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> Sample Character - Hacker, quaestion
Skippy
post Dec 8 2005, 07:45 PM
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I gotta admit, I just got the SR4 book last week - and I'm just flailing about with the rules. I'm probably going to be playing a hacker in an SR4 game in a few weeks, so I've been concentrating on the areas of the game specific to hacking/rigging for now.

Of course, I took a long look at the sample hacker in the book.

Going with the idea that an implanted commlink has a sim module built in, is that all he needs to be able to access AR/VR? I see that he has AR gloves in his gear... does he need them to interact with arrows? Are the gloves just redundant? I'm sure I'm misunderstanding something here.

Also, Is the commlink/sim module sufficient for acessing data from his implanted eyeware smartlink? He has no imagelink eyeware, nor imagelink gear. Does the simsense feed from the sim module take the place of the required imagelink? It would make sense that it does, but I can see people disagreeing with that as well.

Finally, in a related question... Soundlink, touchlink, imagelink.... do they all become useless/redundant if someone has an implanted sim module which provided simsense versions of them directly to the users brain?
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BlackHat
post Dec 8 2005, 08:21 PM
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That is my take on the matter. You probably have to disable the RAS override in order to get layered simsense - but yeah.

The biggest drawback to this is you oepn yourself up to being given high levels of simsense feedback (btls, blackout, black hammer, etc), since you're not jsut experiencing AR - you're experienceing simsense, which happens to only be used for AR.

Af far as I can tell, anyone who hacks your commlink in your head can jsut flick the simmodules switch and do this anyways (so be sure to protect it well - as if that needed saying), but the problem with AR is that you're commlink would be constantly accepting steaming simsense from the other wireless nodes around it. So be careful who/what you interface with. And invest in a good biofeedback filter.
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Skippy
post Dec 9 2005, 02:41 PM
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Actually, my Soon-to-be GM pointed out to me that The sample character indeed DOES have an imagelink, as it's part of the basic cyber-eye package. My Mistake.

I think my biggest problem in shifting my mindset to SR4 is the whole 'EVERYTHING is wireless.' I know it mentions in the book in a few places that you can buy non-wireless devices, but you'll strange looks from wherever you're buying it (p.304) and/or suffer some nameless loss of functionality (which I don't think is ever really explained).

Does a cyberlimb really benefit from being wireless? a smartlink? I'm guessing by 'loss of functionality' they simply mean the loss of the ability to store files there, transmit data across your PAN from the device/get diagnostics from it. that sort of thing. If you are on your own, no real worries with the lack of wireless. In a group? You might not be able to pull off some of the tricks a wireless group could.

Going further off-topic now I suppose:

My general feeling after a week with this book is that, as opposed to earlier editions of Shadowrun where rules were spelled out in more detail (and sometimes with unfortunate complexity), it's becoming plain that playing this particular edition will be a VERY different experience from GM to GM. (Which might be interesting come GenCon tournament time!) The rules on alot of things are so vague and left open to interpretation. And so much was left out! Just off the top of my head... where the heck are the prices for street drugs!? 5 pages is alot of space in a new book to dedicate to something with no purchase price listed. Though I suppose I could have missed that too, as I'm having a bit of trouble with the organization of the book as well. Rules for alot of things seem... out of place or maybe just under-represented. I dunno. hmm.. this is disintegrating into an early-morning-before-coffee-rant of sorts. Sorry. </rant>

Thanks for the response, btw. It's going to take me awhile to get the hang of sr4.

Skippy
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Azralon
post Dec 9 2005, 02:54 PM
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The only functionality I see in a WiFi cyberlimb is that you can walk into a cyberdoc's shop and he can diagnose your malfunctions from across the room. Along that line, I guess a cop can run your SIN and compare your legal/licensed 'ware to the signals emitted by your implants.

But as a shadowrunner? Keep all that crap DNI and skinlinked. Heck, I'd turn off WiFi even if were a 100% legit citizen.
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BlackHat
post Dec 9 2005, 03:14 PM
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Yeah, sometimes it would be useful to allow the rest of your team to share data with you wirelessly - but almost never worth the danger, especially while on a run.

One cool thing I could imagine about a wireless cyberlimb is that it could be controled remotely as a device. Not terribly useful, mind you, just kind of cool.

I could see the street sam dead on the ground, three bullets in his head, and the team hacker is controlling the Sammy's arm from another room (looking through the gun-cam on his SMG) and blowing away the bad guys.
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Azralon
post Dec 9 2005, 03:25 PM
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QUOTE (BlackHat)
Yeah, sometimes it would be useful to allow the rest of your team to share data with you wirelessly - but almost never worth the danger, especially while on a run.

You can still do that, you'd just be routing everything through your commlinks.
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BlackHat
post Dec 9 2005, 04:44 PM
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QUOTE (Azralon)
QUOTE (BlackHat @ Dec 9 2005, 11:14 AM)
Yeah, sometimes it would be useful to allow the rest of your team to share data with you wirelessly - but almost never worth the danger, especially while on a run.

You can still do that, you'd just be routing everything through your commlinks.

