[RPG] How to handle greedy shadowrunners


So, my players want to keep everything. They love the money they earn, but having something unique is even better. We had a long discussion that they couldn't keep an awakened rhino with wings (the mascot of the city they're running, which they had to rescue).

I want to design a run where they shall steal a formula or magic item which enables the user to force awakening of other people (it has something to do with my metaplot). But I'm pretty sure that they will not deliver it to their Johnson (which will be a close friend of them) but instead want to keep it in order to probably awaken themselves or well… "just in case, y'know". I could make the item cursed or let it break, but this is not my intention. I want to "educate" my players that they really do not want those things they have to steal.

How do you handle those "We want to keep EVERYTHING"-runners? The last time (rhino) was their very first run so I, as a GM, explained to them that their streetrep will suffer and that after not completing their first mission they would never again get a job.
But nowadays they have a good rep, some high and loyal connections and probably think that they could manage this.

I know, as a GM there should always be the "Yes, you can, but …" – but in most cases I think that their characters (they want to be super professional runners) would not act like their players ("UUUUH, I want to keep all the shiny things!!").

Best Answer

Let them

No seriously, let them.

They want to keep the McGuffin of doom, the schematics to the bank that the Johnson asked them to get, the sacred Rhino of the city?

Let them keep them.

They're seriously writing plot for you right here, don't speak to them as a GM saying "If you do that, X..." they're experienced runners now; this is fine at the start of games when players are learning systems, but when they know the world more, they've done a few runs - they need to expand out and be let free from the cotton wool of GM warnings.

Give them an OOC 'the talk' before the next game; "You're experienced runners now, what you do is up to you, what happens will happen as a consequence of that, so think carefully about stuff before you do it."

You can still give them warnings that their characters know about, if they wouldn't think of... "Hey Street sam, you know for a fact from your street contacts that holding onto a jacket from the DOOM X bikers gang is a way to get the gang hunting you down. Just so you know."

Why letting players keep stuff is great for your game

  • It puts the players more in control of the game, makes them feel like there is less railroading and hell, they get to keep stuff! They like that stuff.
  • Consequences. Oh such a beautiful word. Where the hell would they keep the sacred Rhino? If they keep the schematics of the bank what are they going to do with them? If they don't hand them over or the McGuffin then they might get a group of people coming after them. And for this formula? Well, they can use it. They could sell it. But if they've got it then the person who hired them is still going to want it. Bad enough to hire people to take them down, or, y'know extract it from their bodies with a syringe...
  • Or so they've got the schematics for the bank, they can try and crack it themselves, they're giving you plot hooks! They've got a rhino; okay, so how are they going to get the half tonne of specialised rhino food every day for the thing? And think of all that lovely rhino dung that they get to pick up ;)

Rep is great, it gets you off the hook; but like stocks and shares, it can go up and down. If they start doing Jobs for their Johnson and not finishing as required, then the next one will be a bit harder to do, the pay less... and so on.

Let them keep the stuff. Really.

Don't say anything. Well maybe just...

Player: Screw the Johnson, let's keep this Sabre-X missile launcher, it's awesome.
Other Players: Hell yeah!
GM: ~smiles to themself~ ~writes something down~

They'll learn to fear that smile ;)

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