should do some sort of plan. How much of this you plan in advance and leave set in stone, and how much you make up on the fly, is up to your individual gaming style. However, when you submit the log of your playerplot, you'll need to include an outline with these elements:

  • WHO: Who's involved? Who's hiring your group, if they are being hired? Who're they working against? Who're they working with? Who're they helping? And finally when submitting, who participated?
  • WHY: Why did this situation come about? Why did your group get involved? Why did events turn out as they did?
  • WHEN: When did the events occur, and when did other things in the plot happen?
  • WHERE: Where are the different elements? Where will/did the events take place?
  • HOW: How should the group act or have acted? Was this a stealth job, wetwork, or a strictly 'make a big boom' sort of thing?
  • WHAT: What is the mission? What are the goals you envisioned for the characters, and what got accomplished? What happened?

Step 2: Get Authorization?

Playerplots on this game do not require prior authorization by staff unless one or more of the following conditions is true:

1. The plot involves changes to the grid (i.e. existing buildings being blown up, etc).

2. The plot involves 'major' or 'named' NPC's in more than a very minimal role. This includes major NPC's like Dunkelzahn
or Damien Knight (named NPC's), or 'The President of Fuchi' (not named, but major). Bob Jones the security guard doesn't count, unless he's the brother of the CEO of Aztechnology). Also avoid using NPC's 'owned' by other players without their permission.

3. The plot involves some sort of major change in the gaming environment after the plot is completed. Like, Fuchi will now stop hiring runners. Things that only affect the characters in the plot are fine.

4. Plots involving major corporations as a whole. For example, basing your plot around the idea of Ares and Aztechnology being at war (unless we've posted news items relating to that) would require pre-approval. Plots involving a portion of a corporation (e.g. a division or department), a facility it owns (a single warehouse or office), or a small subsidiary are fine.

5. The plot involves a significant chance of PC death or permanent consequences. Normally, it's hard for you to kill PC's in a plot without their express consent. If you want to have that option open, you must get prior approval of this from staff and agreement of all PC's involved in the plot. If you wish this option, you must also specify the conditions under which one or more PC's can be killed or otherwise made to face severe, long-lasting IC consequences.

6. Long, involved, ongoing plots. Things longer than a week, or involving more than about eight to ten players, ought to get approval. You can start on it without approval, but if it goes on for a while we'd appreciate knowing about it.

7. Plots involving large, unusual, or exorbitant rewards. This includes: cash payouts more than twice the recommended values later in this document; unusual or unique items (experimental photon cannons, mystical uber-powered magical artifacts, etc); Extreme social relations (becoming the Don of the mob's bestest buddy, or having major dirt on the city council). Of course,this only applies if the characters are allowed to keep these nifties after the plot is over.

Getting prior authorization will also drastically reduce the likelihood of staff deciding after the fact that your payout was too high for the risk taken. If you're unsure whether you need authorization, run the idea by a staff member. In most cases, we're pretty lenient on it.

Getting Authorization

If it's needed or desired, you should submit your plot outline (described above under Planning) to the Plots queue (+help queues will provide information on how to do this). Please include the anticipated payout for the run either on a per-person basis or on a per-job basis. You don't have to have a list of people participating, though you might include a list of the types of characters you want/expect to have. This means that you can get the plot approved, then go recruit the team afterward.

Running the plot

The first step is to recruit the players. In most cases, you should let people know OOCly that you're going to be running a plot. Don't just walk into a bar and drop a pose without some kind of warning. Yeah, I know, we admins do it, but that's different. :)

ICly, of course, the plot can spring up without warning. A damsel in distress can run past, pursued by an angry mob. Whatever you choose. But give people an OOC/IC out if they don't want to participate.

While you can calculate the payout on a per-person basis, typically it's better to offer it on a per-job basis. Generally, corps hiring people don't care how many they get — they just want the job done. If it takes more of you, then you get paid less. So bringing in your friends after the meet… well, that ain't gonna fly. Have an idea of how many are really needed to do the run, and base the payout on that number, not on how many actually join in.

It's also important that players understand that while they're in your plot, you are the GM. You are, for the duration of and within the scope of your plot, acting as an admin, and that authority needs to be respected. They can bail out of the plot if they want (unlike an admin plot), but until they choose to do so, they are subject to your rulings. Players caught abusing this power will, of course, be dealt with by staff. Be responsible with your power.

You should also log the entirety of the playerplot. Include any @mails related to it in the log, if possible (legwork, for example). Make sure the players also understand that, potentially, the amount of cash and other rewards may be scaled back from what ICly 'happened', based on the decision of staff.

Submitting the Log.

Now, the fun part. Getting paid. Getting all that karma, cash, and equipment you've earned.

The first step is to format the log of the roleplay. Admins are going to want it in plain-text format most of the time, with all non-game related comments and chatter stripped out. Rolls should be left in, hopefully with the reasons for them as well. Check out '+qinfo logs' for instructions on how to submit your log. For longer plots, you may want to submit the logs in sections.

Next, you need to write up the summary, which should go at the top of your E-mail. The summary should include everything mentioned in part 1 (Planning) above, plus the following:

1. A list of everyone who participated.

2. Recommended karma, cash/gear, and rep awards for each person involved.

3. Any special notes you want to make for the staffer reading your log.

4. A brief (2 or 3 sentence) summary of what the log involves.

Normal Payouts. The following are a list of recommended payouts for 'Shadowrun' style plots. With non-Shadowrun plots (i.e. where there isn't a clear Johnson doing the hiring), you'll have to come up with an IC justification of where this money or gear comes from — it doesn't just magically appear. These are recommendations, and may be modified by extenuating circumstances. While these amounts are shown per-player, and include the total of money and/or gear that might serve as rewards, remember that Johnsons usually pay for a whole mission, not on a per-person basis.

