Riposte 1997: Part 5
By Blackjack [Blackjack's Shadowrun Page: www.BlackjackSR.com] [BlackjackSRx@gmail.com] [@BlackjackSRx]

Posted: xxxx

I roleplay with a bunch of 14 year olds who really like to senselessly kill in Shadowrun. To kill children, their Johnson, their friends, themselves.... What can I do?

There are some problems even I cannot solve; post-adolescent mindless violence being one of them. Some people at a certain age are simply too mentally immature to think their way out of situations. The array of games (primarily computer) that exist for the sole purpose of allowing people to blow other people away isn't helping either. All I can suggest is that you find another group of players.

Did you know that ĎDrekí is a real word? Itís Yittish for ĎShití.

Sure, It's a real word. But until a fair sized portion of the population starts using it, it's still a dork word.

Are Index Cards a good way to keep track of NPCs?

Index cards work EXTREMELY well. I did that for a long time, and still occasionally do (Actually, I print out NPC information on index card sized pieces of paper.) One plus of that system is that you can write up NPCs, info, and stats at random and then build them into a run. Also, you can reuse cards for Sec Guards, Gang Members, and other NPCs that don't tend to last very long in games. One thing I used to do is paste condition monitors on the backs of all the NPC cards for convenience.

What should the skills and overall power ratings of NPCs be?

The skill and overall power ratings of your NPCs should be about equal to or a little less than the skills of the PCs. As PCs get better, they'll start fighting more and more powerful people. There really isn't any kind of 'normal' NPC skill rating. The idea is to create NPCs that keep challenging the PCs as the PC's skills improve.

When PCs start out, their skills are pretty low. So the GM should create NPCs with skills that are pretty low. Generally, beginning PCs get pretty bad runs. At least mine do. For their first run I usually have them steal a formula from an ice cream factory. The kind of people guarding such a factory would have pretty poor skills, but not so poor that they don't create a challenge for the PCs.

As the PCs get better, the runs improve, and the enemies get more powerful. Eventually, a PC may have to run against Renraku. A Renraku guard has skills that are as good as the PC's, if not better.

Also, it is important to make sure the NPCs match the abilities of the PCs, not just their skills. If the PC group has a magician, the NPCs better too. If the PC group has a powerful samurai, the NPCs should have a powerful foe or several less powerful members. The idea is to create a PC/NPC balance that is 'almost equal, but tipped slightly in the PC's favor'. If the balance is tipped too far towards the NPCs, you end up with too many dead players. Of course, occasionally you will want to tip the balance in the NPCs favor when you want to create a REAL challenge; a challenge that could possibly get a PC killed.

So, as you can see, you can't really say 'An NPC should have a rating of (whatever)'. It all depends on the power of the PCs, the situation at hand, the type of people in the PC group, etc.

If you wanted to create an archenemy for use against the PCs, just look at the PC's skills and create an NPC that's better. Simple.

Do you improvise on every rule aspect of shadowrun?

You mean 'do I screw with the rules'? Hell, yes. All the time. To me the rules serve as merely a guideline to how the game should be run. Many of them are flawed anyway, and almost all of them are overly complex.

However, when I mess with the rules I make sure the 'revised on the spot' versions aren't biased towards either the PCs or NPCs. I won't bend a rule one way to shaft a PC and then bend it the other to help an NPC. Everybody gets equally screwed.

A player in my group is a destruction addict (If his computer didn't bite, he'd be a Duke Nukem addict). How can I go about dropping a cow on him & other PCs or at least alter their views to what normal peoples' views are?

A cow might not even phase him. He'd just build another PC, you'd have to drop another cow, he'd build ANOTHER PC, you'd continue to drop cows, until, after three or four years of this, Seattle wouldn't even be visible from beneath a dense layer of rotting space cows.

So you may have to be a little indirect. Whenever the PC goes on a rampage, keep track of everybody he messes with. Then, at some point in the game, have everything come back to haunt him. BUT - and here's the most important part - have the individuals seeking revenge use methods the PC couldn't physically fight against. Matrix attacks against his accounts, disinformation which will damage his rep, undercover government units that shut down his contacts, etc. Elevate things to the point that he can't even buy a gun, because nobody trusts him. Sic a Life Waster on him (NPCs From Hell #2). Make his PC's life so miserable that he'll have to be less violent or things will get to the point that he can't be violent at all because he can't buy a friggin gun.

