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> Unofficial Unwired - do we need one?, Can we wait? I'm already confused
silhouette
post Aug 18 2006, 09:55 AM
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I played SR3 for years and have just started playing SR4.

I am playing a hacker, and am coming into huge difficulties with the way the matrix works.

In Sr3 the matrix rules were complicated, but well defined. They took hours but you knew what you had to do. Now the matrix is simple but completely nebulous.
I had great hopes for the SR4 hacking, but it is entirely impossible to pin down what the hell is going on, what the hell you can do and what the hell accounts mean.

Would a car be connected to the matrix by wireless? Isn't that really very very dangerous? Surely any security system will use cables? If I want to hack into someones comlink can I pass my persona through the local Terminal, across UCAS under the ocean into france to a local terminal and attack his comlink? Do I need to hack all the intervening systems? If so how hard is that?

As far as the rules go My comlink upgraded to rating 6 with a bit of cash can run firewall 6. the renraku archology can also run firewall 6.
If I do an extended test to give me an Admin account I can get in and it won't stand a chance at spotting me and then what can I do? Can I then turn on all the sprinklers without being detected?
These are question GMs and Players need answering, so we could wait till Unwired, or we could make our own now?

Things I want to pin down:

*Better definitions of security
*Better definitions of connections and just what is connected. 1-way and 2 way. and how good a connection has to be before you can move your persona through it. (to me I don't see why a coffee machine would have the bandwidth to hack the host it is run on)
*What exactly can be done with Security or Admin accounts?
*How can one introduce tactics and manoeuvers into matrix combat?
*Is there any meaning to matrix combat? What happens if you defeat the IC, does the host just ignore you?
*Create a distinction between huge HOSTs and personal comlinks and devices.
*All the question of the FAQ posted previously.
*What can agents do? How many can a Node (not comlink) run, how many programs can they run?
*AR vs VR.
*deal with this hacking of cyberware question.


If I were to do a project like this it would be nice to know if other people would be interested in the product. I have some ideas already, for a start defining nodes better and bringing back HOSTs and security ratings.


Any comments.
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Adarael
post Aug 18 2006, 10:29 AM
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I'll attempt to answer these in stages...

1) If your car is connected to GridGuide, it will be connected to the matrix by wireless, yes. Probably slaved to the GridGuide mainframe. If it has any kind of automated systems that require full car control, yes, it will be on the matrix. If not, no - portions of it will be, but not the car itself. This is just an extension of the way things were in SR3 - instead of hacking GridGuide and altering the 'slave' module that's the car, you can just hack the car.

2) Only an idiot would keep a rigged security system on the matrix. Anything that's secure would be kept on-site without access to the matrix at large. Just because the game has changed doesn't mean the rules have, in an IC sense: keep your links tight, don't give possible trespassers the ABILITY to get access much less access itself, and if you want something safe never let off-site personel get near it.

3) You'd have to hack everything your Signal rating couldn't over-shoot, between you and France. If the shortest possible route to his commlink was terminal-UCAS-ocean-france-terminal... yes, you'd need to hack all of them.

4) You can run Firewall 6. The arcology can run 6... and higher. It states that it's rare to find ratings over 6, and that they're pretty much the 'hardened targets' of the SR world. The Arc is as hard as it gets. I'd give it 10-12. Give black sites an 8. Give the SIN database, Evo's accounting mainframe, and reactor control cores a 10.

5) You can turn on the sprinklers, but will be detected unless you use your admin access previously to turn off all logging functions. Or erase them after the fact, which is a valid command as an admin.
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RunnerPaul
post Aug 18 2006, 11:21 AM
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Not that this is an answer to any specific question that's been posed in this thread, but I've found that trying to understand SR4's hacking rules was easier for me when I approached it from a standpoint of "How do SR4's rules relate to computing in the real world" instead of "How can I take what I know about SR3's decking and apply it to SR4's hacking." The system underwent that radical of an overhaul all the way down to its core philosophies, that trying to find analogies in previous SR rulesets is ultimately counterproductive.

Of course, your mileage may vary.
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ShadowDragon
post Aug 18 2006, 08:11 PM
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I know Bull is doing an unofficial Matrix FAQ (check the sticky), and I know FP is working on an official FAQ and that it's "a priority." They've yet to be released however, as far as I can tell.
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Jaid
post Aug 18 2006, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael @ Aug 18 2006, 05:29 AM)
3) You'd have to hack everything your Signal rating couldn't over-shoot, between you and France. If the shortest possible route to his commlink was terminal-UCAS-ocean-france-terminal... yes, you'd need to hack all of them.

that's just silly. you shouldn't need to hack anything to get from UCAS to france, there are going to be public access ways of doing it.

that's like saying you have to hack everything in between you and a target on the internet.
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Adarael
post Aug 18 2006, 09:13 PM
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If you're attempting to illegally access all the stuff between you and a target on the internet, yes, you do have to hack it.

