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> Player Doubts Black Hammer VR Damage?
Shadowfox
post Mar 2 2009, 10:27 PM
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So this is my first time GMing a Shadowrun 4th edition game, and last session we finished On The Run, and all my friends are in love with the system. So I've been slowly showing them how The Matrix works, and I was explaining damage from dumpshock and black hammer, and he had a hard time understanding how, even with hot sim VR, how you could be damaged.

You guys are much better at explaining these things, and most of you know the lore and the "science" behind it a lot better than I do, so could you post an explanation I could show him to make him better understand the "injecting large amounts of feedback into the simsense stream? And also how dumpshock hurts, and why you get your connection jammed open with a black hammer/out attack. It's not a huge deal, I just know you guys rock at this kind of info, and I'd like to know a little better myself for fun.
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cryptoknight
post Mar 2 2009, 10:42 PM
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VR means that your nervous system's connection to your body is replaced by a connection to a virtual persona.

If the virtual persona takes damage, your brain interprets that as damage to your body.

This would cause your brain to release the hormonal commands that put the damage controls into effect, extra platlets are released, etc. Your body reacts to the virtual attack by trying to repair damage that's not there. Which causes damage to you.

I can flail around with all sorts of pseudo science if you want but basically Black IC in cyberpunk has always had a chance to kill you.

Remember that in Shadowrun you also have companies that the only way they can protect their server farms is to put up wireless inhibiting paint and cut their servers off from the known world because IDS and dedicated firewall appliances also don't seem to exist. Where a fully cybered person is under your control if you hack his or her pda and he or she didn't disable the wireless connections of their cyberwear (up to and including their cyber dermal armor).

I have a friend who says things like "keep your physics out of my D&D", which is aptly suited to this.

Keep your reality out of my Shadowrun.

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Ayeohx
post Mar 2 2009, 11:07 PM
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I'm of a different view. Shadowrun use to try to explain itself, that was what made it such a rich game for me. Didn't an actual doctor write the first cyberware book (Shadowtech)?
Anyhow, the last poster is right about the direct neural connection. It can overload your senses and stop your heart. All sensations can be mimicked (even emotions, right?). Now take away the safety net by running in hot sim. Think of experiencing an orgasm at 100 times greater than normal. Ever experienced the sensation of having your skin ripped off? Bet you can in the Matrix! All of that stress, including the most alien, screwed up sensations that we can't even normally feel (like being put in a giant blender but being perfectly aware of the whole process) will take a huge toll on someone.
Even if real life the mind can do a lot of damage to the body. Depressed folks tend to get sick easier. Mass emotional and mental stress can cause muscles to tighten to the point of ripping. Look at really bad seizures and you'll get what I'm talking about.
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Sir_Psycho
post Mar 2 2009, 11:22 PM
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Let's be clear that Black Hammer damage is not stigmata. There shouldn't be external wounds. It's neurological damage.

Your brain is artificially experiencing a virtual world, and it is experiencing it fast. In rule terms, Matrix actions and physical actions happen in the same time, but when you consider that a single pass in physical reality is something like shooting you gun twice, in the matrix it could be you using your skills to analyze and penetrate tiny weaknesses in the code. The matrix has always been very fast; people wake up after a matrix run and while it feels like they just went on a huge adventure and spent hours rifling through code and massive landscapes, they were actually only gone for a few minutes.

So, to bring this back to the topic of damage. Athletes damage themselves all the time by pushing themselves too hard. So you've plugged something that manipulates your brain via electrical pulses, and your brain is processing at unprecedented speeds while experiencing a wave of simsense. Now some-one is trying to hurt you. How can they do it? Well, considering that you're connected to the matrix via a commlink, then they're going to attack that. But your commlink is manipulating your brain via electrical impulses. So when they say ASIST "spike", they mean that your sim module has just sent you way too much information, and that means the plug in your head is going to fry your brain.

As far as I can remember, you could
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Draco18s
post Mar 2 2009, 11:23 PM
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Tell him, "if I stick wires in your head and shock your brain, do you expect it to hurt?"

(Short answer: yes, long answer, no because there aren't nerve endings, but it'll sure as hell mess me up).

White IC kicks you offline (attacks your icon).
Gray IC fries your hardware (IEEE! CPU ON FIRE!)
Black IC fries you.
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Sir_Psycho
post Mar 2 2009, 11:27 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 2 2009, 07:23 PM) *
White IC kicks you offline (attacks your icon).
Gray IC fries your hardware (IEEE! CPU ON FIRE!)
Black IC fries you.