My roleplaying group has discussed using the Firearms skill when firing the Ballista Rocket Launcher because the fireing mechanism is point and shoot - like a gun. What do you think?

You have to use a different system of logic when firing weapons of mass destruction (i.e. rocket launchers). It's more difficult than simply pointing the little designator and pulling the trigger. You have to ask yourself: "Am I hitting the right part of the target so when the blast goes off it A: does a sufficient amount of damage?, B: doesn't catch me in the blast? C: doesn't blast parts of the target back at me?" etc.

Many role-playing games out there require a specific skill for EACH SPECIFIC WEAPON, which makes sense. If you've ever fired a gun, you know that even different pistols can require drastically different styles of aiming, reloading, etc. If, in reality, you fired a .45 revolver like you would a 9mm semiauto you'd find yourself with a .45 revolver lodged in your forehead (the recoil is BIG) and a broken wrist. To say that you could fire a crossbow like a pistol is ludicrous. Pistols and crossbows have dramatically different projectile speeds, distance to drop ratios, weights, etc.

Shadowrun divides ballistic weapons between Gunnery and Firearms for the sake of convienience. I'm glad they did, because I know that I don't want to have to mess around with the 8000 different skills which result from such a system. (PC: I'd like to give him the finger. GM: Do you have the 'obscene gestures' skill?) The specialization/concentration system is the next best thing to having those 8000 skills.

The Ballista system should require the Gunnery skills because it is not even friggin CLOSE to being a firearm. Even if the little laser designator may vaguely feel like a gun, it's attached to an extremely large, extremely complicated targeting system which, in turn, is attached to a highly destructive projectile. Yeah, it might feel like a gun for a second, but when the ballista round explodes 2 feet in front of you because you happened to tag the edge of a tree instead of your target because you forgot about the importance of getting the EXACT target, because you were using the same firing logic you would if you had a Hold Out pistol in your hand.....I'm sure you'll see the difference.

Do you think a 50 year old character is more likely to know more than a 25 year old PC? A middle aged person tends to be less over confident than a teenager or young adult. Could this be dealt with using Edges and Flaws?

It should be dealt with using roleplaying and a collection of small edges or flaws. I'm against creating a Middle Aged Person edge because I've met a LOT of stupid, irrational, wimpy middle aged people. I've also met 17 year olds who could bench press Volvos, successfully debate the death penalty, and who have seen much more of life than many 50 year olds.

Using the various education edges and flaws, you can custom create an individual's experience and education. The age category is really rather arbitrary.

Iím having trouble using a cross-over character. The GM in one game plays really rough while the GM in the other isnít nearly as violent. What can I do?

The easiest solution is to not use cross-over characters. Even if both GMs are fairly reasonable, crossing over tends to cause conflicts. In fact, I've never actually seen a cross-over work well at all. So, if you want a quick fix, just use a different set of PCs for each GM.

If you need to use cross-overs, talking things out will be difficult. Remember, the opposing GM could just as easily tell you to increase the power of your games as you can tell him to decrease his. Your best bet is to try to find some middle ground. Start my examining how things work in the world of Shadowrun and how you can both adjust to fit this 'reality'. Your friend sounds way, way off base and incredibly unrealistic. Let him know he needs to adhere more closely to the way the world of 2050 works lest he make the game unbearable ridiculous.

What do you think about female role-players?

I think female players are great. It's a shame they're aren't more of them. One thing I've found interesting about female players (not all of them, mind you) is that they seem to make far better roleplayers than males. Most of the female players I've had in my groups had never played a role-playing game before. The personalities of their characters seemed dramatically different than their normal personalities. Either that or their PCs would embody amplifications of traits that were more recessive the the players personality. Timid female players played aggressive PCs, or peaceful individuals would play rather violent characters. Sometimes the personality transition was rather frightening.

I think more females than males feel pressured to stay away from roleplaying because it still carries the stigma as being a hobby for freakish adolescent boys. I'm not trying to sound sexist; I'm just basing my opinion on general observations. I'm also not saying that females are generally 'afraid' to roleplay; I'm just saying that, with a predominately male population, roleplaying might not be the first thing to cross a female's mind when they think of hobbies.