I was assuming that in the example, you'd be backing so that you don't have your connection automatically traced, and were being stealthy. If you don't care about that, no, you don't have to hack shit. But you're gonna leave a REALLY obvious trail.
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M.Fillmore.1138
post Aug 18 2006, 09:39 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ Aug 18 2006, 04:05 PM)
that's just silly. you shouldn't need to hack anything to get from UCAS to france, there are going to be public access ways of doing it.

that's like saying you have to hack everything in between you and a target on the internet.

Exactly. I can get to sites anywhere in the world right now... but only the public access stuff of course. If you want to leave no data trail, then you are popping through anonmyzers or potentially hacking a node along the way so as to leave no trace, but you are not hacking every node between here and there. It does not make much sense. Anything you do leaves a log trace behind.

However, if a system does not need to access any other system outside of a physical location, then there is no reason to put that system on the net as a whole, and a whole lot of reasons not to connect it at all.
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silhouette
post Aug 19 2006, 08:29 PM
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And these are the things it would be great to have pinned down.
And if you did have to hack everything, some indication of how hard it should be.
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Jaid
post Aug 19 2006, 09:18 PM
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see, the thing is...

a large part of the reason why SR3 hacking took so long is probably *because* everything was explained.

the new system basically requires the GM to houserule more. a lot more. once you get used to it though, it's not bad.
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silhouette
post Aug 19 2006, 11:56 PM
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Jaid:

Not convinced. I can see your case, but I disagree. I think it was because all the tests used differetn things, there was loads of working out of target numbers, agents were different again, otaku were different again. you had loads of stuff for your deck with program multipliers, bandwidth, and memory. These are the things that ground it to a halt (or at least meant you sent your other players for pizza)

SR4 SHOULD be faster. The Dice mechanic is simply faster. No hacking pool, programs simpler. Ic = Agents = autonomous programs. These are things which SHOULD make the game more strightforward, but I don't think they do because they are left flapping in the wind.

And your last point I am sure is true. I imagine once you have a system it is easier. But why should we houserule to sort it? There is so much that shouldn't need it.


So bringing back to my original point, would an "unofficial unwired" be a good idea, perhaps you think yes? Because you say with a bunch of house rules it works well. Is that the case?
It sounds like you already HAVE pinned down some of these things I find nebulous. And you are saying that that helped.
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Bull
post Aug 20 2006, 12:05 AM
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Sorry I haven't been around much this last week. There was a plague going around Gen Con, and I caught it, and have been sick all week. :(

Anyways, I'm gonna start banging out stuff for the FAQ this weekend, but it will likely be a few weeks before it's done, as I'm gonna be running stuff by some of the other freelancers and FanPro folks, and some of them are busy and thus take a while to respond to things.

Bull
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Cynic project
post Aug 20 2006, 12:27 AM
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And here is another case of hard limits starting right the level of normal characters. You build you character and you hit the limit before you even start playing.
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Adarael
post Aug 20 2006, 12:50 AM
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Where exactly is this hard limit, Cynic?

I'm just not sure what you're referring to.
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Jaid
post Aug 20 2006, 01:47 AM
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QUOTE (silhouette)
So bringing back to my original point, would an "unofficial unwired" be a good idea, perhaps you think yes? Because you say with a bunch of house rules it works well. Is that the case?
It sounds like you already HAVE pinned down some of these things I find nebulous. And you are saying that that helped.

in a manner of speaking, yes... an "unnoficial unwired" is a good idea as far as suggestions on how to handle various things is concerned. note that i say suggestions, not so much "this is how the rules work" (although i suppose unnoficial kinda implies that, doesn't it =P )

i am aware of at least two attempts to run a hacking example thread, one other example thread that went through a basic run (the one that finished got finished because it was an example run by one person, the others were attempts to have DM/player interaction with observer discussion on the side iirc, and got bogged down then nixed by RL... accursed RL always interferes with the important things! =P )

i would recommend you look to those for some "unofficial unwired" goodness.

also, i believe serbitar's house rule package includes his rulings on various matrix rules as well (he also ran one of the two threads that never finished, or at least it didn't finish to my knowledge).

as far as SR4 having a faster mechanic, i don't necessarily agree. i don't see it being terribly faster unless your dice are loaded for 6s at any rate, since it takes the same amount of time to roll the dice regardless of quantity. if we're talking about different things using different rules, that's not a function of faster mechanic... that's a function of how much you can remember. which, admittedly, will have an effect on how fast the game runs, but not due to the mechanics.... run it through a computer (which has the ability to remember it all equally) and you will find the mechanic is just as fast.

i will acknowledge that SR4 typically runs faster though... just not because of the mechanics, per se. and of course, that assumes your GM is good at covering the blank spots in the rules.
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Zen Shooter01
post Aug 20 2006, 03:28 AM
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I find the Unwired World chapter very confusing. It's the thing I like the least about SR4.

But...between Bull's promised FAQ and the scheduled release of Unwired, I think that an unofficial "explanation" would only muddy the issue and very soon be superceded by official material.
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Jaid
post Aug 20 2006, 03:40 AM
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bull's FAQ is unofficial actually. he's just doing it cause he's such a nice guy =P

and as far as unwired replacing it... well, let's just say that "unwired" and "soon" probably don't belong together in that context =D unless of course you happen to consider waiting until <we don't actually know when> to be "soon".

personally, i don't =D
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Adam
post Aug 20 2006, 04:53 AM
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Don't tell Bull, but I'll totally be leaning on him to donate his research time to the FanPro SR4 FAQ. ;-)
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Cynic project
post Aug 20 2006, 07:18 AM
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QUOTE (Adarael)
Where exactly is this hard limit, Cynic?

