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> Your optimal Matrix rules, How should the Matrix rules be in your oppinion?
Kyrel
post Dec 20 2014, 12:19 AM
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Inspired by the thread on the 5th ed. Matrix I have a question for you all.

How should the SR Matrix rules look in your oppinion? What would be the core mechanic? The underlying goal? What should the processes involved in hacking be?

I've been considdering the matrix rules for a while, and to be honest I still haven't made up my mind on how I would like to make them, if I was designing them from scratch. However, given the amount of experience here on Dumpshock, collectively we really ought to be able to come up with some decent, functional rules for hacking.

So, anyone up for a discussion on how the matrix rules could be made, and why they should be made that way? No holds barred. Forget history and how things have been done up until now, and let me know your thoughts on the matter.

I'll pitch in at a later point. It's crap O'clock where I'm at right now, and I'm heading for dreamland.
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apple
post Dec 20 2014, 12:23 AM
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Very simple

1) Open up the CP2020 core rule book
2) Convert 1d10 + skill + attribute into the skill + attribute d6 system.
3) update the rules to reflect a little bit more modern version of the dark, dystopian Sixth World, like mini drones, tags, online connections etc.
4) Improve them where necessary (they had some quirks too)
5) ???4
6) Profit.

No, really, its that easy. Fast rules, easy rules, highly abstract, but not brainbending stupid. I can live with that.

SYL


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Moirdryd
post Dec 20 2014, 06:01 PM
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TBH I don't have huge issues with either of the systems in SR3 or SR5 and am looking at a blending of the two concepts as an update to add into My SR5 House Rules.
For what I've run to date I take the SR5 system as my base but add or alter the follwong:

Using Matrix Perception to see icons outside of the 100m limit (basically I add 1KM of Matrix visual range per hit on the perception check. This I have as it's own Simple action "Extend Matrix Resolution").

Adjusting the wireless bonuses to make more sense (typically switching the Limit Boost vs DP boost etc, that's all in the My SR5 House Rules thread) which influences to a degree matrix related stuff.

I use Hosts a lot, a Rating 2 Host goes a long way. It actually helps keep things together from an GM organising PoV and also lets you play around with the challenge of doing x or y without just hacking devices willy nilly.

For the Hidden Icons/Running Silent and the RFID tag rules mesh, I use an expanded freer concept of applying the Matrix perception chart. You can use hits as you wish off that chart on any one roll and also I allow the use of a "Detect Hidden/Silent Icons" to ping those in the AoE of the roll (but I do that as a separate Perception roll to the standard using it's own action) and then I allow the Decker to apply a Hit to flag Icons of (declared) type. IE: The team's decker scans a host for Hidden Icons succeeds on the roll and picks up a couple of hundred. he then uses a Regular Matrix Perception check and applies his 3 hits, spending the first to identify UnAllocated RFID tags which wipes those few hundred down to around, lets say, six. The second he applies to Automated Systems flagging two and the third he applies to personal weapons which picks up two as well. Leaving him with 2 utterly unidentified Hidden icons. He could perception again and either spend time or hits identifying those last two Icons or he could actively get info about/hack etc the ones he has already flagged by type.
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Nath
post Dec 21 2014, 01:41 PM
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I think the Matrix would work a lot better if a step was taken to separate the rules from the setting. There should be rules from doing things with computer, just like there are rules to fire guns or drive cars. To establish rules utterly specific to system design of 2050-2070 is ultimately just as meaningful as having the firearms rules refer to standard corporate open-space layout regarding cover, or chasing rules that measure distance in number of exits on the US Interstate Highway system. It would be for the better if a novice player could understand what he can do without having full knowledge of what the Matrix is. That knowledge, as with the rest of the setting, is in the gamemaster's hands to describe the action (or handwave it to speed things up). Besides, as far as network security go, there's not really in point in using different rules to deal with firewall, authorization privileges or encryption because actual security relies on all of them and defeating it is to go for the weak point.

I think I'd go with, like, seven rules...

Matrix Perception - What to roll to notice something on a computer system.
Matrix Stealth - What to roll to do something on a computer system without being detected by character doing Matrix Perception.
Matrix Break - What to roll to make a computer system do something it isn't supposed to do.
Matrix Crash - What to roll to make a computer system stop working.
Matrix Kill - What to roll to kill someone connected to a computer system
Matrix Range - When those five actions can be performed on another computer system than the one you're using.
Matrix Character - Non-living software like Agent and IC and sprites qualify as "character" to act inside the Matrix.