90% of the female roleplayers I've encountered were 'recruited' by male players (usually friends, girlfriends, or spouses). When I first started roleplaying, recruitment is how I managed to get females into my group (no females in my old high school were active roleplayers.) I didn't have any problem obtaining female players which, in a way, bothers me. They were excited about playing and made damn good roleplayers, yet they never, ever played - or made an attempt to play - ever before.

Weird.

I donít have any choice but to play with uninterested players. Is there any way I can get them interested?

Read through some of my Corner articles and see if you can't get them interested. I don't understand why they'd want to play if they don't want to play. If they refuse to get interested in the game, you have two choices; bump them, or continue playing with unenthusiastic players. Start by trying to get them to create PCs they'd actually enjoy playing. Play Freud for a while and figure out what type of PC best caters to their personality.

Some of my players did some really nasty, senseless killing and, for some reason, I let them off the hook. Now Iím regretting it.

Just because you let them off the immediate hook doesn't mean you left them off the long term hook. Have that shit they did come back to haunt them - for the rest of their lives. Nothing is more sobering to a merciless character than the endless possibility of immediate death. Scare the hell out of them. Have people occasionally plant a bomb in their vehicles or ruin a shadowrun for them. Find a way to blackmail them with 'hidden' video of their crimes or have a psychotic relative of a victim try to ruin their entire career. Make sure that the runners would have a very difficult time fighting back (i.e. move the families to different parts of the country and make sure they rarely work together.) Create an invisible enemy that will make them regret what they did until the end of time.

Do you ever start out the PCs with high powered characters?

I rarely start out PCs in a high powered game. I don't know how most people play, but in my games PCs start out with nothing and have to work for the privilege of being able to go on a high stakes mission. If you run a game (or short series of games) with new PCs each time, I can see the logic in making them powerful. But if you're in it for the long haul, I still think it's more fun to start out with nothing. Also, unlike your players, very few people seem to be able to responsibly roleplay heavy duty PCs right off the bat.

Iím part of a role-playing family. My son and I role-play a lot.

I've only encountered a father/son gaming team one other time in my life. It didn't seem to go well. When the son GMd, he'd wax his dad in the first 15 minutes, apparently out of frustration from when his father grounded him 15 years earlier. When the father GMd, the NPCs would run around and demand that the runners mow the lawn, paint the house, etc.

An annoying player in my group complains a lot. For instance, a NPC survived a grenade blast and the player had a FIT. What can I do about this?

Make sure the annoying player gets hit by a grenade. Odds are he won't complain when he's able to resist the damage. Point that out.

Also, any time the annoying player's PC gets beat up in a way that he previously would have complained as being fatal, point out the fact that he's being a hypocrite. These people always whine until it's their head on the cutting block.

Seeing as how I never write out anything, I sometimes have trouble keeping track of the big picture, mostly with being consistent. Any tips for me?

First, do take some notes. You can get away with not writing down anything BEFORE the run, but you have to keep track of who's who DURING the run or you'll start contradicting yourself.

Second, tell the players that it's be nice if they took notes as well. As the GM, you don't have time to go leafing through your notes every time the players want to know an NPC's name. If they keep notes as well it'll speed everything up.

My PCs arenít afraid of anything. What can I do?

Send in some truly psychotic NPCs to completely fuck up their lives. (Check out NPCs From Hell, specifically the Life Waster). Make these NPCs really, really frightening; ugly as sin, scarred (both mentally and physically), and unpredictable. Have these NPCs nail one of the PC's favorite contacts to a wall, kill their girl/boyfriends, cover their vehicles with blood, etc. Use toxic spirits and psychotically cybered hitmen. Create NPC mages that specialize in hideous customized spells (Acid/Lightening Blast, Incinerate Limb, Castration By Fire). Work all of these elements into a run somehow (i.e. The runners had to break somebody out of a mental institution and, in the process, released 100 mental fuckups, all of whom have a psychotic attachment to those who set them free.) Make things not make sense, even though things normally should. Give these NPCs threat ratings of 8.

In other words, do whatever it takes to let the players know that they can't rely on anything or anyone. You can also have everybody the runners have ever screwed over decide to gang up and avenge themselves. Make the runners realize that everything they do, no matter how frivolous, may have a catastrophic outcome. Don't let them turn on the water without having a stream of blood pour from the faucet. Make them afraid of EVERYTHING.

Keep this up for a gaming session or two and then gradually allow things to return to normal. But, as a reminder, have someone psychotic pop up from time to time.

