Contact Rules

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Capability (Dice Pool)

A contact’s dice pool describing how well they can and are willing to perform a particular service for a particular character. Add the following together to form a contact’s dice pool:

  • The connection of the contact,
  • The loyalty of the contact,
  • 2 dice for every aspect that applies to the check,
  • The dice pool modifier for the contact’s archetype,
  • And the dice pool modifier for the contact’s faction should it apply.

Connection Rating

As described on page 386 of the core rule book, Connection Rating describes the capabilities of a contact.

A contact has a number of Aspects equal to their Connection Rating plus one. This value is global for public contacts on ShadowHaven. When it is upgraded, all players receive this upgrade.

Loyalty Rating

As described on page 386 of the core rule book, Loyalty describes the relationship between a contact and a player character.

To reflect a contact’s motivation to go above and beyond, Loyalty will, together with Connection Rating and Aspects, determine a contact’s Capability for any given service.

Loyalty also factors into whether a contact will accept compensation other than Nuyen.

Aspects

A number of keywords equal to their Connection Rating plus one, signifying areas of expertise and specializations applicable to the contact’s services. If you want your contact to be awakened/emerged you have to put one of their aspects as something related to the magical or resonance nature. This can be fairly freeform from 01 follower to security aware. Some examples:

  • A C2 Weaponsmith with the Aspects: Maces, Troll Weaponry and Krime
  • A C2 Investment Banker with Corporate Finance, Executives and EVO
  • A C3 Punk Band Frontman with Puyallup, Street, Anarchist and Music
  • A C2 Street Doc with Awakened Patients, Toxins and Drugs
  • A C3 Hermetic Mage with the aspects Hermetic Magician, Health, Manipulation and Ritual Spellcasting

The Flavor of a Contact and their Relationship to the World at Large

In this system, the flavor of a contact and their mechanical attributes are intended to go hand-in-hand. When writing a contact’s motivations, aspirations and vices, consider including hooks for Complications as Payment. When writing a Contact’s social ties, background and career path, try to develop their Aspects from it.

Contact Archetype

In addition to aspects, each contact has an archetype that modifies their dice pool for a certain type of action. Service contacts focus on active skills. Gear acquisition contacts get a bonus to finding stuff. Legwork contacts get a bonus to their knowledge skills. Generalist contacts balance their abilities but are weaker overall. Fixers are special.

Contact Archetype Dice Pool Modifier
Fixer Service Gear Legwork Networking Generalist
Knowledge Checks 0 4 -2 8 4 1
Active Checks -2 8 0 4 -2 1
Gear Acquisition Checks 4 0 8 -2 0 1
Networking Checks 8 -2 4 0 8 1

Fixers

Fixers have invested time and nuyen into your runner and as such they are more firmly in your corner and will not give up information about you except under exceptional pressure. They will organize rescue runs in the event you burn edge and generally ensure you won’t be screwed over by your Johnson. They also vet you to your Johnson, putting your J at ease. Your success is their profit, so they will ensure you can get to a meet and can complete the run.

We require every runner to have a fixer because we want someone who can advocate on your character’s behalf when should drek hit the fan.

Contact Faction

Each contact can have a faction. A contact’s dice pool can be modified by their faction’s attitude towards you (Cutting Aces, 160). You can treat a contact’s faction as an aspect on top of their normal aspects (a contact’s faction is not an aspect itself, merely treat the contact’s faction as if it were a valid aspect), but be careful when asking detailed questions about a contact’s faction. For example, an Ares contact may be concerned about you asking about their secret bug project site. You may have to roll a con test against the contact or other social tests.

Contacts will not burn a runner merely for running against their factions, business is business. But they will be upset if they know they were used in order to complete a run. They will also appreciate getting a heads up, especially if your run could endanger their lives or the lives of their loved ones.

If you and a contact share a faction, you gain +1 on contact tests. If you want your whole faction to know about the request, you may add the faction’s connection to networking and legwork tests. This may invoke complications in the run.

Contact Actions

Knowledge Checks

Ignore the contact legwork mechanics in core, pages 387-388.

Players may ask their contacts questions. What Aspects a contact has will define what areas they are knowledgeable in, a contact with the Aspect of ‘Gang member’ would know about other gangs, what their turfs are and who is who among gang leaders.