Then you have a description of the Matrix setting that speaks about using virtual and augmented reality, the way corporate grids defend themselves and how everyday objects establish wireless networks between them, and what devices on the Matrix do that you can act on, from transmitting communications to controlling elevators.

Obviously, the divide between rules and setting wouldn't really be seamless. Modifiers for each of the action would likely refer to how the Matrix actually works, for instance different modifiers for AR and VR Perception. The way the Matrix Range rule would be written would actually define the Matrix (going one way or another, from SR4 unlimited wireless meshed network that put everything into range at all time, to SR1-SR2 Matrix dungeon modeling where you need to break into one system to access the next on the map).
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binarywraith
post Dec 21 2014, 04:16 PM
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Matrix rules are difficult to balance, because while the Matrix is a country of its own like Astral, it doesn't really map to the real world. My personal design goals for them are something simple.

They need to be :

1. Fun - For both the decker and the rest of the players to watch; same as watching the face con someone or the stealth expert sneak into a place.

2. Uncomplicated - Things should run smoothly and in obvious mechanical directions that fit the game's overall resolution mechanics, and the bookkeeping required should not be onerous.

3. In-genre - The existence of the Matrix should serve the setting, rather than defining the setting based on what fits the rules desired. SR5's wireless bonuses and bricking rules do this very poorly.

I honestly rather like the 3e base-book version myself, with a little fudging it works well. I haven't really run into the Pizza Problem that people here go on about.

If I was going to fix it for 5e, it'd be pretty simple. Cut out wireless access to anything without a legitimate reason to be online such as commlinks, make the wireless bonuses into 'connectivity bonuses' and let people use DNI for them at a slight nuyen premium.

Nath's selection of actions works pretty well, with the caveat that just like firearms, I'd run with device-based limits. My personal preference would be having programs specifically for each action with a rating that acts as the Limit for that action, and an overall total of Rating numbers that a given 'deck can support. That way deck loadout matters like gun loadout does, without it being terribly micromanaging.

Also, I'd cut the prices significantly across the board, so that Decking isn't an exclusive ability to buy into at character creation, given that it is equivalent to Astral Projection, which is a very small part of a Mage's overall suite of powers. Pull Rigger Emulation out of decking abilities for the same reason, it devalues Riggers if Deckers can spoof their abilities. Technomancers get to not pay for decks with cash, but in exchange don't have the option of turning ASIST into dumb mode to not get wrecked by Black IC. Bring the meta back to the old standard, where Deckers accessed what they could remotely, but for truly secure things, had to be able to do the B&E to get past physical firewalls.
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DeathStrobe
post Dec 22 2014, 12:22 AM
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I'd prefer the Matrix to be less abstracted and played more like the rest of the game.

What I mean by that, is I want the Matrix to take into account movement and cover. If I'm in cyber combat, there is no tactical advantage i can get. I can't take cover. I can't flank. I can't run around a corner. Well...I can because the system is abstracted in such a way I can describe it like that, but mechanically none of that stuff matters.

Like in SR5, you need to make a hide action, which then can be described as running around the corner of the Matrix topography and breaking line of sight. In SR4 once you're spotted you stay spotted. That's kind of lame. Also since in SR4 not running with Stealth on was kind of a death sentence, and also with high enough hacking skill and Stealth program you would then become undetectable and could do whatever you want without fear of Cyber combat ever.

Like wise, Cyber combat in both systems just came down to who had the higher dice pools. At least in 5th there is a bit more tactical decisions that need to be made with reconfiguring your deck to improve your attack and firewall and coming out of stealth if you're marked. But I'd like it if I could take cover behind another icon or if my opponent is behind an icon, I could "shoot" a dataspike through the device acting as cover and do damage to both the enemy and that device, kind of like the barrier rules. Also AoE attacks would be cool, allowing me to damage multiple devices at once in a host.

