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> From decking to hacking., Help an old 3rd edition luddite.
Shev
post Apr 24 2007, 02:31 AM
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So, I'm finally catching up from 3rd edition to 4th. I'm pushing through the new book slowly, to make sure I'm catching all the little things that are there, and some that aren't. (Like skills not costing you extra to raise them above your attributes. That I saw, at least.)

In any case, I have a player who says he wants to be a spider. Basically, the guy who sits in the van outside, plugging into the building's security network and disabling the defenses piece by piece for his team.

Coming from 3rd edition, that sounds more the realm of the decker, or hacker as they seem to be called now. They would plug into the matrix on-site and disable key systems. Does this character want to be a rigger? Or a hacker? Maybe a combination of both?
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Eyeless Blond
post Apr 24 2007, 02:57 AM
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making a hacker/rigger is almost easy now. Well sorta; everything is skill-based now, so both will cost you in karma, but you can do well by putting them together.

That said, it's rather heavily implied that you're not supposed to be allowed to do that anymore. The Matrix itself has been heavily simplified, such that a guy who does nothing but hack by remote is going to get bored fast. Further, everything uses wireless now, along with wireless-blocking paint, effectively isolating rooms from each other, like an above-ground D&D dungeon. So hacking from *outside* is going to be a problem you need to get around, probably with drones carrying wires and wireless transmitters.
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fistandantilus4....
post Apr 25 2007, 12:16 AM
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Moved to 4th edt Forum on request from Shev. Shev asked nicely. Good job Shev.
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Shev
post Apr 25 2007, 02:48 AM
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Thanks muchly. :-D In any case...This player wants to wrest control of security away from security riggers. That sounds like the domain of a hacker to me, not a rigger. Am I right? How would I go about making such a "hostile takeover" kind of character in 4th?
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Whipstitch
post Apr 25 2007, 03:16 AM
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A spider is a Hacker/DRONE rigger, to be exact, with a heavy emphasis on anti-hacker skills. The character most likely won't have the stuff to be a real VEHICLE rigger as well, at least not straight out of chargen, anyway. The key when making a hacker/drone rigger, or spider, is to realize that you need to emphasize the skills that have some real synergy so things dovetail together nice. You need to approach using drones from the perspective of a hacker; you don't operate them yourself so much as you just manipulate programs to do it all for you. Such a character should probably take Cracking and Electronics as skill groups rather than try and hit 5s and 6s in Computer/Hacking for the sake of saving bps. It also means that while having a nice Van is a great luxury and a must for hauling your drones around, the emphasis should still be on great Pilot programs and hacking, not driving skills. Your van is there to get you and your drones to the site, not make truly harrowing getaways. I cannot emphasize this enough: the key is to not go too nutty on those vehicle skills; being a pure vehicle rigger is still a fulltime job in SR4, if you want to be truly good at it, because without Priority A and a million nuyen to play with, you simply can't really afford to own a fleet of vehicles anymore (heck, even a single utility helicopter is mostly out of the question, it just costs too much). A Spider is a great character to have around, and actually isn't too hard to build, really, you just need to resist the urge to spread yourself too thin.
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Shev
post Apr 25 2007, 03:28 AM
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See, this player doesn't even want to play with drones. His goals are as follows:

1.Take over any hostile network. Open doors for the team, disable defenses, see where they are on the map, etc. This sounded like a Hacker to me, but then he said he basically wanted accomplish this to punt any security riggers out of the system and use their interface, essentially.

2. Do 1 (if at all possible) from a safe, remote location. He has almost NO combat skills, as well as combat paralysis. If he can sit in the van and do all the above, so much the better.

3. Drive the van away expertly after the team gets out.

So, if he doesn't use drones, does he even need a rig?
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Whipstitch
post Apr 25 2007, 03:45 AM
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He's a hacker then, no bones about it. If he's going to go balls out hacker, I'd suggest dropping combat paralysis. It's actually surprisingly easy to shave points when building a pure Hacker in chargen, so he probably won't need the 20 bps so bad that he's willing to risk being surprised more often. Not that he'd be likely to survive the first time he gets surprised... Letting an attacker simply roll for successes unopposed is a very, very bad thing.
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ccelizic
post Apr 25 2007, 04:08 AM
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I'd definitely go for drones.

A) they give you a physical presense with the team, and a means of manipulating things in meatspace without being there. You can direct the drone indirectly as a hacker for a lot of stuff. And not every aspect of the security system can be accessed wirelessly. You got doors that might have to be physicaly overriden, commputers that have to be accessed physicaly via a data-cable. You can have the drone do all this. Drone jacks in, you jump from the drone's node to the node it's plugged into, whammo, you're in. Plus there's all sorts of fun to be had roleplaying a drone when you are interacting with the team from the fan broadcasting into a drone.

B) they can act as survielance for your hideaway spot. The Book notes that some secure facilities check routinely for odd wireless activity in a perimeter around the facility. A hacker broadcasting a wi-fi signal from a point that normally doesn't broadcast one might be "odd activity" they will triangulate the signal and try to investigate the source (see page 256). Having a drone patrolling the area around your van will help keep you from being caught flat footed. And a hacker with combat paralysis would do VERY bad being caught flat footed. Jacked into full VR, even if there's an alarm sounded by the van, by the time he's ready to do anything after the surprise he's going to be full of lead.

C) Router, a drone can act as a wireless router. As mentioned before a lot of facilities have a wi-fi inhibting paint job (See page 256 agian). This will generally be on the outside of the facility (The guards still need a way of communicating inside the facility so I'd suspect signals inside the facility going to other points inside the facility would work). It acts as a jammer, if the paint job's rating beats your signal rating you can't punch through it, and it's feasible to have something impenetrable by a hacker working from a van without something relaying the singal.