Contacts roll their Capability (Archetype modifier + Loyalty + Connection + (2 * number of applicable Aspects)) against the normal thresholds for knowledge tests as outlined in Core.

Contacts will freely give away information up to loyalty hits. However, if the contact gets hits over their loyalty, they may ask for nuyen or favors according to the table below with time equal to 1 hour. Consider the risk to the contact in providing this information, but generally, every hit over the loyalty is a favor.

Contacts can take up to connection rating in teamwork dice. If you help your contact, this does not apply to the dice pool when calculating costs.

Networking Checks

Ignore the contact legwork mechanics in core, page 388.

Contacts roll their dice pool to see if they know a person that would be in a position to be of use to the players, the test has a threshold of the desired Connection rating of the person being sought after. Their dice pool is the archetype modifier + connection + loyalty +  (2 * number of applicable Aspects valid to the type of person searched for). The GM sets the threshold as they deem thematically appropriate, a janitor might be C1 or C2 while the personal assistant of the mayor could be C5 or even higher.

Contacts will freely introduce you to other contacts whose connection ratings are equal or lower than your loyalty rating to that contact. Otherwise, it is considered a favor and the contact will want nuyen or a service for the connection according to the table below. Consider the risk to the contact in providing this connection, but generally, every hit over the loyalty is a favor.

Gear Acquisition Checks

Contacts roll their Capability (Archetype modifier+Loyalty + Connection + (2 * number of applicable Aspects))to see if they can find gear for characters with applicable aspects applying.

Loyalty 6 contacts apply a -4 dice pool penalty to the availability of gear.

Loyalty 5 contacts apply a -3 dice pool penalty to the availability of gear.

Loyalty 4 contacts apply a -2 dice pool penalty to the availability of gear.

Loyalty 3 contacts apply a -1 dice pool penalty to the availability of gear.

Loyalty 2 and up include discrete delivery.

Example: Trash Panda has the contact Ariel Lopez, a gear acquisition contact, at Connection 4, Loyalty 2. She wants to buy a foci from her contact. Ariel Lopez has the applicable aspects: Talismonger and Enchanter. Trash Panda would roll 4 (Connection) + 2 (Loyalty) + 8 (Gear) + 2 (Talismonger) + 2 (Enchanter) for a total of 18 dice, opposed by the availability of the foci she wants.  

Active Skill Check

A contact’s dice pool is equal to their Capability (Archetype modifier+Loyalty + Connection + 2 for any applicable Aspects), a contact with the Aspect of ‘Infobroker’ would add that Aspect to their dice pool for the purposes of doing a matrix search.

Contacts can take up to connection rating in teamwork dice. If you help your contact, this does not apply to the dice pool when calculating costs. Easy tasks with low favor ratings may be done freely by the contact up to loyalty rating. Everything over loyalty rating must be paid for as a favor.

Lend Gear and Services

Contacts lend gear based on their aspects. What gear a contact has is based on GM fiat. Follow the table to determine the max value of gear a contact will freely lend out.

Connection
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Loyalty 1 ¥94 ¥781 ¥2,188 ¥2,734 ¥3,516 ¥3,906 ¥4,297 ¥4,688 ¥5,469 ¥6,250 ¥7,031 ¥7,813
2 ¥375 ¥3,125 ¥8,750 ¥10,938 ¥14,063 ¥15,625 ¥17,188 ¥18,750 ¥21,875 ¥25,000 ¥28,125 ¥31,250
3 ¥1,500 ¥12,500 ¥35,000 ¥43,750 ¥56,250 ¥62,500 ¥68,750 ¥75,000 ¥87,500 ¥100,000 ¥112,500 ¥125,000
4 ¥6,000 ¥50,000 ¥140,000 ¥175,000 ¥225,000 ¥250,000 ¥275,000 ¥300,000 ¥350,000 ¥400,000 ¥450,000 ¥500,000
5 ¥24,000 ¥200,000 ¥560,000 ¥700,000 ¥900,000 ¥1,000,000 ¥1,100,000 ¥1,200,000 ¥1,400,000 ¥1,600,000 ¥1,800,000 ¥2,000,000
6 ¥96,000 ¥800,000 ¥2,240,000 ¥2,800,000 ¥3,600,000 ¥4,000,000 ¥4,400,000 ¥4,800,000 ¥5,600,000 ¥6,400,000 ¥7,200,000 ¥8,000,000

For gear over that price, a contact will lend it out at a rate of (7-Loyalty)*5% the remaining worth. Contacts expect their gear to come back in the same condition; make sure to patch up any bullet holes before returning it.

