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> SR5 Decker on Matrix Overwatch
BlackJaw
post Feb 13 2014, 04:06 PM
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So one of the intended uses for a Decker is to protect the team's matrix butt while on a run. In theory, this is done by slaving devices to the Decker's Cyberdeck. Cyberdecks do not necessarily work in this capacity for a couple of reasons:
1) You can only slave Device Rating X 3 devices to a cyberdeck (or any other device) and Cyberdecks tend to have low device ratings. The 200k decks are only device rating 3, for example.
2) Cyberdecks have configurable attributes, and an active Decker may not be placing their highest ratting in Firewall while on a run, or engaging in cybercombat with a spider or enemy decker. By contrast, a rating 6 commlink will provide a consistent rating 6 firewall at all times.

Now it is important that the Decker be in charge of the matrix defense of the team if for no other reason than if an enemy decker or security spider attempts to Hack on the Fly vs someone in the team, and fails, the device owner gets a mark on the enemy decker or spider. The team mage or gun-bunny has very little use for that free mark, because without a sleaze or attack rating, and a lot of skill, they can't do anything with it. It's best on a run that it be the team hacker getting the "attack alerts" and free marks, as they are the most likely to do anything about it.

So here's my theory: Extra Commlinks. The team Decker should have enough Transys Avalon (rating 6 = 18 connections each) Commlinks that everyone in the party can slave their active wireless devices to it. These commlinks should be owned by the Decker, which means all the slaved devices are integrated into his PAN. Anyone attempting to hack the Gunbunny's dual machine pistols will be up against the Commlink's Firewall 6 + Decker's Willpower. If I'm understanding the hacking rules: if it was a Brute Force attack, and it succeeded, the Decker is alerted. If it was a Sleaze action, and it failed, the Decker now has a mark on the Persona that tried it. Essentially the Decker has Matrix Overwatch for the team.

The downside to this setup is that the commlink doesn't have a Sleaze attribute, so it's not very good at hiding silent icons, although it's clearly no worse than letting the rest of team deal with their own PANs. Devices slaved to a Cyberdeck get to use it's sleaze to avoid being located. The flip side, however, is that devices running silent are hard to conceal. It can be hard to locate a device, but knowing one is present within 100m is actually very easy, regardless of Sleeze ratings. Any secure facility or checkpoint will be looking for hidden icons with a signal scanner, and detecting any is likely to trigger suspicion if not actual alerts. Because of this, running silent may not always be the best option for devices. Instead, concealing the nature of the icons may be more effective, and that means the Wrapper program. Running the Wrapper program on your cyberdeck, and having the team's matrix assets slaved to your extra commlinks (and thus part of your PAN) should let you alter their icons to look like safe and legal basic belongings. It might actually be a good idea for a Decker to buy a "Scratch-Built Junk" RCC specifically to run the wrapper program, and thus free up a program slot on the cyberdeck for hacking software. The cheap RCC can be slaved to a commlink too, of course.
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garner_adam
post Feb 14 2014, 06:32 AM
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Blackjaw,

Where does the scratch built RCC come from? I haven't heard this term before. I've definitely noticed that providing matrix defense and dealing with sensors and scanners in general is a real pain ever since the wireless matrix became the new thing. It's tricky as a game master to justify why there ISN'T a non-stop search for specific equipment in an Orwellian future that can only just promote even more magick-run.
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Jack VII
post Feb 14 2014, 12:55 PM
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The Scratch-Built RCC is the bottom-of-the-barrel RCC on the RCC table in the Rigger section.
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BlackJaw
post Feb 14 2014, 06:00 PM
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QUOTE (garner_adam @ Feb 13 2014, 11:32 PM) *
Where does the scratch built RCC come from? I haven't heard this term before.

Page 267, cheapest RCC on the list. In terms of it's intended purpose of helping out Riggers, it's almost useless, but it's low cost enough that just about anyone could afford one, and thus get the ability to run a single cyberprogram (from the Rigger allowed list, and do note that Rigger programs are not compatible with cyberdecks and vice versa.) It makes having access to the Wrapper program accessible to anyone willing to haul around the somewhat bulky RCC.

QUOTE (garner_adam @ Feb 13 2014, 11:32 PM) *
I've definitely noticed that providing matrix defense and dealing with sensors and scanners in general is a real pain ever since the wireless matrix became the new thing. It's tricky as a game master to justify why there ISN'T a non-stop search for specific equipment in an Orwellian future that can only just promote even more magick-run.

There are two reasons that isn't as effective as you would imagine:

The first is that Signal Scanners are actually really limited. They can spot a wireless device icon within 20 meters with a very easy check. Spotting the icon lets you see the icon, and know where it physically is. This does not include making a Matrix Perception check to analyze the device. For that you'd need a Spider or Agent program to actively leave the Host system and come look at the icon in grid space and actively make a Matrix Perception check. That means the Wrapper program can easily conceal all of your team's wireless gear as benign objects. Moreover, just about everything in shadowrun has a device icon. RFID tags would be in every item you buy, from clothing to food wrappers (or even the food itself.) That means signal scanners are unlikely to set-off an alert unless they detect something they are explicitly configured to: like a gun or breaking and entering gear. Candybars and office chairs wouldn't set off an alert, and that's exactly what the Wrapper cyberprogram would let you conceal your team's wireless devices to look like.