Sure, but then you risk one person's commlink being compromised, and the enemy gaining control of your cyberarm - probably not a good position for you to be in.
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Azralon
post Dec 9 2005, 05:12 PM
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I can understand that. However, it sounds akin to avoiding combat because you run the risk of getting shot.

I'm not saying that to be snarky; I just mean that using commlinks at all in battle is a risk but with adequate countermeasures the benefit can outweigh the risk.
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BlackHat
post Dec 9 2005, 05:53 PM
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Yeah, I woudl agree to that if you mean "the benifit of having your team linked together via commlinks/AR" but not to "the benifit of having your cyberarm on that link".

If you're the team Gun-guy and the team's network is compromised. The bad guy isn't going to be able to do anythign to terrible to you, personally. (maybe jsut mess with your AR-vision, or cut off radio contact or something) If your arm is connected to that network for whatever reason, he can make you shoot yourself in the face. That's bad - not really worth it since there is little-to-no benifit to having an online arm.
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RunnerPaul
post Dec 15 2005, 04:08 AM
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QUOTE (Skippy)
Finally, in a related question... Soundlink, touchlink, imagelink.... do they all become useless/redundant if someone has an implanted sim module which provided simsense versions of them directly to the users brain?

I realize that I'm late coming to this thread (it's what I get for going on vacation), but I'd like to point out one very important thing:

Accessing AR via sim module leaves you vulnerable to emotive-track simsense overlays. There's nothing in the Rules As Written that covers the possibility of turning off the emotive tracks.

While it's easy enough for a GM to houserule that a Hacker character can add such an on/off switch for the emotion sim using the rules for modifying a sim module to allow for hot sim as a starting point, the fact that the possibility wasn't explicitly mentioned does help to explain why alternate methods for accessing AR are provided.



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chromedog
post Dec 15 2005, 10:06 AM
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Re: the wireless thing.

My fiancee's brother has a bluetooth cellphone. He picked up a dongle for his computer, so they could talk to each other. Of course, he didn't know how to put them together - no, that was my job (stoopid me for volunteering). I managed to set the 'poota and 'fone up as an exclusive partnership. They would both be aware of other BT capable devices in range, but everything else needed to ask permission before a connection could be made. They (cellphone and poota), btw, will automagically link if in range and switched on.

From what I understand of the newer matrix rules in SR4, the commlink PAN setup is a little like that. If you leave it open to all, you're just asking for trouble. I mean, do you really want personally targeted SpamVerts "John Anderton, YOU need a guiness!" ?

Or am I off the mark here?
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BlackHat
post Dec 15 2005, 01:33 PM
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QUOTE (chromedog)
Or am I off the mark here?

You're on the mark - that sounds exactly like what subscribing a device means.

In shadowrun, no one else's devices would normally be able to create a connection with your character's gear - however, a clever hacker has a million-and-one ways to trick your gear into granting permission (all of which are somewhat abstracted in the hacking rules).

The jist of it is, if its wireless enabled, and turned on, a hacker could hack it. Of course, with a personal netowrk of low-signal devices, that hacker would have to be standing right next to you (in which case, jsut shoot him), but with a beefy commlink with a signal rating of 5, he could be quite a ways away and pick up your signal (but would need an equally beefy radio transmitter to communicate with you).
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Jestercat
post Dec 15 2005, 03:47 PM
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The thing is, it also describes that you can set up which parts of your PAN are linked "outward" - of course again, that doesn't really stop a hacker from going in and changing that...right? Wrong.

The one thing about software people need to realize is this: if it's not visible, it's really hard to hack. If your cyberarm isn't on your out-network, which the hacker just busted into, the hacker doesn't even see that you HAVE a cyberarm unless he's looking at you (then we're back to the simple solution of shooting him). He'll see what's on your out-network, and if he wants more he's going to have to somehow get into your internal network - where there should not be any link. They should be isolated by hardware, which can only be modified using the individual devices (change a setting on your arm, change a setting in your head computer, change a setting on your smartlink, etc).

So yes...it's possible for a hacker to take control of Sammy's cyberarm and make him shoot himself in the face, but only if Sammy is an idiot and left his cyberarm on his open network. That guy DESERVES to geek himself. :)
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RunnerPaul
post Dec 16 2005, 12:21 AM
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This whole business of certain devices on your PAN being listed as "outward connecting" and other devices not, kind of misses the point, I think.

If anything on a network connects to the outside world, you're risking a hacker connecting to the network. Once the hacker is connected, they have just as much of a shot at seeing any device that's part of the network as someone who would be legitimately logged on.

The safest solution would be to maintain 2 PANs, that require seperate Accounts/Passwords to log on to. One PAN would hold all your devices that need connectivity with the outside world: your hack-platform commlink, your AR goggles, and so forth. Your second PAN would be your offline node, and would have all your devices you want to keep secure from outside tampering. Sure, this'd mean if you had guncam data from your smartlink that you'd want to pass to your teammates, you'd have to take the time to connect your offline PAN to the online PAN, copy the video, and then disconnect them, but that's the price you pay for security. Many people just wouldn't bother.
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