If you get in trouble, higher loyalty contacts will use this pool of money to try to bail you out. They do expect to get paid back ASAP.

Test Loyalty

This section overrides the RAW test of loyalty. Run Faster, Page 177.

Sometimes, your contact is holding the bag or otherwise finds themselves in a slotted up situation where throwing you under the bus would help them. If that is the case, roll 13-C with a threshold of (6-loyalty). If you beat the threshold, the contact will attempt to use their active skill dice pools and nuyen to help you out, risking themselves and their reputation. If you fail, under the bus you go.

Paying your Contacts

Services and Favor Rating

Capability (Loyalty + Connection + 2 for any applicable Aspects) can be rolled to determine a contact’s willingness and ability to provide a Favor, using the Favor Ratings table in Core 389. Use the rating given as a Threshold for the test.  The roll can be bypassed with GM Fiat determining success or failure. The test may, at GM discretion, receive some of the modifiers applicable to Social Tests (Core p140):

  • Projected outcome appears advantageous to Contact: +1
  • Projected outcome appears annoying to Contact: –1
  • Projected outcome appears harmful to Contact: –3
  • Projected outcome appears disastrous to Contact: –4
  • Character has a heavy bargaining chip / highly desirable favor to trade: +2

GMs are free to add additional modifiers as they feel appropriate to the situation.

If a contact is tricked into acting against their own interest and finds out, GMs may choose to to dock one or more points of loyalty rating as they feel appropriate and/or have the contact demand a favor in recompense.

Ultimately, the impact of player choice’s on a contact is the realm of GM fiat with thematics’ oversight. It is completely possible to do something ruinous to a contact that dissolves all their connection and/or loyalty.

Service Costs

Favor Ratings are also guidelines for the costs of getting help from a contact. These numbers are guidelines and GMs are free to adjust them to better fit with the payscale of the run (especially hooding runs, high risk of retaliation runs, etc). The suggested cost is based on the favor rating (as determined by the GM), and the dicepool of a the contact (A more skilled contact will charge more for their expert services.)


Favor Rating
1 2 3 4 5 6
Payment Type Hits (Nuyen) (DP/4)*100¥ (DP/4)*250¥ (DP/4)*600¥ (DP/4)*1,500¥ (DP/4)*6,000¥ (DP/4)*10,000¥
Hits (RVP) (DP/4)*0.05 RVP (DP/4)*0.125 RVP (DP/4)*0.3 RVP (DP/4)*0.75 RVP (DP/4)*3 RVP (DP/4)*5 RVP
Extended Service (DP/4)*hours*100¥ (DP/4)*hours*250¥ (DP/4)*hours*600¥ (DP/4)*hours*1,500¥ (DP/4)*hours*6,000¥ (DP/4)*hours*10,000¥
Favor/Run RVP (DP/4)*hours*0.05 RVP (DP/4)*hours*0.125 RVP (DP/4)*hours*0.3 RVP (DP/4)*hours*0.75 RVP (DP/4)*hours*3 RVP (DP/4)*hours*5 RVP

Magical/Resonance Services

The cost of magical and resonance services is up to the GM based on the risk of said service. GMs should account for the service’s drain/fading values while determining the risk to the contact. Magicians and technomancers are rare and know their worth, double the nuyen cost in the table above for their services.

Generally, 3 drain/fading is a rating 1 favor. 18+ drain/fading is a rating 6 favor. Double the nuyen cost again if the drain/fading exceeds 50% of the contact’s dice pool since that is generally when these things change from stun to physical damage. However, the favor rating can also be increased by circumstance. Sustaining a spell to go geek some rats is very different from sustaining a spell to go geek an Aztech blood mage in a Aztech pyramid. These are just guidelines and the favor rating should be both a discussion between the GM and player along with the contact and runner.

Complications, Side Objectives and Runs as Payment

GMs should have contacts take repayment for their services. This repayment can be in nuyen or tasks whose threat is determined by the RVP guidelines above.