The entire point of the Matrix is that its a realistic metaphor for computer networking. It'd make sense that they'd make it as much of a simulation as possible. It's also allow host architecture to be used to help defend itself. Like having to suddenly play with the ZeroG rules or the underwater rules, or the extreme heat rules. Right now host architecture doesn't matter to the game at all. It's just fluff. And that's lame.

Hacking should be simplified to one skill. The Computer skill. And that's used for actions that don't have a clear metaphor. Like commanding a door to open or edit camera footage. While everything else, like cybercombat should be using a firearm or melee skill. Moving through a host should require the run/swim/freefall/etc skill. Matrix perception uses the normal perception skill. With Matrix attributes instead of physical or mental attributes. Or maybe use mental attributes and use Matrix attributes as limits like it currently is in SR5. That'd make sense to me.

This is actually how the UV host rules work. And you know what, that'd make sense. UVHost were cutting edge in the 2050's. Its been almost 20 years. So why wouldn't the standard Matrix of the 2070's be on par with 20 year old bleeding edge tech?
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Smash
post Dec 22 2014, 02:00 AM
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1) Get rid of wireless. Who cares why (It was never secure enough, Crash 7.0, Revolution style sattelites)
2) Clarify the 5th Ed ruleset. It's good, I like the abstraction, but in it's current format it's all over the place.
3) Replace a lot of the fluff with examples of things people do in the matrix. There's a couple but there needs to be way more.
4) Hackers need to have impact that's fun. In 1st - 4th edition they just aren't fun (Technomancers in 4th were but that's because they were OP). People can debate this, but the anecdotal evidence is pretty strong that people don't like playing them. They need to be as cool as SAMs or mages.
5) Get rid of technomancers (Crash 7.0 turned them all into AIs or something and we've been wiping them all out ever since).
6) Tinker with pricing a bit. Decks should probably be a bit cheaper and programs could be a bit more, with more impact.

and...

7) To reiterate: The solution is not to make hacking more accessible. It's to make it cooler so you want to specialize in it. 4th Ed's hacking was basically throwing in the towel to try and get hacking into games without making people get out of their favourite DAKKA style archetypes. It was just bad, no more.
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Moirdryd
post Dec 22 2014, 11:18 AM
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The problem with #4 Smash is that YMMV applies so very much to Deckers. See, for all the complaints about decking and hacking, I have never run a game of Shadowrun where someone didn't want to play one in 3rd or 5th edition and that's been with 4 different gaming groups over the last 13 years. It's very hard to define what 'Fun' is as obviously different people will react to it in different ways. The best way I've ever found to handle the rules was to make sure the Decker player was either coming to the table knowing the rules (this happened in one of four groups) or, as I was introducing the game to them, the decker player had a cheat sheet for what they could do in the Matrix and a small copy of the rules specific to them

When it comes to Decking I don't think it's the Rules that are really all that much at issue, I think it's how we let people play Decker characters and how prepared the GM is for them. I said above I like to use Hosts a lot, small ones. I'll expand on that by saying I like to encourage my Deckers to slice into systems and hack things, so I typically have a few Hosts of varying level sitting in my GM folder. That way when they're doing legwork the option is there to use the Matrix as much as anything else (although for differing results), and like in most games my runs start off with smaller and simpler as the team works up towards the bigger scores. This means the decking literally only takes a few rolls and happens along with everyone else doing there bits, no time monopoly (unless the group wants to wait for the decker) and only a few minutes needed. By the time they've done a couple of sessions the option to deck is as familiar as the option to look astrally, chat to the local gangers, do a stake out or meet the fixer. What's more so are the mechanics of the system, by the time that they're looking at bigger hosts or multiple hidden devices and so forth the Decker already knows exactly what actions he wants to take, what programs and attributes to run, what his dice pools and limits are. His options are ion his head not just hidden in the book or on the cheat sheet (and those he can't recall off hand are still on the cheat sheet) and at the same time I'm used to the Host responses the types of IC it may be running etc.
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binarywraith
post Dec 22 2014, 12:05 PM
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If your Decker isn't getting to do cool stuff, that's a GM issue, not a systems issue. There are plenty of cool things a Decker can do in any edition. They just suffer worst from being gimped by GMs not knowing the system and therefore not knowing what they can do.
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apple
post Dec 22 2014, 12:26 PM
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Well, a little bit its an syste missue, because complicated rules, long roll sessions and tedious gameplay is a system- not a gamemaster issue.

