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> Tips and Tricks for Hackers
James McMurray
post Jul 8 2007, 06:37 AM
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I've never played a decker or hacker, and only very rarely GMed one, which means my newest character (an adept Hacker) is a serious stretch for me. What kind of tips and tricks can you fill me in on so I don't get my group killed on our first run by pulling a bonehead move (like broadcasting our SINs instead of running silent)?
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Tarantula
post Jul 8 2007, 08:39 AM
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Well, if you're into hacking, get stealth up as high as you can. Its what saves you from getting noticed.
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knasser
post Jul 8 2007, 11:07 AM
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QUOTE (James McMurray)
I've never played a decker or hacker, and only very rarely GMed one, which means my newest character (an adept Hacker) is a serious stretch for me. What kind of tips and tricks can you fill me in on so I don't get my group killed on our first run by pulling a bonehead move (like broadcasting our SINs instead of running silent)?


Wow! Now that's a five-hundred word essay question. To a large extent it depends on how your GM sets up the Matrix in her game so help posted here may not apply. Always remember to spoof your data trail and get programs as high as you can. But from there, only the GM knows what you'll need. Maybe there are lots of wireless security cameras around and you can use lots of Electronic Warfare and Spoof rolls to shut them down all the time, or maybe your GM is unable to deal with the Matrix properly and falls back on the "the whole place is wired only and you have to plug your head into a terminal in room X" dullness in which case you're probably best just building a samurai and buying Armour and Attack for the obligatory IC encounter.

If you have a look at the example Matrix sites I did on my site (link in sig), then you'll get an idea of what you'd encounter in my game and I could go over what a hacker would be needing to do to get through those systems... but it's probably is best to first assess your GM's view on the Matrix and how competent they are with running it.

I suppose a few specific tricks are to make sure everyone's commlinks are hidden and subscribed only to your own. Get an agent / IC program with decent Pilot and Analyze attributes and have it jump from comm to comm (running from your own) every combat phase (whether in combat or out) and check for intruders. If your GM scores highly on the arse scale, make sure wireless on all cyberware etc is turned off.

The main thing is to be innovative in what you can do with your hacking skills. You can check staff access logs to see what hours your target works, you can you browse rolls to identify social networks to see where they hang out or delivery companies to see when the drinks machines are stocked and use it as cover for infiltration. You can sneak micro-drones into people's homes and subvert their home systems to get information. You can even re-route a bus to work so it heads for your party's ambush. Hackers have great power when combined with imagination.

Good analyze, good stealth, good spoof. Anything else is going to depend on your GMs level of imagination and involvement in the Matrix.
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Wasabi
post Jul 8 2007, 01:35 PM
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CHARACTER BUILDING TIPS AND TRICKS:
1) Codeslinger (Hacking into a node)
2) Homeground (Either your own network if a TM to make Sprite gaining and Decoding easier or a social gathering place in the Matrix if an online Face character type)
3) Specialize Hacking in "Exploit"
4) Specialize Computer in "Analyze"
5) Edge > All
6) Two words: "Sleep Regulator"
7) Knowsofts. They don't alllow edge but turn you into a total brainiac. Crack and ditribute so your group gets a bunch of people testing to know that special something the GM has tucked away for knowlegable runners.
8) Your online contacts will probably be the ONLY online contacts the group has. You'll have a recurring need for selling paydata and buying knowsofts. You heard it first here. :-)

TRICKS & TIPS FOR PLAYING A HACKER/TM
1) Use the custom commlink rules to make a 6/6/6/6 commlink as soon as you can afford it.
2) Consider getting Kanmushi spider drones or FlySpy drones with maxed commlinks for relaying off of and getting around a few wireless-paint laden corners. Note that Firewall and System are programs which can be cracked and reused on multiple commlinks... such as your fellow runners commlinks.
3) TM's can be shapechanged (the spell) and still hack/rig/EW. Pigeons with full cover might even miss an astrally patrolling spirit/astral guard. Concealment power makes this even better yet.
4) TM's should spam the Diagnostics power from a Machine sprite on their group. They'll love you for it.
5) AR-based hackers benefit from wired reflexes. Their meat speed is shared by their AR avatar.
6) Focus on where to get the info. This is where cleverness on the part of the player pays off. For example, if looking for the relatives of your target you could pull up the addressbook on the target's commlink and then have an agent do a reverse lookup from an online phonebook. Outthinking the situation as it were.
7) Agents can automate tasks in an insecure environment. If you hack into somewhere and are looking at camera footage for something specific. Have an agent do it on your own commlink and have the agent contact you when its done.
8) Think in parallel. Have a small army of agents doing productive things while you do productive things.
9) If a TM, Diagnostics Power+Autodoc = really handy (and controllable when you are jacked in if you have a biomonitor on you. Just dont let it get hijacked or you may ened up sedated/dead due to air embolism...)
10) Know what "Administrative access" is and can do. I often use it to create a valid login, edit the log to show it got made at the OS installation date, then log out of the hacked login and login as the fake administrator.
11) Some sprites can suppress an alarm. If you can find the paydata quickly it can be a lot easier than sneaking in a node. You'll still need a super high stealth though!
12) Crack your programs and put copies on enemy commlinks and hack from theirs. Let Ares know that Mr Johnson hacked his node as you laugh all the way to the bank.
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Marwynn
post Jul 8 2007, 02:28 PM
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Wasabi, you're evil.

