House rules for working without a Mr. Johnson and sourcing your own runs.
Sometimes, even as a shadowrunner, you need to do a job that doesn’t pay. Maybe it’s a sob-story (“They took her kid. We just have to get him back!”), maybe it’s a personal grudge (“I found the guy that geeked Bobby. We are going after him tonight!”), maybe it’s an opportunity you can’t pass up (“Ruby swiped the shipment schedule. Let’s hit it for ourselves!”), maybe it’s an important cause (“If we don’t stop this toxic shaman, no one will!”).
When a team of runners wants to put together a job like this, there are some planning steps, preparation costs, and some personal vested interest that goes into it. Below are some house rules that you can use to put together a run from scratch that involves the shared-storytelling elements of Shadowrun: Anarchy.
This uses some house rules about Street Cred, which you can read about here: Street Cred.
Determine Run Level: The players should first agree on a Run Level as a group. The Run Level can be 1, 2, or 3. The Run Level determines how many Scenes will be involved, the preparation costs, and the payout. A non-sponsored run will have one Scene per Run Level so there are quick jobs and long jobs.
Pay Preparation Costs: Each player spends Street Cred equal to the Run Level to source the run. It represents paying for information, assuring secrecy, getting equipment needed, etc. If a player does not have enough Street Cred to put up, another player can pay or the Run Level must be lowered (or sell a kidney?).
Add Tags and Threats: The players then take turns spending Plot Points to add Tags or Threats to the run. Adding a Tag to the run could establish an objective, a target, an involved party or faction, or a location. Adding a Threat to the run could determine enemies, obstacles, or plot twists. Players can choose to spend up to three Plot Points (or none).
Calculate Payout: Upon successful completion, the non-sponsored run pays out three Street Cred per Run Level. It also pays 1 Karma for each Plot Point that a player spent adding Tags and Threats to the run. The more a player helps shape the run, the more valuable the reward.
<<If you are not interested in using Street Cred, then consider skipping the Pay Preparation cost step. The reward should be 1 Karma per Scene plus one Karma per Plot Point spent. I find, however, that this concept works better when there is an investment on the part of the players and a potential for loss if the job goes bad.>>
Example: Four runners (Martial Weapon, Flux, Tennessee Tophat, and Skunky Brewster) just finished a job in Boston but they heard rumors that a group of Wuxing wage-slaves were trapped trapped in a building in the MIT&T Containment Zone. They decide they are going to go get them out - they could use a favor from an AAA corp because they have some Aztechnology problems brewing.
As a group, they decide that this will be a Run Level 1 with one Scene; we don't have a lot of time and they are looking for a quick job before heading home. Tophat is short on Street Cred (he is bad with money) so Martial pays for him. After everyone else pays up, they start spending Plot Points to establish Tags and Threats.
We go around the table: Martial (Target: Wuxing wage-slaves), Flux (Objective: extraction) <<easy so far...>> Tophat (Location: a Chinese kitchen), Skunky (Threat: Rent-a-cops) <<hmm...Knight Errant?>>.
Back around the table: Martial (Threat: bug spirits) <<interesting...>>, Tophat (Threat: enemy drones), Flux (Interested Party: Aztechnology) <<Oh Drek! It just got complicated!>>
After that, the players decide they are going to need to hold onto the rest of their Plot Points if they are going to face Azzies. I take a few minutes to gather my Threats, make some notes, and we begin!