SYL
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binarywraith
post Dec 22 2014, 02:00 PM
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Your experience with those rules are much different than mine. As I said, a GM who knows the rules can keep things moving along.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Dec 22 2014, 03:55 PM
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QUOTE (binarywraith @ Dec 22 2014, 07:00 AM) *
Your experience with those rules are much different than mine. As I said, a GM who knows the rules can keep things moving along.


Yes... For Hacking to Flow, both participants need to understand how it works. Since our GM is very familiar with the system, he manages to keep it flowing quite nicely, which is why we never really had a pizza problem with Hacking in 4th or 5th. But it IS incumbent on the Hacker player to know their stuff too. I still use a cheat sheet for 5th because it is just different enough that I cannot rely upon 4th Edition knowledge. And yes, I played the Hacker in 4th and am playing the Hacker in 5th. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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apple
post Dec 22 2014, 07:34 PM
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Yes, but it is far easier to learn his stuff as a streetsam, mage, face or rigger than a hacker. And that turns a lot of people down. Easy rules are better for everyone, despite the mechanical proficiency of the player and the GM.

SYL
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Smash
post Dec 22 2014, 10:39 PM
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QUOTE (Moirdryd @ Dec 22 2014, 10:18 PM) *
The problem with #4 Smash is that YMMV applies so very much to Deckers. See, for all the complaints about decking and hacking, I have never run a game of Shadowrun where someone didn't want to play one in 3rd or 5th edition and that's been with 4 different gaming groups over the last 13 years. It's very hard to define what 'Fun' is as obviously different people will react to it in different ways. The best way I've ever found to handle the rules was to make sure the Decker player was either coming to the table knowing the rules (this happened in one of four groups) or, as I was introducing the game to them, the decker player had a cheat sheet for what they could do in the Matrix and a small copy of the rules specific to them


That's certainly possible. I feel that TJ and others have that experience as well. I certainly haven't and in fact the few times that hackers have been chosen (which is actually my experience right now in 5th) is that the GM tends to just gloss over it which makes the character feel somewhat redundant. I do believe the general concensus is that more groups share my experience and that seemed somewhat evident from the direction taken by the writers early on in development of 5th Ed.

I disagree though that the rules aren't the problem. In 5th Ed they are less of a problem, but still not the best. I think we need to get decking out of the 'Advanced player only' mindset and make it more accessible to players. The whole game needs it, even the bits that everyone knows.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Dec 22 2014, 10:43 PM
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QUOTE (Smash @ Dec 22 2014, 03:39 PM) *
That's certainly possible. I feel that TJ and others have that experience as well. I certainly haven't and in fact the few times that hackers have been chosen (which is actually my experience right now in 5th) is that the GM tends to just gloss over it which makes the character feel somewhat redundant. I do believe the general concensus is that more groups share my experience and that seemed somewhat evident from the direction taken by the writers early on in development of 5th Ed.

I disagree though that the rules aren't the problem. In 5th Ed they are less of a problem, but still not the best. I think we need to get decking out of the 'Advanced player only' mindset and make it more accessible to players. The whole game needs it, even the bits that everyone knows.


More accessible means different things to different people, though. For me, it means easier mechanics, but longer resolution time (for Hacking). I am not a fan of seconds long hacks. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Kyrel
post Dec 23 2014, 07:06 PM
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Since I started this thread, I guess that I’d better chime in with my own dream concerning the Matrix rules for SR.

First off, I actually kind of liked the feel of the SR4A matrix. It had a suitably futuristic feel to me. Unfortunately it also suffered from some issues that would be nice to address.

Completely ignoring established canon, weight of history etc., the first thing I would actually change, is the prevalence of VR. I don’t mind the concept of VR in itself, but I dislike the form it takes in SR. The reason I dislike it, is because of its prevalence in everything, and because of the effect it has on the game. Why on earth would anyone create a VR environment for every single damned node!? Code doesn’t write itself you know. As for the effect on the game, having VR exist for every node, all over the place, and being accessible by anyone at any time and in half a heartbeat, it also has the effect of effectively “splitting the party” during the game. It can be done, but it is usually one of the things that an RPG advises against, given that it significantly increases the “workload” of the GM. VR is effectively the same as having the Wizard in a D&D game planeshift to another plane during a combat encounter, and then having his own little adventure there, while the rest of the group is engaged on the prime material plane. It just annoys me. For that reason I’d remove VR environments from places where it doesn’t make sense, and I’d make entering and exiting it a minute or more long process, which should mean that it would cease being useful to do in combat.