I like you.
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knasser
post Jul 8 2007, 02:32 PM
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QUOTE (Wasabi @ Jul 8 2007, 01:35 PM)
3) TM's can be shapechanged (the spell) and still hack/rig/EW. Pigeons with full cover might even miss an astrally patrolling spirit/astral guard. Concealment power makes this even better yet.


Well that could be a simple way to settle the question of whether or not technomancers are magic. If they can do their thing whilst shapechanged into anything else, then they are!

Great list by the way, Wasabi
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Wasabi
post Jul 8 2007, 02:42 PM
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I'd agree with a statement that said, "TM's use resonance-based magic which is incompatible with non-TM magic."

Otherwise you'd probably need to exclude them from the commonly accepted "magic paradigm" as they can't cross learn any spell/summons/initiation.

My .02
(Sorry to sidetrack there)
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 02:43 PM
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Get at least two implanted comlinks a a hacker.
The first one has WiFi (and skinlink) and runs Analyse, ECCM, Scan, Sniffer and an Agent all the time, acting as radio and firewall.
The second one is only internally linked and hosts your persona and everything you need to hack.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 02:48 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
QUOTE (Wasabi @ Jul 8 2007, 01:35 PM)
3) TM's can be shapechanged (the spell) and still hack/rig/EW. Pigeons with full cover might even miss an astrally patrolling spirit/astral guard. Concealment power makes this even better yet.

Well that could be a simple way to settle the question of whether or not technomancers are magic. If they can do their thing whilst shapechanged into anything else, then they are!

As cyberware is not excluded from shapechange anymore it is also usable.
Which in turn means that cyberware is magic, too.

Looks like the Technocracy extracted victory from defeat, huh? :eek:
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Red
post Jul 8 2007, 03:40 PM
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I have two suggestions for a new hacker. The first is to try to segregate your teams commlinks, cyberware, and other devices into three distinct networks.

The first network is the private network. The private network for each person includes cyberware, their smartlink, and a personal commlink which are interconnected exclusively through skinlinks.

The second network is the team network. It includes one commlink with as much firewall and system and response as you can muster. It also includes removable sensewear like shades with image link, earbuds with sound links, etc... This network is used for communication between the team. Everyone should have as much stealth, analyze, ECCM, encryption, etc... The commlink on this network should have at least 1 IC or Agent looking for intruders. If using an agent, have it periodicly use spoof. This network should have a physical killswitch.

The third network is the public one. Place whatever SIN you are using here, and any backup information you need to play your public role.

Naturally these networks should intersect as rarely as possible. Granted you may need them to time to time, and if that is the case try to move files via datachips instead of literal connections.

The second suggection is that you should collect as many commlinks as you can. Even the crummy ones. I once had a character collect up to 40 rating 3/3/3/3 commlinks in a radio sealed suitcase. This suitcase had some cables and a switch to allow radio broadcast. Depending on the GM, you can do a lot of things with such a little workforce.
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knasser
post Jul 8 2007, 03:57 PM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jul 8 2007, 02:48 PM)
QUOTE (knasser @ Jul 8 2007, 04:32 PM)
QUOTE (Wasabi @ Jul 8 2007, 01:35 PM)
3) TM's can be shapechanged (the spell) and still hack/rig/EW. Pigeons with full cover might even miss an astrally patrolling spirit/astral guard. Concealment power makes this even better yet.

Well that could be a simple way to settle the question of whether or not technomancers are magic. If they can do their thing whilst shapechanged into anything else, then they are!

As cyberware is not excluded from shapechange anymore it is also usable.
Which in turn means that cyberware is magic, too.

Looks like the Technocracy extracted victory from defeat, huh? :eek:


You'd allow a person with an implanted commlink to be shapechanged into an animal and continue to hack / access the Matrix / chat to friends using said commlink ???!!!??? Use their smartlink targetter in the form of a bear etc, if they'd had that implanted??? How about an implanted cybergun?
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 03:59 PM
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There is nothing in the shapechanges rules anymore that states otherwise.
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bibliophile20
post Jul 8 2007, 04:00 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't allow it, either for TMs or for the hackers, because in the changed form, the electronics/modified nervous system doesn't exist.
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toturi
post Jul 8 2007, 04:01 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
You'd allow a person with an implanted commlink to be shapechanged into an animal and continue to hack / access the Matrix / chat to friends using said commlink ???!!!??? Use their smartlink targetter in the form of a bear etc, if they'd had that implanted??? How about an implanted cybergun?

