I'm GMing a game of Shadowrun and most of my players can effectively roleplay their negative qualities (such as BTL addiction and insomnia) but one of them is a Corporate SINner. As part of his background he was offered a lead security position for NeoNET but declined and effectively "left the corp" to be a runner.

I know being a corporate SINner is a big thing. SINless will have a hard time trusting you, you pay taxes and the corp should actively keep an eye on you.

So far he's been what I would call careful. He's using Rating 5 fake SINs for almost everything and he's not advertising his background to the group. Nobody in the party actually know he's used to work for NeoNET.

Since this is a major negative quality, I feel like I'm doing something wrong here. It's too easy for him. So far I never had the opportunity of bring up this negative quality and I feel he should be worried or at least on alert. We discussed that the corp would actively seek him if he disappeared from the grid (meaning never buys anything etc.) so he occasionally buy some stuff (as part of his lifestyle) and tries to broadcast his SIN in downtown when he's not running. But that's about it.

How can I make the corporate SIN worth every karma he received?

  • \$\begingroup\$ How often do Fake SINs get exposed in your campaign? \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 7 '14 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ At least twice per session I get to test their fake SINs. Usually whenever they meet Mr. Johnson (checking in an hotel, rent a fake car etc.) On the first session of our new campaign they were busted but they asked if they could spend an edge on it. I allowed it. \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Apr 7 '14 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess my question would be whether spending Edge in that way is within the RAW. If not then you've effectively overruled one of the significant and important drawbacks of having fake SINs \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Apr 7 '14 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not remembering this correctly. They spent an edge on hiding their weapons. Completely unrelated sorry. \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Apr 7 '14 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrJinPengyou Please edit these comments into your question. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Apr 21 '14 at 13:57

Is it too easy?

From your description he seems to be spending a large amount of his money on circumventing the possible consequences from his corporate SIN. Thing is, spending all that money to avoid the consequences is a consequence in itself.

How much time or money would a corp invest in tracking people with corporate SINs that aren't active employees?

The corporation should only care from a liability standpoint. They do not want their Corporate SIN associated with illegal activities that might damage their reputation and ultimately their bottom line. Its probably not feasible or cost effective that they would run heavy surveillance on the PC in question but more likely that a computer system would routinely screen and compare recorded behaviors (such as purchases, net activity, general location activity)behaviors against an algorithm that would flag the owner of the Corporate SIN as being suspicious.

Possibilities to make things more difficult but keep it fair

As you stated he's trying to maintain a cover, but what he does to maintain that cover is pretty pedestrian and anyone who examined his life closely if it all could see through it. Hint to the player (whether in game or out) that his PC's transaction history without any recorded income (and thus taxes for the Corporation which they do want) seems like it might attract attention. The PC then might have to build a real cover, a job with an income which pays taxes to the corp, a whole fake life including purchases, people who know him, an apartment (basically he would have to pay some part of a living expenses for the cover) which he will need to maintain. The corporation may send someone sniffing around after his previous irregular income and spending actions, but if he looks above aboard he may be able to ride it out.

  • \$\begingroup\$ He didn't spend a lot of money on it. He has a legit Corp SIN and he got 2 Rating 5 Fake SINs. That's about as far as he goes for "spending money to avoid the consequences" \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Apr 7 '14 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ So how about his expences on Licences? Since those need to be bought for every SIN seperately this gets really expensive, very quick. \$\endgroup\$ – Chund Oct 18 '19 at 11:02

I look at a corporate SIN as a large stigma to the runner. Any Fixer worth their salt will run background checks on anyone they want to do business with. And any Johnson that's paying top dollar is going to go out of their way to spend the money on background checks and following leads on runners they're going to trust with their money to do a job. I wouldn't want Joe Everyman to take my job if I find out that he might be tied to a corp. That's bad rep for me, since that could mean that I'm getting a corporate spy or some other unsavory asset.

His SINs seem to have held up for him so far, so that's good. But if you want to push things with him on the Corporate SIN side, I have a perfect example. You said that he was offered a high end security position. He then turned it down and 'fled' the corp. Rule number one of being employed by the corps: it's easier to 'quit' organized crime then it is to hide yourself from a corp that really wants you. If they offered him a position inside their corporation and he turned it down and quit his current job, that's all kinds of suspicious. Maybe not a lot of time would be put into it, but I would have a middle-end exec take interest in him. Is he a liability? He had access to NeoNET security procedures. If he were to ever run against the corporation, it could be a disaster on the earnings at the end of the quarter. Or, even more, he could sell his knowledge and information to someone else. That punches a lot of holes in their security that they'd have to either patch them up each time...or 'solve' the problems.

I would have him start to get funny emails every so often that don't hit his spam box. Maybe a 'wrong number' or two. Cars that are parked outside of their apartment or places that they frequent. Things to make the person paranoid. And every once in a while, have the corp make a small probe into the player's things. The corp wants to know where their secrets are going. Force the player to deal with the problem.


Probably, the easiest way for you to make things "more difficult" for him without outright screwing him is to make him the center of a story. His corp has decided he's going to do a task for them. Maybe they know that he's doing running and they make outright threats to reveal him to the others and to the world. Maybe they're just clueless and keep blatantly contacting him, leaving him messages or even having suits approach him as his civilian identity. Either way, he's going to need to scramble to find ways to cover up his background and to justify doing this task to his teammates (or finding a way to get out of it). I'd say that you start with light pressure and see how the player and character react, and then ratchet things up until you feel that you've had your money's worth off of their negative quality.


While your runner can easily avoid the "SIN -> person" connection (i.e. identifying the user via the SIN) by the means of his fake SINs, he can't as easily hide form "person -> SIN" identification via his own biometrical data. Since his SIN is viable, any biometrical data traces he leaves will be linked to that SIN, like cameras identifying his face scan, fingerprints left on the crime scene etc.

Now, imagine your runner making an innocent purchase at a vending machine somewhere using his fake SIN. The vending machine asks for a fingerprint scan to confirm user identity. The scan works alright, runner gets what he came for and strolls away happily. At the end of the day, momma corp NeoNET, who provided some of that vending machine's security software, reviews the user data via automatic matching to their databanks. The system suddenly does peep "WARNING! User biometrical ID data linked to a different SIN!". Now, NeoNET is privy to the fact their former employee is using a fake SIN, and can trace it without runner ever suspecting it. I am pretty sure you can induct from there.


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