Just as a note, don't worry about this. Gray IC didn't make the switch to SR4.
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Jaid
post Mar 2 2009, 11:36 PM
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well, in a manner of speaking it did. you have viruses that can do weird stuff to your hardware, and the nuke program can temporarily lower your hardware ratings. but yeah, on the whole you don't have gray IC anymore. at least, not like you used to.
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Matsci
post Mar 3 2009, 12:24 AM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ Mar 2 2009, 03:36 PM) *
well, in a manner of speaking it did. you have viruses that can do weird stuff to your hardware, and the nuke program can temporarily lower your hardware ratings. but yeah, on the whole you don't have gray IC anymore. at least, not like you used to.


I think it's becouse someone invented a thing called fuses.
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Draco18s
post Mar 3 2009, 12:39 AM
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QUOTE (Matsci @ Mar 2 2009, 07:24 PM) *
I think it's becouse someone invented a thing called fuses.


I always considered it was the fuses that blew anyway, just that without them you computer didn't work. It's the same as killing the actual hardware, but less expensive to fix.
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Cardul
post Mar 3 2009, 12:36 PM
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How I always handled it is:

Your brain is jacked into the matrix. Black IC causes "lethal biofeedback"(that is how it was described in the old rules, and I keep it like that). What is Bio-feedback? Biofeedback Therapy is where they hook you to electronics to measure your heart rate, brain waves, blood pressure, respiration, and then you consciously try to move those to a more acceptable level though a combination of mental and physical techniques. Black IC, however, is doing the opposite of this. It is using the direct access to your brain to do things like speed up your heart rate(possible heart muscle tears!) to increase your blood pressure(Nose-bleeds, burst vessels in the eyes and brain), slow or speed up your respiration(hypoxia or hyperventilation!). It also can cause things like muscles to constrict to cause a clot or cut off blood supply to your brain. It could even, theoretically, cause an actual seizure.
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Sir_Psycho
post Mar 3 2009, 03:12 PM
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That certainly does have the appeal of gritty flare. I do quite like the image of the hacker's unconscious meat body convulsing and having to wipe the trickles of blood from their ears and mouth after a hard hot sim hacking session.
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Malachi
post Mar 3 2009, 03:46 PM
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Tell him that he can be immune to Black IC if he can turn to any players playing Awakened characters and tell them that he "doesn't believe" Magic, so it doesn't exist.
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imperialus
post Mar 3 2009, 05:17 PM
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This threads title reminds me of one of my first Shadowrun sessions (after having played D&D for a couple years) where the decker got his brain cooked by a piece of black IC. Turned to the GM and said... "Umm... I disbelieve?"
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KarmaInferno
post Mar 3 2009, 07:06 PM
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I know people have varying opinions about the source, but:

"Your mind makes it real."
"If you're killed in the matrix, you die here?"
"The body cannot live without the mind."


(IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)



-karma
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Cardul
post Mar 4 2009, 04:21 AM
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QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Mar 3 2009, 11:12 AM) *
That certainly does have the appeal of gritty flare. I do quite like the image of the hacker's unconscious meat body convulsing and having to wipe the trickles of blood from their ears and mouth after a hard hot sim hacking session.



Well...that too...honestly, I just figured my explanation made the most sense, and it is how I have always heard it explained. Generally speaking, I think Old Timers running Shadowrun have a different take on it then someone who had their first exposure be the current BBB, or, heaven help us all, the Micro-Squish Shadowrun game...
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KCKitsune
post Mar 4 2009, 06:14 AM
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QUOTE (Cardul @ Mar 3 2009, 11:21 PM) *
...SNIP...

heaven help us all, the Micro-Squish Shadowrun game...


Cardul... we don't talk about that "game". (IMG:style_emoticons/default/mad.gif)
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TheOOB
post Mar 4 2009, 07:20 AM
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It's not that hard to imagine. Your brain is hooked directally up to the computer, receiving signals that trigger your other senses. The input from the matrix overrides your normal sight, smell, taste, hearing, a feeling, hell even your emotions. Normally, this is kept to safe levels. You can be disoriented and sickened, even knocked out, but no lasting damage can be done though.

Some people, however, turn off their fail safe options and run hot sim.

Now I can write a program that will cause your computer to display a picture of a bunny, and in shadowrun you can write a program that will make someone see a program in VR by sending sensory data to the brain. On the other hand, I can write a program that will force your computer to run through a repeating loop causing a crash. In shadowrun you could right a program that sends a massive amount of sensory overload, that confuseses the brain and causes it to send orders to your body to try to compensate for the faulty information it is receiving, which would result in seizure like symptoms. Thats all kinds of dangerous. Heck, if you where really nasty you could just have the program cause your brain to tell your heart to stop. When your brain is being used as a computer, unless you have good protection someone can tell your brain to do pretty much whatever they want.
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Draco18s
post Mar 4 2009, 07:36 AM
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Reminds me of the theoretical (and fictional) pictures that would crash the human mind like "a badly written computer program." One of which--when viewed in a non-harmful form--looked something like a bunny.
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