A lot of this stuff can be done without a control rig too. But the FAQ did note that the +2 bonus from the rig stacks with the +2 bonus for full VR, so a meager skill rating in gunnery gets respectable with a +4 bonus behind it.

I'd be careful poking around secure facilities data networks. I mean not only do you have IC but you can count on a security rigger working all the security systems that you'll probably hae to disable, and a few security hackers on call. If more then one hacker jumps your spider he's gonna be in for one heck of a cyberbrawl, and with combat paralysis kicking into that it won't open up on sweet note either.

If he doesn't have at least a drone running recon around his hacking point in the van though, he's going to end up with the team finding him dead with a nice clean hole bored in his forehead if he's not careful.
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Shev
post Apr 25 2007, 05:17 AM
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Thanks for all the help guys! It'll come in handy. However, this player is really not "feeling it" when it comes to drones, so I'm not going to push the issue. And the combat paralysis is being run at a reduced bonus, and only applying to combat in the flesh. Cybercombat would not be affected.

So, it seems pure hacker IS the way to go, here.
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Magus
post Apr 25 2007, 06:11 AM
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QUOTE (Shev)
Thanks for all the help guys! It'll come in handy. However, this player is really not "feeling it" when it comes to drones, so I'm not going to push the issue. And the combat paralysis is being run at a reduced bonus, and only applying to combat in the flesh. Cybercombat would not be affected.

So, it seems pure hacker IS the way to go, here.

I do have combat paralysis affect ALL forms of combat. Cyber, Astral as well as Meat. I mean it is all still getting your juices flowing.
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Wasabi
post Apr 25 2007, 09:49 AM
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If Combat Paralysis doesnt apply to all forms of combat it shouldnt remain a 20pt neg quality.

Drones aren't required to be a hacker/rigger but are the only way to be combat effective. You can skip vehicle control rigs and drone based skills and let the pilot programs and autosofts take care of everything. If playing a TM you can even exceed the max pilot and autosoft ratings with Machine Sprites.

To play a anti-security hacker consider Codeslinger (Breaking In) and Computer skill specialization (Analyze) and Hacking skill specialization (Exploit).
To play a anti-security smuggler consider Codeslinger (Scan) and Computer skill specialization (Analyze) and Electronic Warfare skill specialization (Communications)
To play a cyberspace ninja who fights his way through consider Codeslinger (Cybercombat) and Computer skill specialization (Analyze) and Cybercombat skill specialization (Blackhammer).

After getting enough nuyen all three variants of a the general purpose hacker become of similar ability as their program ratings and gear become roughly the same.

Lastly, provided you have a mage to have a spirit use Concealment on the Steel Lynx you have tons more firepower and survivability using drones to fight instead of people. The only catch is protecting the drones from getting commands spoofed. Technique is the best defense against *that*. A drone rigger with 6 steel lynx drones using silenced walther MA-2100's is starting character legal and darned McNasty...
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Shev
post Apr 25 2007, 04:13 PM
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QUOTE (Wasabi)
If Combat Paralysis doesnt apply to all forms of combat it shouldnt remain a 20pt neg quality.

Nope, it shouldn't. Like I said, he's getting a reduced bonus for it. I'm still waffling between 10 and 15 BP. If he ends up going pure decker, though, I'll likely make it 10.
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Fezig
post Apr 26 2007, 04:15 AM
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One thing I found out by playing it and playing in a group with a person who had Combat Paralysis is that in the fast paced combat of SR, getting the drop like that can put your character completely out of the battle. Missing one full round of combat against even descent opponents is brutal, and thus to me is worth 20bp unless you do allow them to do absolutely everything from the safety of his van.
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Wasabi
post Apr 26 2007, 10:03 AM
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QUOTE (Fezig)
One thing I found out by playing it and playing in a group with a person who had Combat Paralysis is that in the fast paced combat of SR, getting the drop like that can put your character completely out of the battle. Missing one full round of combat against even descent opponents is brutal, and thus to me is worth 20bp unless you do allow them to do absolutely everything from the safety of his van.

If it applies to all situations and the runner plays it smart then hey, give 'em the 20pts, he earned it, but if it only applies during one portion of combat it shouldn;t be worth the full 20pts... thats all I'm asserting.
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Synner667
post May 24 2007, 07:35 PM
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Hi,

There is a cure for being shot in the head..
..Headware RAM, with a backup clone

alternatively, go with headware RAM and medical nanobots [medichines] that repair as soon as they detect injury


Just a thought..
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deek
post May 24 2007, 07:50 PM
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@Shev

I agree, sounds like a hacker focus with some expert vehicle skills...should be pretty easy to do, but from a "team" standpoint, unless you as a GM make sure there is plenty of hacking interspersed with the run's physical action, he could get kinda bored.

The hacker I have in my group focused on hacking and some expert shooting skills. Hacking is really fast, so being mobile and with the rest of the group is a plus. It sounds like this guy's concept is to not be good in combat, which is fine, just that hacking is so quick, to make it really work, you'll have to make sure that he is kept busy during the run, without having to turn the show over to him during every hack.

What I would envision on a run, would be the spider hauling everyone to the site, hack in, and then run communications. He could make sure the team is aware of opponents "around the corner" and then he could pop locks on doors, silence alarms, cut off lights/cameras, etc. Very viable, but I'll just repeat one more time, the GM is going to have to keep the spider busy during the run...

As for the drones, yeah, if he has no desire to play with them, don't even mention them...
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