The second reason signal scanners aren't a massive problem is that they are just another security system on the company WAN, along with the door locks, security camera feeds, and other systems the team Hacker is supposed to be defeating. The first thing the hacker should do when on a run on a secure corporate building is find a device on the WAN, like say the maglock on the fire door around back, crack the case on it, and hack it to gain a mark on the host. Then he can gain entrance to the host, and begin disabling the security features between his team and their objective. Hacking the signal scanners so they don't think anything should set off an alert would be a smart move, right up their with unlocking doors, ordering security drones to other parts of the building, and looping the camera feeds.
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garner_adam
post Feb 19 2014, 11:59 PM
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Blackjaw,

You mention getting a mark on the host. Doesn't this mean that getting three marks on some maglock would more or less make the host the decker's play thing? Three marks against some easy maglock and suddenly you're deactivating the intrusion counter measures? The writing seems to suggest that once a decker makes trouble in a host they need to get stuff done quickly and then get out. (Cause you can't really kill the IC they just relaunch them.)
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BlackJaw
post Feb 20 2014, 04:39 AM
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QUOTE (garner_adam @ Feb 19 2014, 06:59 PM) *
Blackjaw,

You mention getting a mark on the host. Doesn't this mean that getting three marks on some maglock would more or less make the host the decker's play thing? Three marks against some easy maglock and suddenly you're deactivating the intrusion counter measures? The writing seems to suggest that once a decker makes trouble in a host they need to get stuff done quickly and then get out. (Cause you can't really kill the IC they just relaunch them.)


Sort of, but mostly no.

Getting a mark on a slaved device automatically puts a mark on the master. (p233, "If you get a mark on a slave you also get a mark on the master.") This does not work in reverse, so getting a mark on the master does not put a mark on the slaves. That means if you direct connect to security device in a WAN, like a maglock, you can hack the lock, and every mark you place on the lock is also placed on the Host, but no marks are automatically placed on anything else in the WAN.

However, there aren't a lot of uses for marks on a host. It takes 1 mark to enter a host (p239,) but you can't do much with 2 or 3 marks. Activating or Deactivating IC can only be done by the owner (page 360), which is like having the special "4th mark" that can't be hacked into place, which means only the Spider (p360) is going to be able to shut down the IC. Because marks on the host don't drop down to the security system devices or individual files, they won't help you open locked doors, edit security camera footage, or access paydata. Similarly you can't attack the host directly (yet? rumors about the Matrix books may cover this) so they don't help you. Similarly, the marks don't transfer to Spider/Host Owner so you can't use them to Spoof anything, or even spot the Spider if he is running silent.

There is one use I can come up with: Hosts and their IC share marks (p247, "The IC in a host and the host itself share marks, so if one IC program is slapped with a mark, they all get one, as does the host itself."), so if you do get 3 easy marks on the Host via hacking the lock before even entering the host, you also have 3 marks on all the IC, even those launched after you trigger an alert. The main use of this is the bonus damage on Data Spike (p239, +2 damage boxes per mark), especially if you have Mugger cyberprogram running for an extra point of damage per mark. In particular, if you are unmarked by the Host/IC, Running Silent, and still hidden (or have hidden again,) shutting down the Patrol IC each time it gets launched makes you essentially immune to the rest of the IC; if the IC/Host can't see you so it can't attack you. Of course the Spider can still look for and attack you.
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AccessControl
post Feb 21 2014, 03:43 PM
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QUOTE (BlackJaw @ Feb 19 2014, 11:39 PM) *
Sort of, but mostly no.

Getting a mark on a slaved device automatically puts a mark on the master. (p233, "If you get a mark on a slave you also get a mark on the master.") This does not work in reverse, so getting a mark on the master does not put a mark on the slaves. That means if you direct connect to security device in a WAN, like a maglock, you can hack the lock, and every mark you place on the lock is also placed on the Host, but no marks are automatically placed on anything else in the WAN.

However, there aren't a lot of uses for marks on a host. It takes 1 mark to enter a host (p239,) but you can't do much with 2 or 3 marks. Activating or Deactivating IC can only be done by the owner (page 360), which is like having the special "4th mark" that can't be hacked into place, which means only the Spider (p360) is going to be able to shut down the IC. Because marks on the host don't drop down to the security system devices or individual files, they won't help you open locked doors, edit security camera footage, or access paydata. Similarly you can't attack the host directly (yet? rumors about the Matrix books may cover this) so they don't help you. Similarly, the marks don't transfer to Spider/Host Owner so you can't use them to Spoof anything, or even spot the Spider if he is running silent.

There is one use I can come up with: Hosts and their IC share marks (p247, "The IC in a host and the host itself share marks, so if one IC program is slapped with a mark, they all get one, as does the host itself."), so if you do get 3 easy marks on the Host via hacking the lock before even entering the host, you also have 3 marks on all the IC, even those launched after you trigger an alert. The main use of this is the bonus damage on Data Spike (p239, +2 damage boxes per mark), especially if you have Mugger cyberprogram running for an extra point of damage per mark. In particular, if you are unmarked by the Host/IC, Running Silent, and still hidden (or have hidden again,) shutting down the Patrol IC each time it gets launched makes you essentially immune to the rest of the IC; if the IC/Host can't see you so it can't attack you. Of course the Spider can still look for and attack you.


They actually errata'ed the bit about mark sharing. It's no longer "get a mark on the host and the IC is marked as well", it's now "If the IC marks you, all other IC and the host also have a mark on you."
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BlackJaw
post Feb 21 2014, 03:58 PM
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QUOTE (AccessControl @ Feb 21 2014, 10:43 AM) *
They actually errata'ed the bit about mark sharing. It's no longer "get a mark on the host and the IC is marked as well", it's now "If the IC marks you, all other IC and the host also have a mark on you."

Good catch. I missed that in the Errata.

I had always assumed it was both, so they shared marks they placed, and marks they took.

I guess this means there is no reason to get more than a single mark on a host anymore, and it makes IC a bit more intimidating.
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