Shadowrun: Resoruces, Circles, and getting paid for the job.

I have played Shadowrun for a long time, but I long ago grew disillusioned with the actual system. After reading the Mouse Guard Rules, and the excellent Realm Guard hack, I decided that I would undertake a Shadowrun Hack for Mouse Guard.

One of my first concerns after deciding to undertake the project was that of how to represent monetary reward. Unlike the Mouse Guard, whose wages are paid out of the Lockhaven coffers, a ‘runner is paid by the job. If he doesn’t complete the job, he doesn’t make any money. If he doesn’t make any money, he can’t maintain his arsenal of weapons, programs, drones and magical doodads. I love the Resources stat, because it absolves both the GM and the players of the need to be part-time bankers and track their Nuyen with a calculator and a spreadsheet. But I do want there to be monetary consequences for missions, as I think it is one of the defining aspects of playing a ‘runner.

I am thinking about introducing a sub-stat for Resources and Circles, called Lifestyle. Every upkeep cycle (once a year, in what would be the equivalent of the Winter Session) will require a resources check, with a target number based on selected lifestyle. A player chooses a lifestyle at character generation. The lifestyle levels will be Street, Low, Medium, High, and Luxury, and the ob to test against would be 1,2,3,4,5, corresponding to the lifestyle. If the players fail the test, their resources are depleted by a point and they are reduced to the next lower level of lifestyle, as well as losing a point of circles to represent how they could no longer keep up with payments to informants, lose of contacts due to inability to compensate them for their time, loss of prestige in the Shadows because they can’t buy the most up-to-date gizmos and threads, or what have you. Every run they go on provides them with bonus die or success (depending on the pay rate of the run) if they complete the mission, and a comparable penalty if they fail. These will be used to modify the upkeep test. In this way the players have a motivation to go on runs without me having to give them a lot of resource dice all the time and inflating that value, or trying to work up a cash-on-hand style reward system.

Lifestyle would work like a trait, I think, allowing it to be used as both a benefit and a penalty as the payer wishes. It would also be possible to work in lifestyle based twists as needed, if appropriate to the player’s BIGs. A player would jockey for a higher lifestyle level the same way they would for any other Trait, as described on p. 160.

I don’t want have unnecessary tests that have no consequences for the players, but in SR I feel you need to have a monetary motivation for runs. Failed lifestyle checks could be used to make it harder for PCs to recover from conditions, represent their enemies coming for them, introduce similar types of complications, and so I think it might be the way to go.

Lifestyle could be another source of potential Players turn checks, which is a good thing, if people wanted to use the lifestyle to impede their actions in some way. It could also make it so that certain lifestyles require you to have a certain trait, or prevent you from having a certain trait (street lifestyle? You have the “Unwashed” trait. Low Lifestyle? You can’t take "Well Dressed)
Essentially, I am trying to represent the need to stay on the cutting edge in order to be a successful ‘runner, in a manner congruent with the existing rules.

What I am asking the more experienced folks here is if this seems sensible, if it seems like it would work, if it seems like it would add an unnecessary element of complexity to things, if it should be ignored entirely and instead just run resources straight, etc.

Feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

You’ve seen this, right?

Would love to see someone work up a detailed Shadowrun (SR) hack for MG. Posted some ideas about this last year which might be useful for you.
On Lifestyle I’d be tempted to just use Resources as an estimate for what Lifestyle a runner has for simplicity. I think there are plenty of other cool Traits you’ll want people riffing off.

I really like the simplicity of the hack on Might Atom, and especially the character sheet. But it screams “cyberpunk” rather than SR to me as I miss the ware, the matrix and the magic. Then again maybe I’ve played too much SR for my own good, so I can’t see the core flavour past the merchandise.