  • 0 to 5K…. No real risk for pro runners. Rewards are usually incidental.
  • 5K to 15K.. Very little threat of injury, reasonably easy challenges to overcome. A cakewalk.
  • 15K to 35K Decent chance you might take a bullet or two. Especially if you don't play it real smart. Decent chance of failure.
  • 35K to 50K You'd better have a solid plan, good recon, and a good set of skills, or half your people will be coming back in body bags.
  • 50K and up You need to get the plot pre-approved, or run it as a powerplot (see Power Plots).

The above listed recommended payouts are what we, as staff, are going to be using to judge a Shadowrun. The question isn't how many people get hurt — it's how severe the threat is. I mean, if you walk into a very dangerous situation, but through good planning, good teamwork, good skills, and plain good luck you manage to come through without a scratch, that doesn't make it worth less yen.

If you want to try for the second two categories (above about 35K per participant), then we'll be looking for the following:

1. Bad guys that are played intelligently

2. A well-planned set of defenses around the target

3. At least one or two major surprises when the team gets there that weren't included in their briefing

4. A good IC reason why the J would want/need to pay this much cash for a runner team. Couldn't they just hire somebody else?

In short, if you want higher payouts, a longer, more involved, and creative plot with lots of twists and turns is a good idea. Such plots are also worth more karma as well. Also, try offering the runners a bit lower payout, and let them haggle their way up to the higher value. Real J's do that, just to see if they can, especially with less-experienced runners.

Gear As Payout

One thing we want to stress is that the 'payout' does not have to be in the form of cash nuyen. It can, in fact, be in the form of anything that ordinarily costs money, whether it by cyberware, bioware, equipment, vehicles, contacts, a new fake SIN, or anything else that has a cash value in some manner. One nice thing is that getting an item through a plot bypasses the availability requirements — you're not buying it, you're stealing it.

Items gained via plots are counted at 0.5 times their street value (base cost times street index) when considering whether the rewards from the run are reasonable according to the amounts posted in '+news policy playerplots8'. In other words, if we judge a run to be 'worth' a payout of 30K, then we'd approve a payout of 30K in cash, or 60K in gear, or 15K in cash and 30K in gear, etc. Once again, keep in mind that these payout limitations are not IC in nature. They're instead OOC restrictions that we as admins place on runs so they don't get out of control.

Contacts are not subject to this rule, as they have their own rules (see '+hr general contacts').


Playerplots are good. We like playerplots, and we want to do what we need to do to encourage them. They're not a cure-all, and they're by no means a quick, easy 'back door' to riches and infinite karma for your character. That's why all the restrictions are there, to help keep things from getting out of hand. We don't want to have to retcon playerplots that cross the line and get out of hand — retcons are a mess for everybody. Yet at the same time, we want to make sure that most playerplots are free to be run without a lot of red tape to go through.

Before you ask, yes, you can get karma from running playerplots, whether or not your PC is involved. You don't get extra karma from your PC being involved, but sometimes it's useful to be there and be able to inject ideas into the plot and kind of 'steer' things. But since you know what's going on, usually it's good to sit back and let the other players figure things out themselves.

In short, though, do plots. Lots of plots. The rewards from doing them are not just karma, not just cash, not just fun, but also the contribution you can make to a vibrant, active, and dynamic gaming environment for everyone.

Updated Notes December 10 2009

by Wyldfire

It should be noted, and this is pretty clear in '+policy playerplots' that the question of gear versus cash and whether or not a piece of gear is available, is completely up to the GM of the scene, and also to the admin who approves the plot onec the log is submitted.

There must be an IC mechanism for acquiring the gear, more than just calling up your fixer and ordering it for cash. It has to come out of the plot in some meaningful way. Let me further stress, as a reminder, that the 'halving' of the cost for gear taken as payout from a playerplot relates ONLY TO HOW IT IS COUNTED TOWARD OOC PAYOUT LIMITS!. I cannot stress that enough. People don't suddenly have sales on items just because you're in a plot. What we're saying, though, is that if your payout comes in the form of gear, it counts as half toward the consideration of whether 'x' plot was really worth 'y' nuyen in toto.

Put another way, the 'half-value from gear' question is entirely OOC - with no IC implications for it. Now, there are some IC explanations - for example, if you are dealing with Ares, you might be able to get some Ares weapons 'at cost' in effect as part of your payout, which can explain the half-cost situation in an IC way.

Let me given an example. In a plot, five shadowrunners steal five cars. Each car is worth 20,000 =Y= with SI. The approving admin decides the plot is worth 30,000 =Y=. Now, if the Shadowrunners get to keep the car (effectively, part of their payout), then they could also get 20,000 =Y= worth of cash. Why? Because the car counts as half value. It's gear. So 20,000 =Y= divided by two is 10,000. Take that from the 30,000 =Y= payout limit, and that leaves 20,000 =Y=. Gear's value is halved when considering the total payout limit of the run.

As always, however, your GM (and the approving admin) are the ultimate arbiters of this decision.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License