I have a question for you. I know, that from BJ's corner, you dislike kick ass PCs. But what if that is the only way to stay alive? My GM is having us go against the Yakuza, Renraku, Aztechnology, just to name a few. I want to play a more down to earth PC, but the only way to survive is to have a initiative of 9(16)+1D6(3D6), which by the way my starting character has. What are your suggestions to remedy this?

Well, you shouldn't be fighting Renraku right at the start of the game in the first place. My players don't run into Renreku, Fuchi, etc. until they've been running for a few months, perhaps even a year (game time). The GM shouldn't be sending you up against people with +3D6 initiative until way, way into the game. If he/she would back off with the first game Renraku assaults, you wouldn't have to create such a kick ass PC.

Shadowrun is (or should be) a game of struggle. When a PC or GM (or both) start creating PCs and NPCs from hell, there's no struggle. There is only initiative rolls and violence. Struggle means starting out shitty, interacting with other shitty people, and slowly working your way out of the shit. Only after working hard, building your contacts, strengthening you skills, and learning every in an out of the world of shadowrun do you take on Renraku.

Out veteran GM is always trying to get the novices to GM more often, but then he constantly complains because weíre not as good as he is. What can I do to make him stop complaining?

The GM just has to face the fact that not everybody GMs the same. This difference in GMing style becomes increasingly apparent when you compare the style of a veteran GM with one who is relatively new. Veteran GMs are often blind to the fact that it will take a new GM some time before they are able to create complex scenarios. While the veteran GM is playing a PC they always have the 'Well, if I was GM I'd do this....' thought in the back of their head. Well, they're NOT the GM and they have to realize this.

Your veteran GM just needs to give everybody a little bit of time to get up to speed. Sure, he'll have to grit his teeth every once in a while to keep himself from grabbing the NPC sheets and taking over the game, but he's got to give the new GMs time to get better. If it makes him feel better, ask him to give the new GMs a little bit of advice. Just bitching doesn't solve anything. A good way for the vet GM to help the newer GMs is to give a post-run critique on what the newer GM could have done better. Only after the game should the veteran GM vent his frustrations, and then only constructively. During the game he should just play his PC and leave the GMing up to the GM.

Why on earth did you write about cows in Blackjackís corner?

The whole cow thing is an inside joke of sorts (between me and my veteran visitors) which started about a year and a half ago when I wrote something about dropping cows on PCs. Since then I've mentioned it a few times in other articles and, when the 'bombing' incident occured, people began to send me copies of the article.

Basically, if you didnít didn't like it it was probably because you didn't get it.

Now I have to write a follow-up article explaining the whole thing lest less devoted viewers think I'm insane. Grrrrrrrr.

I wish you would finish your Philadelphia Sourcebook. It looks like itíd be really kick ass.

Yeah, try telling FASA that.....

I think somebody ripped off your 501 Shadowrun ideas and didnít give you credit.

Thanks for the tip. The page looks like it's run by some kid who doesn't quite understand the concept of 'credit where credit is due'. I could tolerate kids tooling with guns, drugs, and knives, but I draw the line at plagiarism.

My group of runners came face to face with a dragon and werenít even afraid of it. They actually asked him if heís ďpee in a cutí (See Grimoire if you donít understand why this is funny). How can I motivate them to be a little more respectful?

You mean how do you scare the piss out of them? Well, as far as dragons are concerned, remember that they have the ability to do learn and carry out magical acts other than those listed under their powers. They can cast spells and perhaps even summon spirits or elementals. Give your dragons lots of scary spells and make them damn good at using them. Blindness and Pain are two good ones (if they don't exist, make them up) along with some kind of spell that destroys weapons. Dragons can also hire (meta)human support and, since they tend to be kind of wealthy, they can equip them rather well. Also, Dragons tend to be a bit smug, self centered, and vain and would most likely find a 'Pee in the cup.' comment incredibly offensive and immature and would want to teach the runner a lesson for having the gall to ask such an idiotic question.

A mage in my group uses astral perception too much. Every time thereís a knock at the door he astrally perceives through it and ruins any surprise I might have waiting. What can I do about this?

Uh, he can't do that. Even in astral space you can't see or assense through solid objects. Check out Astral Space on page 145 of the rulebook. It explains how the magician can go through the walls (if theyíre Projecting), but not see through them. The not see through them part applies to Astral Perception as well. In order to see what's on the other side of the door the magician would have to astrally project and then move through the door. If the NPCs waiting outside the door are smart, they'll have their mage Astrally perceiving so he can see if somebody tries to take a peak at him. If the PC magician pops through the door, the NPC can blast him because they both have contact with the astral plane.

