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Shadows over Baltimore


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Connection Rating

Connection measures how influential the contact is. The higher a contact’s Connection rating, the more people he knows and the more personal pull he has. Connection normally ranges on a scale of 1 to 6. The Connection Rating Table provides a description of how the various Connection Ratings should be portrayed.





Knows very few people and has practically no social influence. Many are useful only for their Knowledge skills. Examples: squatter, manual laborer, academic graduate assistant.


Knows some people but doesn’t have a lot of personal pull. Examples: gang member, bartender, mechanic, mob soldier, corner hustler, corporate wageslave.


Meets people on a regular basis and has some personal pull. Examples: beat cop, private investigator, street doc, corporate secretary, club owner, street-level fixer or fence.


Knows many people or may be in a leadership position. Examples: gang boss, mob lieutenant, police detective or sergeant, corporate middle manager, low-level Mr. Johnson, fixer or fence with regional ties.


Knows lots of people over a larger area, or holds a senior leadership position: police captain, corporate division manager, high-level Mr. Johnson, fixer or fence with national ties.


Well-connected individual who knows people all over the world, or holds a key executive position. Examples: mob boss, corporate executive, Mr. Johnson or fixer or fence with international ties.


Loyalty Rating

Loyalty determines how much the character can rely on the contact. Some contacts aren’t willing to do anything more than they’re paid for, and will have no qualms selling the character out if someone flashes them enough cred. Others will be actual friends, willing to provide favors, cover for the character, and stick out their necks a little—though not too far. Still others are hardcore pals who have the character’s back; they will take any risks and go down to the line if necessary. The Loyalty Rating Table details how various Loyalty ratings should be handled.


The Loyalty rating is usually applied as bonus dice whenever the character is negotiating with the contact. It may also serve as modifier or threshold whenever a third party attempts to squeeze information about the runners out of the contact.





Just Biz. The character and contact have a purely mercenary relationship. Interactions are based solely on economics. They may not even like each other, and will not offer any sort of preferential treatment.


Regular. The relationship is still all business, but contact at least treats the character with a modicum of respect, like regulars or favored clients.


Acquaintance. A friendly relationship exists between character and contact, though it would be a stretch to call it a friendship. The contact is willing to be inconvenienced in small ways for the character, but will not take a fall for her.


Buddy. A friendship or solid level of mutual respect exists. The contact would be willing to go out of his way for the character if necessary.


Got Your Back. The contact and character have an established relationship and level of trust. The contact will back the character even in risky situations.


Friend For Life. The contact will do whatever he can for the character, even if it means putting his own life on the line.


Using Contacts

The value of a contact lies in what he can do for the player character. In general, player characters can use contacts in one of four major ways: legwork, networking, swag, and favors.



Before a character can obtain a contact’s help, he has to get in touch with the contact first; they don’t just sit around waiting for someone to call and ask for favors. A contact’s availability should first and foremost depend on the gamemaster’s plans for the adventure at hand.  If the gamemaster is playing it by ear, and doesn’t care either way about the contact’s involvement, then simply roll 1D6. The contact is available if the result equals or exceeds the contact’s Connection rating—after all, the more connected the contact is, the less time he has available. Keep in mind that other factors may affect a contact’s availability, such as the character/ contact being hunted or under investigation, favors owed, how the character treated the contact last time, etc.



Legwork is the primary function of most Shadowrun contacts. In a typical adventure, legwork means following up on or discovering clues by investigating people, places, and situations. Contacts provide one of the best ways for runners to get the information they need. Most published adventures include a Legwork section that contains success tables listing information available to the runners from these sources. When a character asks a contact for information, there is a chance that the contact may already know the answer. Make a skill test using any of the contact’s appropriate Knowledge skills + linked attribute to determine if the contact knows and exactly what he knows.