I'm just not sure what you're referring to.

You can't raise your skills higher than what you can start with. You can buy the best softwaret o start with. You can't improve.You can only spread out.
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Adarael
post Aug 20 2006, 07:52 AM
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AHH. Yes. Sort of.
In the RAW, it suggests capping programs and hardware at 6. However, it also mentions that things can, theoretically, exceed that limit. Such as ultra-hard-core corporate systems.

Following that, I imagine ratings may exceed 6 in Unwired, and if you really need to, you can create rules to exceed the 6-cap, as far as hardware and software is concerned. You'd just have to houserule cost until Unwired.
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Samaels Ghost
post Aug 20 2006, 08:04 AM
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I just wish that there was something to spice up security instead of numbers. Oh snap, a 7! DAMN! ....pbbt
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Bull
post Aug 20 2006, 08:58 AM
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QUOTE (Adam)
Don't tell Bull, but I'll totally be leaning on him to donate his research time to the FanPro SR4 FAQ. ;-)

Rob mentioned something similar to me as well, but i didn't wanna get the kids hopes up until I had actually gotten somewhere with the project :)

Bull
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Aug 20 2006, 01:45 PM
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I sure hope it won't add to already available confusion:
QUOTE (SR4v3 @ p. 220, Using Data Search Skill)
If you wanted to pick out a particular person’s PAN in a crowded club, for example, you’d roll Data Search + Scan program.
vs.
QUOTE (SR4v3 @ p. 225, Using Electronic Warfare Skill)
Finding a particular node in a crowded area might be more diffi cult: make an Electronic Warfare + Scan (variable, 1 Combat Turn) Extended Test against a gamemaster-determined threshold based on the diffi culty of finding and selecting out the node in question.
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cybertrucker
post Aug 20 2006, 04:37 PM
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The hard cap rule sux! I have been thinking of removing it, and instead making it cost twice as many karma then listed to advance. As for stats not skills. I dont see the reason why you couldnt have cyberware or magic for that matter bring your stats above the racial limit. If a human buys a complete arm replacement and loads it down to be stonger than a troll I dont have a problem with that. i havent implemented that yet, but have been giving it alot of thought.


On the topic of hacking cyberware I have had issues with that as well. Our technomancer always try to search for wireless cyberware but If its installed in the body I have a hard time saying its wireless the only thing I have let her play around with is wireless smartguns. Some of the old guns they have ran across realize this weakness and stick to old tech though in the campaign using wired smartguns. But the average corp security and newer runners think that being on the edge of technology is always best.
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LilithTaveril
post Aug 20 2006, 04:41 PM
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The hard caps are put in place because the system is not designed to work without them.

As for the hacking rules: Unless it uses a skinlink or lacks any form of programming, it's probably wireless in some ways. This includes cybernetic implants, but excludes bioware. So, yes, you can potentially hack and take over someone with an implanted commlink.
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Bull
post Aug 20 2006, 04:48 PM
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QUOTE (cybertrucker)
The hard cap rule sux! I have been thinking of removing it, and instead making it cost twice as many karma then listed to advance. As for stats not skills. I dont see the reason why you couldnt have cyberware or magic for that matter bring your stats above the racial limit. If a human buys a complete arm replacement and loads it down to be stonger than a troll I dont have a problem with that. i havent implemented that yet, but have been giving it alot of thought.

This is part of the post is a bit off topic for this post, plus is something that's been argued to death already. No problems yet, just saying that this will not turn into a flame war. Thanks.

As for the comment itself, well... Honestly, the game doesn't break if you remove the caps. Doubling the karama cost is a good way to avoid power creep from getting too out of hand.

The caps are really just an internal balancing system, to allow for consistancy within the game. 6 was always supposed to be this "Mastery" level for skills, or "world class athelete" level for attributes, and NPCs in modules were often built accordingly, but in the real world of Shadowrun, 6 was closer to an average stat or skill, if the NPCs had any hope of competeing with Shadowrunners at all. I know in my SR2 and 3 games, I just changed the scale from 1-6 to 1-9, making 6 the "Chargen Default Cap".

As for Cyber/Magic allowing for over 1.5, again, doesn;t do too much to the game, within reason. You do need to be careful though as it's really easy to get very high stats pretty cheap this way. My suggestion would be that a 9 cap (Or the equivelant for Humans) should be the limit for non-exceptional attributes (i.e., natural stats under 6), and that you the cap raises as players raise their attributes. Thus, if a human raises their strength to 8, their cap becomes 12 instead. This prevents players from just going buck on Cyber and Magic and neglecting their natural attributes early on.

But as I said, off topic, so if you wanna continue this conbversation, maybe copy all this into a new thread? ;) Provided we can avoid arguments?

Bull
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