I want to create a PC who is really good with animals. Any ideas?

Well, here's a few ideas on how you might be able to get things to work. Most of these ideas aren't in the rulebook and you'd probably have to clear things with the GM before using them:

#1. You could make the PC an adept of sorts. Some kind of 'animal adept' who uses his magic for the sole purpose of communicating with animals. If I were the GM I'd allow you to keep the powers as long as your magic rating doesn't fall below 2.

#2. Purchase some kind of 'Animal Empathy' edge and create a new Animal Control skill. An Animal Empathy edge isn't too unrealistic; I personally know a few real people who can get along with even the meanest of animals. Some people just have a knack for it.

#3. You could give them a little bit of headware. I don't think the animals really start going nuts until they get a few complete essence points knocked off.

Uh, I'm out of ideas. One thing I wouldn't do is use a whip or club to try to control them. You want the animals to work with you because they want to, not because you scare them into it. I'd still have the PC use the clubs and whips, but only as weapons against enemies.

In any case, the Animal Empathy edge combined with some kind of skill would probably work. Animals are generally very intelligent and could probably be taught how to understand hand signals and simple words if you worked with them long enough.

I just found out the my PC has been going through Hell because of the Month of Chaos run that YOU wrote up!!

Watch it, or I'll write up a DECADE of Chaos adventure!

Why do you keep posting ripostes with stupid comments that donít have anything to do with Shadowrun or role-playing?

Because itís my page, fucker.

It seems that when me and my cousin and I play, I am always the GM. I don't mind it but it seems he never wants the job and I like being a PC once in a while. Is there ANYTHING I can do to get him enthusiastic about being the GM?

There's really not much you can do to force a person to want to GM. Some people don't like to do it because it seems so formidable; you have to know all the rules, be able to think quickly, be able to control 3 billion NPCs. You may be able to con him into GMing by letting him know that you're not expecting too much out of him. He may just be afraid that he'll screw up. Let him know that, if he does, it's OK. Don't expect him to be a GMing god.

I have a player who constantly uses his normal personality. Is there anything I can do to change this?

I know there's an article on Blackjack's Corner that talks about such a problem, I'm just not too sure which one. Hunt through them and see if you can find it.

One thing you can do is to find all of the flaws with his current, eternal persona and exploit them. Force him to change his ways by using things he always says or always does against him.

Also, demand that this player create a thorough character history. The history will require that he play the PC in a certain way, a way that makes sense when compared to his past. You can even go so far as to demand that he write up his PC's entire personality and force him to tweak it if it sounds like it's the same old deal. Then, if the player doesn't adhere to the personality he's written, withhold karma. Make sure he gets no roleplaying karma whatsoever unless he sticks to the guidelines of the personality he's written.

I wish I had a decent gaming group like yours.

Hah! A decent gaming group like MINE? My group is the bunch of idiots that inspires most of my writings. Sure, I've cleaned them up a little bit, but even with my vast arsenal of GM/PC advice at my disposal I have problems with the PCs. Many, many problems. As soon as you clean up one problem, the players go and create another one. It's like somebody's paying them to thwart me.

I have a player in my group who knows the rules too well. Is it bad when players know the rules better than the GM?

Well, there's two kinds of Rule Knowledgeable Players, one of which is good, the other, bad.

The good brand of these players know the general rules, as well as having thorough knowledge of the rules which deal with their archetype specifically. I openly admit that while I'm golden as far as knowing general rules; many of the more involved aspects of magic, decking, etc. sometimes elude me, usually because I'm busy roleplaying 1,000,000 NPCs. For example, I can't remember off hand exactly how an Acid combat program works. If a Decker used one on an IC, I'd love for them to tell me what it's doing and how. Just little things like that. I like to be able to turn to the players for rule information when my brain locks up.

The BAD brand of these players are the ones who know all of the rules, and then INSIST on sticking to them. If you stick to the rules it's possible for a Troll to survive an assault cannon shot, for somebody jumping off a 40 story building to survive, etc. There comes a point when common sense outweighs the rules and it is the GMs job to determine when this occurs. I override rules alot, perhaps more often than I should, mainly because so many of Shadowruns rules simply don't work in certain situations, a prime example being point-blank situations. As the game progresses I'm constantly tweaking the rules, letting rolls slide here or there, upping target numbers or lowering them if it would seem logical, all in the name of making things make a bit more sense than they otherwise would.