The 2nd thing I’d like changed, is that I’d like the matrix rules to require somewhat less book keeping. While all the interconnectedness between possible max program ratings, OS ratings, Response etc. is pretty cool, it is also (to me at least) a royal pain in the arse. So a reduced level of complexity in that respect would be nice.

Now, while I do like the basic hacking process from SR4A, I must admit that parts of it were a bit cumbersome, and while I agree with Tymeaus Jalynsfein that hacking stuff shouldn’t necessarily take mere seconds, there are problems with hacking attempts taking overly many rolls to perform in-game. Too easy and it becomes silly. Too hard, and it becomes so ponderous to work with, that players will avoid it, because they consider it useless. Personally I toyed around with a thought that you could only break encryption, if you either had the cipher for it, of if you had a Decrypt program with a higher rating than the encryption. Decryption should also require more net hits. Personally I had something along the lines of Rating^2 in mind, rather than just Rating. Haven’t had a chance to test it in practice though, but one consequence is that it does mean that Rating 6 encryption should be used quite sparingly in the game, and be restricted to the truly high security areas.

As for Technomancers I’ve never had a problem with them. I do, however, think that they would have worked better, if they had functioned more like Adepts than Mages, and if they had been more Real World/AR hackers par excellence, but had been unable to enter VR naturally. I’d also remove the Sprites. These few changes ought to, I believe, fix the main problems with the Technomancers in SR4A.

As such I have never had any problem with the concept of wifi in the game, but I do think that in SR4A the extend that almost everything was wifi connected didn’t make much sense. Some things don’t make sense to be able to access by wifi, and in places where security truly is paramount, running things via wires do make more sense. It will also make it necessary for Deckers to be on-site on some runs, where they will need to hack into a system by physically hooking up to a terminal.
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Smash
post Dec 23 2014, 11:51 PM
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QUOTE (Kyrel @ Dec 24 2014, 06:06 AM) *
Completely ignoring established canon, weight of history etc., the first thing I would actually change, is the prevalence of VR. I don’t mind the concept of VR in itself, but I dislike the form it takes in SR. The reason I dislike it, is because of its prevalence in everything, and because of the effect it has on the game. Why on earth would anyone create a VR environment for every single damned node!? Code doesn’t write itself you know. As for the effect on the game, having VR exist for every node, all over the place, and being accessible by anyone at any time and in half a heartbeat, it also has the effect of effectively “splitting the party” during the game. It can be done, but it is usually one of the things that an RPG advises against, given that it significantly increases the “workload” of the GM. VR is effectively the same as having the Wizard in a D&D game planeshift to another plane during a combat encounter, and then having his own little adventure there, while the rest of the group is engaged on the prime material plane. It just annoys me. For that reason I’d remove VR environments from places where it doesn’t make sense, and I’d make entering and exiting it a minute or more long process, which should mean that it would cease being useful to do in combat.


I'm not sure what edition of Shadowrun you've got most experience in, but I find that this has pretty much been the case since at least 4th Ed, maybe even 3rd ed (although my memory of that is a bit hazy). VR now isn't really played as a seperate world, it is much more abstracted and runs in real time alongside those in the real world as if the hacker had wired reflexes.

Conceptually, getting rid of it or making it less prevalent would be like getting rid of d20s in D&D. I just don't see it happening. You shouldn't really apply the realism measure against these sorts of concepts. VR makes the matrix better in 2075, because.............. magic.

QUOTE (Kyrel @ Dec 24 2014, 06:06 AM) *
The 2nd thing I’d like changed, is that I’d like the matrix rules to require somewhat less book keeping. While all the interconnectedness between possible max program ratings, OS ratings, Response etc. is pretty cool, it is also (to me at least) a royal pain in the arse. So a reduced level of complexity in that respect would be nice.


110% agree with you on this. 5th Ed made some progress on this, it really has, but I don't think it's good enough yet. A big step would be to get rid of stat distribution on decks and reduce the amount of matrix actions down to about 6... at most and just make them all more broad. No more marks, no more access levels. It's all un-necessary.