Other than a GM ruling/house rule, you got a canon rule quote that says you can't?
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 04:02 PM
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QUOTE (bibliophile20)
Personally, I wouldn't allow it, either for TMs or for the hackers, because in the changed form, the electronics/modified nervous system doesn't exist.

The rules don't say that anymore...
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knasser
post Jul 8 2007, 04:12 PM
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I look forward to my kangaroo samurai with the hydraulic jacks, implanted dual SMG cyberarms and orthoskin.

I'll keep the hacker partner in drop bear form in my pouch, running rating six hacking programs in his head as we zoom through the compound, leaping over the startled guards.

You've just opened up a whole new world to me.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 04:16 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
You've just opened up a whole new world to me.

A whole new world of pain for your GM, too. :grinbig:

The only thing that may be a problem is the lack of the Flight skill birds feature... being a flying TM will cost you Karma.
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knasser
post Jul 8 2007, 04:23 PM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jul 8 2007, 04:16 PM)
QUOTE (knasser @ Jul 8 2007, 06:12 PM)
You've just opened up a whole new world to me.

A whole new world of pain for your GM, too. :grinbig:


Actually, I am the GM. I'm not convinced about the functioning cyberware in animal form. The above was deliberate hyperbole.

There's nothing under the spell description that forbids the intrepretation, but it would mean that the magician is not only shapechanging the subject's biological body, but restructuing highly complex electronics - a bear with a human cyberleg would have a terrible limp. All that the spell says is that clothing and equipment is not affected. I don't interpret that to mean that cyberware is modified. And if it is not modified, then I can't see the aforementioned hacker-pigeon still being able to use the implanted commlink (or the kangaroo samurai, in fact).

EDIT:

QUOTE (Rotbart Van Danig)

The only thing that may be a problem is the lack of the Flight skill birds feature... being a flying TM will cost you Karma.


No - it would still have Flight 0. It would only be a problem if the TM had taken Incompetent: Flying. ;)
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 04:27 PM
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It was paid with essence and if the spell is not stating otherwise, transformed according to it.
If it's not transformed, the person would most likely die.

If you got a cyber arm, you now are a dog with a cyber fore-leg. Not that much a problem.
In fact, it would cause more problems in magic theory to leave the implants unconverted or have them turn into flesh.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 04:30 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
No - it would still have Flight 0. It would only be a problem if the TM had taken Incompetent: Flying.

Well, given the physical attributes scores of the typical TM... defaulting sounds painful.
(What Attribute is Flight tied to, anyway?)
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knasser
post Jul 8 2007, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig)
QUOTE (knasser @ Jul 8 2007, 06:23 PM)
No - it would still have Flight 0. It would only be a problem if the TM had taken Incompetent: Flying.

Well, given the physical attributes scores of the typical TM... defaulting sounds painful.
(What Attribute is Flight tied to, anyway?)


Presumably the same as Running as it's the bird-equivalent. That would make it Strength. I wouldn't worry though, as with the extra hits on the Shapechange spell, the TM's physical attributes will probably go up!

I'm thinking the cyberware issue over, btw.
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fistandantilus4....
post Jul 8 2007, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
I look forward to my kangaroo samurai with the hydraulic jacks, implanted dual SMG cyberarms and orthoskin.

I'll keep the hacker partner in drop bear form in my pouch, running rating six hacking programs in his head as we zoom through the compound, leaping over the startled guards.

You've just opened up a whole new world to me.

We can use men like you Knasser. The DBC is waiting.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 8 2007, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE (knasser @ Jul 8 2007, 06:36 PM)
I wouldn't worry though, as with the extra hits on the Shapechange spell, the TM's physical attributes will probably go up!

There's another interesting point, too - as the physical attributes are now based on the critter's normal ones... what are the limits of those? That is interesting for both augmented values the target already had, and the augmention he receives through Shapechange.

Personally, I would take the given values as average, add 3 to get max natural (and substract 3 to get min natural), then proceed to calculate max agmented from max natural x1,5.
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James McMurray
post Jul 8 2007, 06:40 PM
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I'd like to keep this thread about hacking, so created this one for the cyberware / shapechange debate.
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stevebugge
post Jul 9 2007, 10:26 PM
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I like playing hackers, as long as you think creatively on the fly you can do a lot. Keep in mind that a lot of things can be hacked, and while the obvious things like security systems etc are likely to be hardwired or very hard to hit, there are lots of softer targets (vending machines, maintainence drones, etc.) that can be very useful if you're creative. Of course other peoples underdefended Commlinks probably top the list of thing to hack for fun and profit
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