It's funny. Players always hate it when the GM overrides the rules when it's detrimental to them but doesn't say a word when it helps them out. You can save yourself a lot of arguments by giving the players a break from time to time (something all GMs seem to do anyway) so you'll have something to fall back on when you turn the rules against them.

Player: But the rules say I get to roll to see if my cyber-eye is damaged!!

GM: Gee. You're right. Hey, since we're sticking to the rules, how 'bout I give you the full damage you should have received from the HMG burst instead of simply dropping it to Moderate?

Player: (silence)

You havenít posted a new BJís corner since July and youíre not updating your page! Basically, YOU ARE PISSING ME OFF!

Look: I've been working 16 hours a day on a film that isn't even mine, chasing around obscure vehicles mentioned in the script (many of which no longer exist), ending up is the weirdest fucking places you can even imagine to buy handcuffs at 12:30 at night because the cops in the film forgot to bring their own, not to mention the fact that my car is on the verge of death, I'm about out of money, and I ran out of Gentleman Jack last night at about 10pm right when I was on the verge of becoming comfortably drunk. In addition I've been trying to stop smoking, negotiate my way out of Temple University, write two computer manuals, find an actual paying job, and do my laundry which has piled up to the ceiling. I haven't even had time to get laid, which is not helping my level of agitation in the slightest.

So just chill the fuck out and give me some time to get my shit together, OK??????????

-bjk

p.s. Thanks for the feedback.

I have a magician in my group who never uses his magic and acts like a Sammy. Can I do anything about this?

If the magician isnít utilizing his magical skills, make up some reason to have these skills slowly slip away from him. It's easier to do this if he's a shaman (i.e. the 'losing contact with your totem' excuse), but with a mage you may have to be more creative. A simply 'out of practice' excuse may work to lower his skill. Either that or make sure the enemy always has a magician with them so he'll be forced to fight it with magic.

I have a group of players brand new to Shadowrun and was wondering what I should have them do on their first run.

For the first run with a new group of players I like to not have a run at all. What I mean is that I usually let them roam around the city, talk with their contacts, meet a few people, and just generally screw around. I do usually have them go on a 'mini-run' of sorts, which usually involves something uncomplicated like stealing something from a gang or delivering a package. You don't want to over complicate things by sending them on a full fledged run right off the bat. Full runs involve a lot of rules and a lot of planning and, in general, a lot of not-so-fun work. So the first day is spent getting them acclimated to the environment and rules, not dumping everything on the new players.

So, for the first day, let them run around, get in a little trouble, throw in a firefight or two so they get used to the rules. Then send them on a biggie.

The player probably knows [when to yield], but the runner does not _have_ to know this, they have character-flaws like any other have them.

But knowing when to yield and when to stand strong is what 50% of the game's all about! Shadowrun is a web of negotiations, battles, infiltrations, etc.; ALL of which require the runner to make a decision as to whether or not they should 'go for it' or 'hang back'. A runner should know that there's no profit in dying; the PC in Powerless didn't know this. This flaw was simply TOO BIG.

To sum up: I agree that characters can have flaws; but I still believe that there are some flaws which make the character so incompatible with the Shadowrun environment that it would make their very existence and survival unrealistic. Take, for example, a character who NEVER surrenders. Now, if this character was surrounded by security forces because he assassinated a corporate CEO and the security said 'Lay down your weapon' and the character, following his predetermined traits, decided to say 'no', I don't think I would be wrong in blowing him away. It would be too unrealistic to let the PC survive and, even though this is a game, you have to draw the line somewhere.

The situation I portrayed in my writing 'Powerless' is almost exactly like the security guard situation I described above, only the guns were concealed and the adversive (not a real word) means more subtle. The PC knew he was in no position of power - I made it VERY, VERY, clear to him - and he essentially said 'fuck you' to somebody who had a gun to his head.

Nobody survives in Shadowrun with such an attitude.

Do you use Docwagon and Docwagon contracts?

My PCs live and die by Docwagon. My Docwagon people are cool too; they don't take shit from anybody. Why would they be worried about getting hurt? The ambulance is only a few feet away....