In SR 5 there are infos on how a run can be paid, but the infos are erronous in that they take things into account that depend on the players decisions ingame and things Johnson can't know about as detailed here: How to accurately set a shadowrunner's fee before the run

Now what I'm wondering though is, that I know that somewhere in one edition there were tables detailing what type of job can have what turnout, but I'm not sure which one it is (which edition, which book,...).

So the question is are there any tables (from any edition) for calculating the Nuyen turnout for a run which does not have any need for Mr. Johnson to know more than he can know?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of How to accurately set a shadowrunner's fee before the run \$\endgroup\$
    – fabian
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a good answer, but ignores any official information already given by the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Updated the question to make sure that it is clear tha tI'm looking for a talbe that does not have that error (btw good find with that one question it sounded really similar, but I'm looking for a table there as I know there was one but not sure where and in which edition). Thus modified the question to make it more clear what I'm looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas E.
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tomas, it sounds like this question is not actually about SR5 then, but about any edition. I've edited the tags for that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ [Related] Are there any official guidelines for Shadowrun payouts? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 18:42

5 Answers 5


Payment is not made for how difficult it really is for the runners in SR5 (nor in SR4 before it) it is more based on the Johnson:

The expected Payment is (or should be) calculated from the value of the goals, and the difficulty as the hirer sees it. So Mr Johnson offers payment according to what he knows (as the GM, you determine that), not only what he tells the runners.

A higher Payout than what he tells thus makes it either "urgent" for the client, or his offer is "fishy", and you do well at working with the scales. On the other hand, a low payout might coax the runners into taking a job because it makes it appear easier than it actually is.


Mr. J works for Saeder-Krupp and sends the team against Novatech. He wants them to sabotage the delivery of some fish - and wants it rerouted to him. He doesn't tell them, that the fish is a genetic prototype, and that he wants to serve it to his dragon boss Lofwyr. To him, this goal is worth more than the obvious, so he will offer something between mid to high level instead of the low to mid level that would be appropriate to how he makes it appear.

A different Mr. J works freelance. He is contracted to hire runners to sabotage an electricity station, no more info given. He doesn't know, that the triad that contracted him will use the blackout as a chance to break free some of their boys because the prison is supplied by that electricity substation. He will offer a payment based on the low level sabotage he thinks it is (just shut down power), not the mid level it is really (extra security as it is known to be a critical point).


It needs to know how far outclassed the players are in a scene That's up to you, you're the GM, you know how hard you're trying to make it for them and what obstacles they'll encounter.

(which is though depending fully on how bad or good they play) I wouldn't say it depends on this. You're right, unless you know your players very well, you can't know and might not even be able to estimate this at the beginning. That's fine, you're paying them what a job is WORTH, you're not paying them for how much their choices will cost them or earn them.

Just use the table and forget about the fact that neither you nor your Mr. Johnson will know how the team will perform.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ not only that but also johnson himself does not know quite a few things that are needed for him to decid on the mission payment (and any player who has the table can see "oh we are prolly going to face some really strong guys or a group of strong ghosts......lets hire a better mage" with only some headcalcs there). \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas E.
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 18:39

Award them at the end of the run

Being outclassed or not, usually the payment is agreed before the job is taken, considering the point of view of the contractor (the Mr. Johnson). He could pay extra after the job is done with proper negotiation or if he is told that things werent as he was expecting before (during the job offer) they took the job, and thus, they require compensantion for the trouble.

If the job was to simply escort someone out of the airport for a few hours until they arrive at the corp's safe zone, what the runners will agree and negotiate upon will be that job. For the sake of the example, let's say they agreed to do this job for 10,000 nuyen (split among them, it's an "easy job").

Of course, things never go as planned, and what the Mr. Johnson wasn't expecting (or maybe he was, that's why freelancers were hired) was that this guy was being targeted by a rival corp who are interested to hire him (whether he wants the job or not). So, the runners will face a lot of resistance while transporting him back to the safe zone, exploding vehicles, killing hired guns, taking a few bullets, and spending lots of ammo.

Once finished, they contact their fixer to inform that the job is done, and tell him that things didn't go as planned and they faced a lot of issues that the Mr. Johnson didn't mention on their job interview. Or, the runners contact the Mr. Johnson directly and tell him all this (depends on how your group does it).

Then, now that both sides know about the specifics of the run, the GM might allow a second round of negotiations, where they might try to obtain a higher payment for the job, or the Mr. Johnson realizes the job wasn't what he was expecting, sympathizes with the runners, afterall, he was expeting trouble but not that amount of trouble, and offers a better payment.

As a GM, of course, you knew this all the time, and when designing the mission, you already fixed a payment value based on the real difficulty of this mission, following the guidelines on the Core Rulebook (page 375, Run Rewards).

Now back to our example, they were offered initially 10,000 payment for this job, which should be 2,500 per runner on a group of four (this is the initial cash). Checking the highest dice pool they will have to roll against (15 for the elite hired guns), the multiplier is 3 (15/4, rounded down), or about 7,500 per runner. This, of course, doesn't take into account other issues that could increase the multiplier, as seen on the guidelines (like exposure, being outmatched, facing lots of spirits, etc).

Unless the GM is making up the mission on the fly, he should know this value already before they even take the job. On published missions, the initial value is usually different from the actual payment, extras are awarded at the end of the mission that increase the total payment for the job. Simply have this in mind and plan accordingly.

The book does not mention what should happen in case the mission is different from what was agreed on. But as a GM you can plan ahead and make the proper adjustments on the reward. Negotiations should increase the initial value (3,000 by the book) by 100 nuyen per net hit on this check. If the final value for this mission was the triple of that, also increase the difference by three times, or 300 nuyen per net hit on the Negotiation check at the end of the mission.

On our example, they agreed on a 2,500 payment (with an extra 100 nuyen per net hit on negotiations), but the reward calculations were 7,500. Simply make the Mr. Johnson pay an extra 5,000 nuyen (with an extra 200 nuyen per net hit on negotiation) for a job well done. The runners will take this as an extra payment that tripled what they agreed on and will return home happy with the outcome.


How well the players handle a situation has no bearing on how outclassed they are. Taking it into account would essentially punish them for playing smart. If they handle something easily that you considered a real threat, they earned that "reduction in difficulty" with their good decisions.

If they make trouble for themselves, that also does not factor into this. They should not be rewarded for making things harder. (It could encourage grinding too.)

Running into unforeseen circumstances is also expected in Shadowrun. As such, it is not unreasonable to calculate payment or make a deal with them in mind, not even in-character as the Johnson.

Thus I see no reason not to use the table provided using your full knowledge of the situation as GM. You might want to tweak things in specific circumstances, but the listed values can still serve as a guideline.


While there are several in various adventure modules for SR4, like the Artifacts series, and I've seen several for creating side jobs (I think those were homebrew), I don't know of an overarching one for all jobs in any edition. The thing to always remember when rewarding players with in-game resources, either cash or xp and its equivalents, is that an accurate reflection of the job is not that important, keeping track of and controlling PC wealth and threat level is.


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