Player Actions with Contacts

I Know A Guy Adaptation

Ignore the rules on RF 177. Instead use the following rules: Spend a point of edge, describe the contact, how you know them, and why they aren't your contact currently. The GM should assign a connection between 1 and 6 and loyalty to this contact, granting more connection for better or more entertaining flashbacks to the contact. You temporarily gain the contact for the run. You may buy the contact permanently at a 1 RVP or 2 CDP Discount, with a minimal cost of 1 RVP/2CDP.

Personal Contact Tags

Players may apply the following tags on their contacts without paying karma. They function exactly like RAW unless otherwise noted.

  • Blackmailed - Follows RAW rules (RF, 178)
  • Family - Treat this contact as having -1 loyalty for all tests except tests of loyalty, which are +1. You also earn one less chip than normal when doing favors for your family contact.
  • Intimidated - Follows RAW rules (RF, 178). You can not remove this tag once applied outside the use of memory magic or drugs during a run.

Buying and Upgrading Contacts

Buying Contacts

A contact costs:

  • (Connection+Loyalty)*2 CDP - 2 CDP
  • (Connection+Loyalty)*1 RVP - 1 RVP

Further:

  • Contact can be purchased at the price listed on the above table. Existing contacts must be bought at their listed connection as connection is global on ShadowHaven.
  • Contacts with a connection rating greater than 6 may only be gained as run rewards.
  • You may spend 20 faction reputation (Page 160, Cutting Aces) to buy a contact with a connection equal to or lower than that faction's connection at loyalty 2. (Connection 6 cap still applies)

Upgrading Contacts

To upgrade a contact's connection or loyalty:

  • Upgrading the connection past 6 requires thematic approval. When a contact's connection is upgraded, everyone with the contact gets the upgrade.

Contact Availability Checks

Contacts have their own lives. A GM can make a contact available or unavailable due to a situation where a runner can intervene. Generally, higher connection contacts are more busy.

If a GM doesn’t care either way, ignore the core rules (SR5 Core, 387) and instead roll 2d6+Loyalty (Connection). Note this works like an initiative roll, not hits; if the total of the two dice and your Loyalty exceeds the contact’s Connection, the following applies:

On a tie, the contact isn't immediately available but will get in contact with the character after what the GM deems a thematically appropriate delay. They will also have a reason or complication regarding why they couldn’t return the message.

With 1 higher than the threshold, the contact will immediately answer the runner but explain a situation or complication that they need to resolve before helping the runner. The runner may intervene in these situations.

With 2 or more higher than the threshold, the contact is immediately available with no complication.

Add the number of chips you owe to the connection threshold. Subtract the number of chips you are owed from the connection threshold.

Contact Restrictions

  • Contacts may not have qualities.
  • Contacts tend not to use their edge for the players, but the GM may rule they can for certain rolls.
  • Contacts may not be current or retired player characters, infected, spirits, AI, Drakes, Dragons, or Named NPCs from a Shadowrun sourcebook.
  • Contacts will only operate in the way specified by the GM.
  • Contacts are people as well and are not at the beck and call of the PCs. GMs should portray them as such and the contact might require payment/favors for some tasks.
  • All off table gear rolls are not counted as in person, therefore tailored pheromones, suit bonuses, some adept powers, etc, do not apply.

Other Deviations From RAW

  • Improving Loyalty with Chips is Banned (Run Faster, 176)
  • Social Networking is Banned (Run Faster, 177). Instead, players may freely contact multiple contacts and ask them to work together on a test, paying all their associated fees.
  • Unpaid chips (Paying Off Debt, Run Faster, 178) does not degrade loyalty over time. Instead, owed chips modifies your contact availability tests until paid off.
  • Contact Loyalty Degrading Over Time is not in effect (Maintaining Contact Relationship, Run Faster, 178)
  • The “Using Con/Seduction” is not in effect since contacts don’t lose loyalty over time. You may still lie or seduce your contacts to achieve other goals during runs.  (Run Faster, 177)

Aspect Details

Negative Aspects

Adding a negative aspect to a contact grants it an additional positive aspect. GMs are encouraged to leverage the negative aspect of contacts a player involves in a run to make said run extra spicy. Removal of negative aspects are under the oversight of thematics. You may only use the aspects listed below. The lifespan of contacts with negative aspects is also questionable. Additional negative aspects may be submitted to Thematics for approval, but may not be assigned to contacts until they have been approved and added to the list.