QUOTE (Kyrel @ Dec 24 2014, 06:06 AM) *
Now, while I do like the basic hacking process from SR4A, I must admit that parts of it were a bit cumbersome, and while I agree with Tymeaus Jalynsfein that hacking stuff shouldn’t necessarily take mere seconds, there are problems with hacking attempts taking overly many rolls to perform in-game. Too easy and it becomes silly. Too hard, and it becomes so ponderous to work with, that players will avoid it, because they consider it useless.


I don't think too easy is a problem, particularly if you got rid of bricking cyberware. I'm ok with hackers being able to mess with cyberware but just in temporary way. Turning off the 'cyberzombie with autocannon''s eyes with one roll is reasonable I think, he just has to spend a simple action to reboot them, but it stops him from wiping out your whole squad, or at least gives him -6 to -10 to hit. Everything else that is non-combat though needs to be less rolls. You want to open that door? simple:

1) Plug in
2) make 'manipulate device roll'. This rolls difficulty is based on the nodes defences. The end result is either it opens, it doesn't open or it doesn't open and some kind of alert is triggered.
3) That's it.

QUOTE (Kyrel @ Dec 24 2014, 06:06 AM) *
Personally I toyed around with a thought that you could only break encryption, if you either had the cipher for it, of if you had a Decrypt program with a higher rating than the encryption. Decryption should also require more net hits. Personally I had something along the lines of Rating^2 in mind, rather than just Rating. Haven’t had a chance to test it in practice though, but one consequence is that it does mean that Rating 6 encryption should be used quite sparingly in the game, and be restricted to the truly high security areas.


Rating to the power of 2? So a rating 6 encryption would require 36, net hits? I assume this is an extended test mechanic? personally I think the best place for extended tests is in the bin where 5th Ed more or less relegated them.

QUOTE (Kyrel @ Dec 24 2014, 06:06 AM) *
As for Technomancers I’ve never had a problem with them. I do, however, think that they would have worked better, if they had functioned more like Adepts than Mages, and if they had been more Real World/AR hackers par excellence, but had been unable to enter VR naturally. I’d also remove the Sprites. These few changes ought to, I believe, fix the main problems with the Technomancers in SR4A.


I liked them as things that you can't play, but once they became playable they just felt like OP hackers to me, not to mention the whole magic and tech not mixing thing that they just seem to ignore. I guess it's just a matter of taste but they just seem to add a level of complexity to something that's already too complex. I'd almost be ok with getting rid of hackers and just having technomancers, maybe the matrix just become too secure to hack and technomancers still can because they don't use measurable protocols? Let's just not have both.

QUOTE (Kyrel @ Dec 24 2014, 06:06 AM) *
As such I have never had any problem with the concept of wifi in the game, but I do think that in SR4A the extend that almost everything was wifi connected didn’t make much sense. Some things don’t make sense to be able to access by wifi, and in places where security truly is paramount, running things via wires do make more sense. It will also make it necessary for Deckers to be on-site on some runs, where they will need to hack into a system by physically hooking up to a terminal.


It was really introduced to make hackers more flexible and interesting and to not be relegated to NPC status. Conceptually I like it, I just think that mechanically it just doesn't work, not to mention all the whinging that people do about how it works 'in the real world'. Getting rid of it, gets rid of the problems with matrix perception, armchair deckers, deck triangulation, noise, etc.
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Starmage21
post Dec 24 2014, 12:19 AM
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With the reduction of the Control Rig to a +2 dice bonus when jumped in to a drone or vehicle, I found that hackers can make good use of armed vehicles and drones as a secondary skill that allows them to contribute to fleshy reactions and take advantage of their VR bonuses. Even if the hacker is doing something else, they proceed in real time with the rest of the group at the same pace, and what you've got is merely an example of what seemingly every group does all the fooking time: splitting the party.