If the test is successful and the contact knows something, then the gamemaster will have to determine if the contact is willing to share that information. Generally contacts will readily share information if it’s inconsequential to them and they wouldn’t be hurt if word got out. If the contact knows something that he was asked to keep confidential, or if he thought he would be hurt if the wrong people learned he knew it, he will be reluctant to share it. In this case, a Negotiation Test will be necessary to get the contact to divulge what he knows; apply the contact’s Loyalty rating as extra dice to this test. If the contact does not know, then he can ask around and find out the answer. Make a Charisma + Connection Extended Test with an interval of 1 hour. The gamemaster may choose to use an appropriate Knowledge Skill in place of Charisma. The threshold is based on the gamemaster-determined difficulty of the question/information sought, as noted on the Extended Test Difficulties table. The gamemaster should apply any modifiers she feels are appropriate, especially if the information sought is outside of the contact’s normal sphere of influence/ knowledge.



Favor covers all other types of assistance a contact can give, from fixing a shot-up vehicle, to on-the-spot first aid, to giving a character a crash pad to hide out in. Any sort of direct help by a contact generally counts as a favor.


There are two types of favors that can apply to contacts: business services and personal assistance. Business services cover anything that a character could obtain from a complete stranger, such as equipment repair or medical treatment (nothing personal, just business). Usually a character will go to a contact for a business service because the character wants to keep the transaction “under the table” without the authorities (or other unwanted individuals) finding out. A contact will charge the standard rate for any services rendered, though the character may try to haggle for a “friendship discount.” If this happens, make a Negotiation + Charisma Opposed Test, adding the contact’s Loyalty rating to the character’s dice pool, with each net hit on either side raising or lowering the fee by 10 percent, as appropriate.


Personal assistance is more nebulous and covers all sorts of assistance that isn’t paid for with cash. Usually it will be up to roleplaying and the gamemaster’s judgment to determine whether or not a contact is willing (or able) to render personal assistance. Sometimes, however, more formal guidance may be needed.


To help determine how big a personal favor the player character is asking, gamemasters may consult the Favor Rating Table. Favor ratings range from 1 to 6; the higher the number, the larger the commitment and risk the contact is taking. Contacts will normally agree to personal assistance with a Favor rating equal to or less than their Loyalty rating. If the Favor rating exceeds the contact’s Loyalty rating, the character will need to convince the contact with a Negotiation + Charisma Opposed Test.


If a player character resorts to a Negotiation Test to obtain the contact’s cooperation, the character will owe the contact a favor (or even several) in the future. How the favor is repaid depends on the gamemaster, but it should be at least equal in Favor rating, perhaps reduced by one per net hit scored on the Negotiation Test. Of course, a gamemaster can use a favor owed as a plot hook opportunity for a new adventure (see Favor for a Friend).





Minor. Deliver a message to someone. Provide access to a low-level restricted security area (airport boarding area, police station).


Low Risk. Loan use of specialized equipment (up to 5,000 in value). Corporate action requiring the signature of a first-line supervisor.


Medium. Provide access to a mid-level restricted security area (standard corporate research lab).


Moderate Risk. Loan use of specialized equipment (up to 50,000 in value). Corporate requisition requiring the signature of a middle manager.


Serious. Provide access to a high-level security area (FBI offices, AA megacorporate headquarters,

AAA regional headquarters).


Major Risk. Loan use of specialized equipment (up to 500,000 in value). Corporate requisition requiring the signature of a senior manager or junior executive.


Influence indicates where a contact has connections. A corporate executive would most likely not know what the name of the newest drug to hit the streets is, however he would be a better source of information on Ares latest project than a street dealer. For the most part a player can pick one or two Influences for a chosen contact, however what is chosen must fit within the realm of possibility and common sense.

Street- This category covers all street level information, street gangs, neighborhoods, police activities, shadowrunner information.

Corporate- The latest technology coming out, corporate goings on, executive secrets.

Political- Local, Federal and International governments, non corporate international policies.

Criminal –Organized crime, the syndicates, power players in the underworld, markets and territories.

Military –Government, Corporate and Military professional fighting forces, advances and tactics of units, well known officers.

Media –Covers a wide spectrum, from televised sports matches, hottest club acts, simsense stars, gossip on the socialites.

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