  • Wanted
  • Blissfully Unaware - This is someone who doesn't think that their contacts are runners and doesn't understand the whole runner thing. If they find out you are a runner, immediately make a test of loyalty. If you fail the test of loyalty, they will think you are a terrorist, burn you and contact law enforcement. If you succeed in a test of loyalty, they will be willing to listen to you explain yourself and even help you leave the runner life. You may be able to convince them to associate with the Shadows. Contact a GM or thematics if this happens as it may involve the removal of that tag. Gear contacts with this contact will only sell you legal gear, or restricted gear with the appropriate licenses unless you conduct a social test to convince them the lack of paperwork is for a benign reason.
  • Toxic Magic/Dissonance
  • Hard to reach - Always do an availability test for this contact with their connection +3 than normal.
  • Unreliable - The GM rolls in secret a 1d6. If the roll a one the contact will say, with complete confidence, that they will do the request or that they have the right information. They will then flake out or their information will be wrong. They will say they got the gear then accidentally sell it to another person.

Positive Aspects

List of potential positive Aspects (You are allowed others, but we wanted to inspire people. Thematics has oversight over aspects and may veto them.)

Aspects can stack, but should not be synonymous for the same thing already on the contact. Ideally, they should get more specific the more you go.

Good example: Weapons Dealer > Firearms > Krime > Shotguns

  • This example is good because while they are going to be REALLY good at finding you a Krime Wave, their specializations tend to branch off of each other and they won’t all apply in all attempts at acquiring gear.

Bad Example: Arms Dealer > Weapons Smuggler > Armaments Expert > Supply Sergeant

  • This example is bad because all 4 aspects are basically the same thing, and all 4 would always apply to every roll made to acquire any weapons.


A few positive aspect examples are listed below. You may create your own as well; however, thematics holds veto power over any aspects.

  • Service Type (Armorer, Doctor, Smuggler, etc.)
  • Drones
  • Cyberware
  • Bioware
  • Blades
  • Blunt Weapons
  • Automatic Firearms
  • Handguns
  • Longarms
  • Heavy Weapons
  • Drugs
  • Electronic Accessories
  • Commlinks
  • Cyberdecks
  • Rigger Command Consoles
  • Milspec Gear
  • Consumer Grade
  • Ammunition
  • Equipment Brand, e.g. Ares, Krime, Shiawase
  • Magic Tradition (Dark Magic, Missionist, Vodou)
  • Magic Category (Combat, Illusion, Detection, Manipulation, Health)
  • Spirit Type (Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Man, Beast, etc.)
  • Focus Type (Qi, Power, Sorcery, Conjuring, etc.)
  • Fake SINs
  • High-Fashion Armor
  • Tactical Armor
  • Firearm Accessories
  • Armor Accessories
  • Explosives
  • Software
  • Extreme Environments
  • Vehicles
  • Medical
  • Blackmail
  • Private Info
  • General information
  • Building layouts

Group Contacts

Diverging from RAW, group contacts have been redesigned to fit more neatly into an LC setting, and to be dynamic, changing with player action. Group contact will have 4 stats, health, connection rating, player joinability, and type.

New group contacts should be suggested to the Thematics Department, and cannot be player created. Factions can be player created, but must gain approval from thematics to be joinable.

Health: Health is a direct measurement of how this group is currently doing, it goes from lowest to highest: Maimed, Bruised, Maintaining, Boosted, and Invigorated, each giving -2, -1, +0, +1, and +2 to all actions done by or through the faction. This can be changed through runs benefiting or hurting the faction, or overall events happening in the Shadowrun world, and will head back or forward one point towards the middle every 2 months, barring significant events or faction destruction. For example, the Halloweeners have not been featured in any recent runs or lore, so they are assumed to be going about business as normal or whatever those gangers would consider normal. NeoNet, on the other hand, is not doing too well, so is on the lower side of health, even though there haven’t been any runs against them. Finally, a GM has been running a series of games featuring the Black Lodge, and they have been doing very well, bringing them up to invigorated.

