The One Percent
Due to the expensive nature of contacts, characters who are members of the One Percent can, after paying for conjoined living quarters, can spend the remainder of their lifestyle’s resources on maintaining Contacts, purchasing new Contacts, and upgrading Contacts to higher levels. As such, the following creates a semi-abstract system regarding Lifestyle that is similar to World of Darkness’ “Resources” system.
The characters’ lifestyle is set permanently at Luxury, as a requirement of the Campaign. However, while the characters must pay 100,000 Nuyen in upkeep per month (waived for the first six months of the game ICly), the home provided to the characters costs 76,000 Nuyen for upkeep due to the extended and expanded rules in Sprawl Survival Guide (Lifestyle Edges and Flaws). As such, 24,000 Nuyen is assumed to be spent on other luxuries and amenities not wholly dedicated toward the upkeep of the home.
Upkeep of the home includes bot maintenance, paying off the local police to look the other way, bribes to local politicians to allow the group to continue living there, keeping up the grounds, calling in exterminators if necessary, and so on. The lion’s share of this usually goes toward bot maintenance and bribes, considering that drones will often break down or require servicing due to the unique properties of the manor. This also includes upkeep on any vehicles kept at the house, upkeep on any weapons kept at the home, and restocking basic amenities such as food and the like.
The remaining 24,000 Nuyen is assumed to be used for drugs/BTLs and alcohol, paying for a private Matrix LTG similar to a corporation’s, etc.
As such, all characters must pay 25,000 Nuyen per month to maintain this lifestyle (for four characters, unless someone joins the game later on), following the six-month grace period (to allow the characters to train, grow, and give them the ability to stockpile a bit of cash in case of set-back).
This allows for 75,000 Nuyen to be spent on Contact upkeep, Contact purchase, and Contact upgrade. As the characters continue their runs, they will consistently meet characters that will want to assist them in some fashion, which can be purchased as contacts with this money. This money can also be used to replace broken or lost equipment (it is considered the cost of doing business).
For example: Leo decides that he needs more Contacts in more locations, so pays off his 25,000 Nuyen for the home and other amenities he requires (parties and the like). He pays his Contact upkeep and has some Nuyen left over. He decides to purchase four Level 1 Contacts this month at 20,000 Nuyen total. Next month, he adds their cost into his normal Contact upkeep and has 19 Contacts in total now, from levels 1-3.
Finally, this money can be used to purchase other Lifestyles. For example, if Orion wishes to have a safehouse at a High Lifestyle in UCAS, he can – after spending 25,000 Nuyen, expend an illusory 50,000 Nuyen in managing his other High Lifestyle absent the other members of his Team (known as Safehouse Upkeep from this point forward).
Not all characters are interested in keeping additional Contacts around, and as such this can also go toward fees involved in Initiation and dues paid toward a Magical Society if the characters choose to join one. For example, Krashenburn is not interested in purchasing new Contacts and, after upgrading all of his Contacts to level 2, he has around 60k,give or take a few thousand sitting around in his account that would normally go toward his Lifestyle. He decides to join the Vandal Society, allowing him to Initiate quicker and have more immediate help in learning spells and other magical training. The Vandal Society is a Level 3 (Worldwide) Initiatory Magical Group, and members are expected to tithe 25% of their normal income toward the Cause. Since Krashenburn’s “normal” income is considered to maintain his lifestyle, he kicks 25,000 Nuyen toward the Vandal society in monthly dues.
This money can also be used to bribe or pay off other people who are not considered part of the usual payoffs incorporated into the lifestyle (the local politicians and police, primarily). As such, it is very important to keep track of how much you have spent in Contact upkeep and purchase with the Lifestyle leftover money. For example: Kiera has purchased a couple new contacts and has upgraded some others. After doing her calculations on Contact Upkeep, and spending her 25,000 Nuyen on the group’s conjoined Lifestyle, she has about 37,000 Nuyen left over. During a run against Ares, she runs into some trouble with a security guard and offers him a bribe of 15,000 Nuyen. She may use her remaining Lifestyle money to do this, leaving her with 22,000 Nuyen for additional bribes if the situation comes up again. If not, she may use this leftover abstract Nuyen for whatever she wishes before the month’s end.
While this makes Lifestyle a more abstract concept, Lifestyle has always been considered both a mix of an individual character’s home life and the cost of doing business. This does not mean, however, that a character is limited on Contact upkeep, purchase, or upgrade in any fashion if they wish to spend Nuyen earned from runs, paydata, or other methods of earning money in the Shadowrun universe. If a character wishes to purchase another Luxury Lifestyle as a safehouse, they may do so and pay part of it with their remaining original group-paid Lifestyle, and make up the difference with earned Nuyen. Likewise, if a character wishes to upgrade a Level 2 Contact to a Level 3 Contact, they are able to without any restrictions. They may even use whatever money is left over from their Lifestyle as a “discount” to help pay for the upgrade.
Please note: This money does not roll-over. You use it or lose it during the month. During long spans of downtime, like when training, please note in Bluebooking for each month a character decides to do something other than Contact Upkeep with their Lifestyle Nuyen.