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> Death of the dedicated decker?, or: Bull, you taking apprentices?
FuelDrop
post Jul 26 2013, 11:19 AM
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In another thread I've ranted about how the new decks are so valuable that even a single rating 2-3 one picked up on a run can be sold on and almost double the recommended pay for the run (at the recommended 25%, so assuming you have an unlucky face).
This isn't about that, but it is related.

How do this generation of Deckers get training?

If you're a street-sam you can pick up a gun fairly cheaply, ditto on the armour. more than that, you can go down to the range or even just tag a wall in the barrens with an AR target and take pot-shots.

An aspiring mage can practice spellcasting and summoning without too much difficulty and with no outside props at all. At worst, you could stunbolt flies during the summer.

A wannabe vehicle rigger can get the feel for remote controlling a vehicle with a commlink and SIM module. If it comes down to it there are plenty of abandoned towns dotting the countryside to practice your leet skills in.

A face can practice their skills anywhere there's people.

How about the humble Decker? Well first thing you'll need is a deck. Huh, for an absolute bottom-of-the-barrel you're looking at fifty grand of investment. Then you need a relatively safe environment to practice? Well, GOD has seen to it that no-where on the matrix is safe for a menace like your aspiring Decker self to practice. This means that you either need protection from GOD (IE a kind and motherly megacorp) or a really good mentor (Bull, Fastjack, one of the last-generation hackers who had enough liquid assets to afford a deck). Even last generation's hackers can potentially be ousted by the new tech, for instance if they had sunk all their cash into their commlink and programs or if for whatever reason they were never the on-site type (asthmatic, paraplegic).

So the thing is, Deckers are at a distinct disadvantage compared to the other roles as far as training is concerned. As a result, it's less likely that deckers can start out their careers focused on their decking. More likely they start in another role until they have the cash for their first deck. Thoughts?
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Slide
post Jul 26 2013, 11:38 AM
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Ways to obtain decks:

1) Military service
2) Corp response team service
3) Doc Wagon Service
3) From the cold dead fingers of a previous decker
4) Off the back of a truck
6) You "built it" yourself
7) Barrowed from the Yaks
(IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif) Sell Drugs
9) Have rich parents
10) Be taken on as an apprentice to a current reclusive and skilled hacker.

"buying" things at character creation doesn't really mean that you paid for them. As far as where to practice, isn't there a way to set up a private host where god wouldn't be watching?
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DireRadiant
post Jul 26 2013, 01:54 PM
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What we obviously need are Life Event tables and random history generator to explain how we got all the goodies we have at game start. Just make sure to keep the "You Died, start over" out of the lists.

I always wonder why no one questions how someone becomes Awakened. They just pick that option in chargen. I mean if you really know how people become Awakened, you would know it's not at all how you do it in SR5 Chargen.
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Vicar
post Jul 26 2013, 01:57 PM
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QUOTE (Slide @ Jul 26 2013, 05:38 AM) *
As far as where to practice, isn't there a way to set up a private host where god wouldn't be watching?


I would think no. In a corp environment, I'm sure the demigods just don't pay any attention because any "hackers in training" would be corp-authorized. But otherwise, if the device is online, connected to the matrix, then it's on a grid, and subject to the demigods of that grid. The device is either visible (normal mode) or detectable (running silent).

The only way that I can think of to "learn to hack" safely (other than being corp-sponsored) is to not be truly online at all (turn the device's wireless off), and use some sort of simulation/emulation software.
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binarywraith
post Jul 26 2013, 02:49 PM
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QUOTE (Vicar @ Jul 26 2013, 08:57 AM) *
I would think no. In a corp environment, I'm sure the demigods just don't pay any attention because any "hackers in training" would be corp-authorized. But otherwise, if the device is online, connected to the matrix, then it's on a grid, and subject to the demigods of that grid. The device is either visible (normal mode) or detectable (running silent).

The only way that I can think of to "learn to hack" safely (other than being corp-sponsored) is to not be truly online at all (turn the device's wireless off), and use some sort of simulation/emulation software.


Or learn to beat feet really well.


But yeah, the level of cotrol GOD supposedly has does in fact essentially eliminate anyone but skilled deckers from access.