Connection:This represents the power, influence, and assorted other connections a group has, expanded from 1-3 to 1-5. These are the bonus dice a PC gets when using the faction for legwork or networking, as per RAW. The ratings roughly represent as follows

1: A group with little power or influence, if any. A book club, small mage study group, or things of that nature would fall under this category.

2: While not a true power player, this group has quite a bit of influence at a local level, and can sway things in that area. Groups include street gangs, small policlubs, and the like.

3: Considerable power in an area and even abroad, this includes A level corporations, major criminal syndicates, Shadowhaven itself, etc.

4: This is where the true power players are, Nations like the UCAS, Canton Confederation, or Amazonia, along with AA Corps, would fit here.

5: This is solely the realm of the AAAs.

It is up to the GM how much of the connection rating a PC has access to. If a Neonet citizen PC wishes to dig up info on a SK executive without being noticed, for example, they would not get the full bonus as they are not using the entirety of the group’s resources. These ratings can only change for player created groups, and even then, will require a lot of effort. In addition, PCs with Made Man gain 2 automatic hits to tests done through their group.

Joinability: Not all factions are joinable, though all group contacts are. However, there are some requirements.

To join a corporation, the Corporate Limited SIN or Corporate SIN negative quality is required.

Those with the Made Man and Prime Datahaven Membership qualities are automatically a member of their factions, and do not have to spend any additional karma.

Join a group at Character Generation: At character creation, players can join groups by spending karma equal to the group’s connection times two plus 1 as if the group contact was a positive quality. They may also join an organized crime faction by taking the Made Man quality or a Datahaven by taking the Prime Datahaven Membership Quality.

Join a group after Character Generation: After character creation, players can join groups by spending karma equal to the group’s connection times four plus 2 as if the group contact was a positive quality. Those taking the Made Man quality must first demonstrate a long standing relationship with the organized crime group. Those taking Prime Datahaven Membership must demonstrate their worth to the Datahaven.

Barring qualities, loyalty starts and ends at 1.

Group type: This should be fairly obvious, a gang is a gang, a Corp is a Corp, a secret death cabal is a secret death cabal, and thus outlines what a group can and can’t help with. For example, using the Halloweeners to help find a local ghoul nest would gain benefit of their connection rating, but connecting a PC with a reclusive hermetic archaeologist would not gain any benefit. This is all GM fiat.

Additionally, separate group contacts will have tenets, for example, the Vory forbid cooperating with authority, that PCs will have to visibly abide by to stay in the group. Individual group contacts might also gain bonuses, such as the Red Hot Nukes allowing for easier requisitioning of explosives. These bonus will be decided on a group by group basis.

Faction Rep

Players with a group contact gain 1 faction rep with that faction for every run they complete after purchasing it. Furthermore, faction rep can be spent to acquire a faction-related public contact at the cost of 5 x Connection and 2 x desired Loyalty. A faction-related public contact can also have its connection increased at the cost of 10 x Connection. As usual, contacts with more than 6 connection must be approved by Thematics, and Loyalty cannot exceed 4 without a run. Multiple players with the same group contact may pool their faction rep for global purchases, such as increasing a public contact's connection.

Group Contact Examples

Rogatty Vydra is a vory enforcer with the made man quality. He calls his Vory friends looking for a place to lay low, rolling Shadow Community to find a place. The Vory is making a lot of nuyen with the syndicate war, so their health is at boosted. He rolls intuition (5) + his knowledge skill rating (4) + his group’s connection (3) + the group health bonus (1) or 13 dice. He rolls and gets 4 hits which add onto his 2 autohits from being a made man for 6 hits. He is able to find one of the best hidden places in the shadows.

The group is having trouble learning about their extraction target. Photon, a member of the Grey Wolves, tries reaching out to her network. She rolls her intuition (4) + her knowledge skill in notable matrix specialists (5) + her spec in technomancers (2) + her group’s connection (3). She gets 5 hits on 14 dice and learns a lot about their target, including the fact they are in vacation in London at the Grand Hilton. However, the Grey Wolves are allied with Spinrad Industries. In preparation for becoming SpinGlobal, they need expert matrix sculptures. A member of the Grey Wolves offers Photon 15K nuyen to each member of her team to screw over their Johnson. At stake is plus or minus reputation with the Grey Wolves.