Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is It Double Dipping?

Forgive me if this post is a bit more cluttered, random, or rambling than my normal ones. I'm writing it just before it goes up after wrapping up my Shadowrun session for the night. The session went well, and the group made a lot of progress on their current job. In the process they had their first run in with a mage, and sure enough that run in has resulted in one of the PCs being dead. Now, Shadowrun has rules for staying alive despite this (burn an edge) but what may happen has me wondering if the PC may be double dipping the rules here or if it is something where I am also fine with it going down.

The Aftermath
The aftermath in question is the player has decided that they are going to burn the edge to have the character live, but they are going to retire the character and bring someone new in as the character goes and does something other than being an active runner for the rest of their life.

How Is It A Double Dip?
I feel this would be a double dip as a new character coming in would come in with the Karma rule giving them some bonus XP, but the original character would still be alive.

Why Wouldn't It Matter?
Ultimately, I'm not sure how much this would matter. The new character would still have less XP than anyone else, which is "punishment" enough. Plus the original character is out of Player hands, so they are out of the game. Effectively they are dead, and they died a good death so they get karma.

Why I'm Conflicted
The conflict here comes from the game being Shadowrun. In my L5R game I would just have the player bring someone new in, throw them some XP, and have that be that. However, I run my L5R games a lot more narratively than I do other games and I am specifically trying to run this game by the book with Shadowrun. Even on Pink Mohawk Shadowrun is a more "old school" type of game. The kind of game designed around being hard, brutal, and lethal.

These are the kind of games where dying is supposed to have a penalty, and the penalty is a weaker character. However, you get rewarded for dying well in character (the karma rule), but retiring a character is essentially wanting to start over.

What Will I Do?
Having listed things out this way I'm thinking the reasons in "Why Wouldn't It Matter" make the most sense. The character did die well, and retiring is effectively the character dying as a PC. As an NPC they open up a lot of opportunities for the game and the characters. Because of this I think it may be the strongest way to do things for the game.

Anyone have other thoughts on this?


  1. It sounds like it does a lot for the story, so I say it's great. If the players start swapping out characters all the time, that would be a problem, but I really doubt that will happen.

  2. This brings up some great subjects.

    This hasn't come up yet in the new campaign I'm running but it will very soon - at what XP level do you bring in new characters? I'm thinking similar but lower to the other characters.

    A.L. and others, could you make a comment about when a player brings in a new character, either because they're new to the game or because their character died, generally at what XP level do you bring them in at in respect to the other characters?

  3. I did a post on this a few years ago (here: ) but I may need to bring it up again.

    It all depends on the game. In my L5R games I would probably bring a new person in at 75% the average XP of the group. If the group is scattered and varied, I might do 10-20XP below the lowest XP perosn.

    In other games, I have enforced the "you come in fresh" rule where if you died you brought in a level 1 PC and went with that.

    Karma rules are often good to reward particularly good in character deaths.

    Really, it depends on the game. For Dark Heresy, keep in mind that a LOT of power comes from gear more than abilities. That said, being the levle 1 guy when everyone else is level 5 is just asking that player to lose another character right quick. For that I'd recommend take the XP level of the group, and dock the person a couple hundred to a couple k depending (i.e. if they're rank 5, go for rank 3 or so)

  4. Thanks A.L., just had two PC deaths & and a new player is joining next session... so this subject came up just in time!