Welcome to yet another moment of Unintended Consequences : SR5 Edition.
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Ricochet
post Jul 26 2013, 03:02 PM
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I'm just going to buy a skillsoft to learn. Screw all this practicing.
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Aaron
post Jul 26 2013, 03:09 PM
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QUOTE (Ricochet @ Jul 26 2013, 10:02 AM) *
I'm just going to buy a skillsoft to learn. Screw all this practicing.

I wish this board had a +1 button.
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Fatum
post Jul 26 2013, 03:23 PM
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Using a skillsoft does not improve your own skills, that's a major setting point. And the character advancement subsystem features no way to improve other than practicing with an instructor or without one, far as I can see.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jul 26 2013, 03:32 PM
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QUOTE (Fatum @ Jul 26 2013, 09:23 AM) *
Using a skillsoft does not improve your own skills, that's a major setting point. And the character advancement subsystem features no way to improve other than practicing with an instructor or without one, far as I can see.


So you get a Tutorsoft, which is nothing more than a Skillsoft at heart. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Wakshaani
post Jul 26 2013, 03:57 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jul 26 2013, 09:32 AM) *
So you get a Tutorsoft, which is nothing more than a Skillsoft at heart. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Indeed!

"How to Slam 101", by Slamm-0!
"Codivore: They never see it coming", by Hannibelle
"These are not the Orks you're looking for", by Bull

All these and more in the K-Tel's newest illegal Decking tutorsoft, HACK THE PLANET as brought to you by FastJack and the JackPointeers!
(Order now, operators are standing by, no checks or money orders accepted, void where prohibited, not available in the Califnoria Free State, check your local retailer for discounts)
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thorya
post Jul 26 2013, 04:05 PM
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I would imagine that most hackers don't start with a deck. They're probably starting out tinkering with commlinks. Writing some code. Butting up against the limits of what they can do legally. They practice doing the 2070's version of jail breaking a commlink. They void some warranties. No big deal. Maybe they invest in some low level equipment, a sort of proto-deck for personal use on their own electronics to make things easier for them to modify and customize. There are probably still whole communities of hobbiest hackers that don't do anything illegal, but just enjoy messing with their hardware. They don't have the type equipment to take on GOD, but would be a good start for picking up some skills. White and grey hat hackers.
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binarywraith
post Jul 26 2013, 04:10 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jul 26 2013, 10:32 AM) *
So you get a Tutorsoft, which is nothing more than a Skillsoft at heart. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


A skillsoft with really nice and low storage requirements, but man, the install time is murder.

(IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotfl.gif)
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Fatum
post Jul 26 2013, 04:11 PM
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Tutorsofts are just glorified educational software, and they don't eliminate the need to practice.
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Jaid
post Jul 26 2013, 05:25 PM
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you could practice by direct connection to various things that you wish to hack. just remove the wireless on whatever you're hacking, and it's not on the grid. you can then wire yourself to it and hack to your heart's content.

or, you know, you *could* just... say... reboot your deck once in a while. if you're just hacking for practice, you just pick a target (preferably something that won't melt your brain), go do your best against it, and if you have to leave because of OS, it's no big deal... you weren't there to take anything, or change anything, you were just there to practice your skills. getting driven out, or even just completely being shut out of the system entirely and not getting in, are not a problem... you were there to test yourself, and you got that done.

now, the problem of actually getting a deck, that i can agree with. they really should make a junker that has stats of 1-1-1-1 (or something like that), can only run one program, and costs very little (probably in the 1k-2k range). it wouldn't be good for any sort of criminal activity against anything even remotely worthwhile, but you could at least use it for practice.

alternately, you could argue for a virtual environment that lets you practice your hacking skills as a game, or something like that. i have fond memories of a video game called carnage heart where you built robots and had to program them yourself (not by writing machine code or anything like that, it was pretty much visual and you had to use pre-built functions to do it - pretty neat game if you're interested in that sort of thing). someone could theoretically have made a game that actually simulates hacking, i suppose.
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Wired_SR_AEGIS
post Jul 26 2013, 07:16 PM
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Wouldn't surprise me if, in the Matrix splat book, there were rules for adding Attack/Sleaze attributes to non-standard devices.

This sort of fills the gap between buying a deck, and acquiring one by other means.

-Wired_SR_AEGIS
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Nal0n
post Jul 26 2013, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (Wakshaani @ Jul 26 2013, 05:57 PM) *
Indeed!

"How to Slam 101", by Slamm-0!
"Codivore: They never see it coming", by Hannibelle
"These are not the Orks you're looking for", by Bull

All these and more in the K-Tel's newest illegal Decking tutorsoft, HACK THE PLANET as brought to you by FastJack and the JackPointeers!
(Order now, operators are standing by, no checks or money orders accepted, void where prohibited, not available in the Califnoria Free State, check your local retailer for discounts)

<3 ... made my day!
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Umidori
post Jul 26 2013, 09:25 PM
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There's also the option of practicing in a private Host, where GOD doesn't have any say.

~Umi
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GiraffeShaman
post Jul 26 2013, 11:24 PM
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In William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy (one of the major sources for SR and the Matrix) the newbie hackers couldn't afford the hardware to do Matrix runs. Veteran hackers would sort of loan out hardware to promising young hackers in exchange for a sizable share of their theft profits. This worked out well for the vets, because they wouldn't have to risk getting their brains fried. (There's actually a veteran in the book who has flatlined more than once, something that usually means the end of you)

Also, even though it's not listed in the main book, I don't see why there couldn't be cheaper decks out there with a lesser attribute set. You'd just have to make one up. Just as they did to make newbie cyberdecks on the Genesis video game.
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CanRay
post Jul 27 2013, 01:07 AM
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Story story story. I try to push for it, but, well, you'd expect that out of me, neh?
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Ricochet
post Jul 27 2013, 03:08 AM
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As I've said in another post elsewhere, "Scratch Made Junk" is the most awesome entry on the RCC list. It's disappointing a similar entry didn't make the core book for Decks. That would have solved everything I think. I'm sure that the first expansion book will cover that whether it's the runner companion, a matrix book, or a gear book. It's a pretty easy fix.

I think chips/mods to add 1 sleaze and 1 attack to a comm would be a good way to go too. Perhaps different chips for each level of com (maybe limited to level 1-3?) This is different from a true deck, since you can't change the stats on the fly. The "illegal stats" are stuck at the base level, making a deck better than these starter items for script kiddies.


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Supine
post Jul 27 2013, 03:19 AM
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QUOTE (Slide @ Jul 26 2013, 04:38 AM) *
Ways to obtain decks:
(IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif) Sell Drugs


Typos like this are the digital version of a Freudian slip.

At any rate, it used to be canon that a lot of deckers would slap together cyberdecks out of various parts, so I'd assume that's still around. If there's anything resembling a form factor for the things, then the decker could buy/steal/loot it piece by piece and perhaps take the parts from non-portable consoles (which do exist, right? I wish there were some rules or something for that, rather than a reference to them in one of the short stories).
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Umidori
post Jul 27 2013, 03:22 AM
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Technically it's not a typo, it's a formating error. Dunno what bozzo thought up that smiley code without considering the impact it would have on lists.

~Umi
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Supine
post Jul 27 2013, 03:34 AM
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QUOTE (Umidori @ Jul 26 2013, 08:22 PM) *
Technically it's not a typo, it's a formating error. Dunno what bozzo thought up that smiley code without considering the impact it would have on lists.

~Umi


Yeah, I usually disable emoticons altogether, but at any rate I don't think I've ever used an eight and a closing parenthesis together.
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imperialus
post Jul 27 2013, 02:39 PM
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QUOTE (Supine @ Jul 26 2013, 08:34 PM) *
Yeah, I usually disable emoticons altogether, but at any rate I don't think I've ever used an eight and a closing parenthesis together.


wait till you stat up your first character for a PBP and you end up with something like

Body: 6((IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif)
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Falconer
post Jul 27 2013, 04:37 PM
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I don't see this as a problem.

One, with the matrix changes... the dedicated newbie dragging himself up is probably gone. Short of things like the 'anarchists cookbook' type treatise floating around the matrix and the barrens. The equipment is supposed to be largely self-made now.. not bought.

Two, for trained occupations you typically get people who go with ex-military or corp backgrounds. Why wouldn't some corp security decker think the grass is greener on the other side and make the jump.

Three, decks are supposed to self-destruct when things are done to them if I've read the threads so far correctly... so I don't see a lot of them coming out as loot short of killing the decker outside of the matrix instead of destroying his deck in the act of forcing him out.
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