I wish that hacking in SR took the form of something a bit more realistic (as an IT professional, its not even close).
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binarywraith
post Dec 24 2014, 02:00 AM
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I'm actually happy it doesn't. SR's Matrix has no reason to look much like modern IT, given that the whole foundation of it is in the Crash virus and the cyberterminals developed to combat it.
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Kyrel
post Dec 24 2014, 04:22 PM
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QUOTE (Smash @ Dec 24 2014, 12:51 AM) *
I'm not sure what edition of Shadowrun you've got most experience in, but I find that this has pretty much been the case since at least 4th Ed, maybe even 3rd ed (although my memory of that is a bit hazy). VR now isn't really played as a seperate world, it is much more abstracted and runs in real time alongside those in the real world as if the hacker had wired reflexes.

Conceptually, getting rid of it or making it less prevalent would be like getting rid of d20s in D&D. I just don't see it happening. You shouldn't really apply the realism measure against these sorts of concepts. VR makes the matrix better in 2075, because.............. magic.


Honestly I'm only familiar in details with SR4A. With regards to other editions I only have 2nd hand information and conceptual understanding. You're right that VR matrix stuff is handled in "real time", simultaneous with other stuff. But the way the setting is described, the scenery in every single node, is basically its own world, meaning that while a cybercombat attack is basically just another dice roll, in one node it might be a pair of knights battling it out, in another it might resemble a dogfight scene from a Star Wars movie, and in yet another node it could be some wierd scene out of a My Little Pony cartoon. VR is basically a near infinite number of worlds.

I do agree with you, however, concerning what you say about removing/reducing VR in SR. It is a very fundamental change to the setting. But that is also why I started out mentioning that I would like to do that, if I were to completely ignore the established setting (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) I know it will not happen, but I would like to change it nevertheless.

QUOTE (Smash @ Dec 24 2014, 12:51 AM) *
I don't think too easy is a problem, particularly if you got rid of bricking cyberware. I'm ok with hackers being able to mess with cyberware but just in temporary way. Turning off the 'cyberzombie with autocannon''s eyes with one roll is reasonable I think, he just has to spend a simple action to reboot them, but it stops him from wiping out your whole squad, or at least gives him -6 to -10 to hit. Everything else that is non-combat though needs to be less rolls. You want to open that door? simple:

1) Plug in
2) make 'manipulate device roll'. This rolls difficulty is based on the nodes defences. The end result is either it opens, it doesn't open or it doesn't open and some kind of alert is triggered.
3) That's it.


I'm honestly a little up in the air about what the "right" balance might be. On one hand, condensing things down to just a couple of highly "symbolic" rolls might work on the mechanical level, but I'm tempted to say that I feel that might be simplifying things a bit more than I'd personally like the feel of. But at the end of the day we are entering playtest territory, if we want to find a "proper" balance, and even then I guarantee that not everyone will agree in the end *LOL*.

QUOTE (Smash @ Dec 24 2014, 12:51 AM) *
Rating to the power of 2? So a rating 6 encryption would require 36, net hits? I assume this is an extended test mechanic? personally I think the best place for extended tests is in the bin where 5th Ed more or less relegated them.


You are right. The idea there was based on the concept of the extended test, which as such I never had that big of a problem with. My goal is that it kind of buggs me that all encryption and hacking past firewalls etc. is so quick and easy to do. I realise that it's necessary for the game, but I have a conceptual problem with it being THAT easy and fast, because I can't envision that anything of importance would then seriously get stored on any form of electronic media. It just doesn't make proper sense to me.

QUOTE (Smash @ Dec 24 2014, 12:51 AM) *
It was really introduced to make hackers more flexible and interesting and to not be relegated to NPC status. Conceptually I like it, I just think that mechanically it just doesn't work, not to mention all the whinging that people do about how it works 'in the real world'. Getting rid of it, gets rid of the problems with matrix perception, armchair deckers, deck triangulation, noise, etc.


To be honest I actually do think that it worked. Yes, it did create some other issues regarding believability, but frankly bringing back decks and connecting all kinds of stuff to the Matrix, which frankly ought not to be, is IMO not really an improvement.

Anyway, Merry Christmas (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Bertramn
post Dec 25 2014, 11:33 AM
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QUOTE (Smash @ Dec 24 2014, 12:51 AM) *
I don't think too easy is a problem, particularly if you got rid of bricking cyberware. I'm ok with hackers being able to mess with cyberware but just in temporary way. Turning off the 'cyberzombie with autocannon''s eyes with one roll is reasonable I think, he just has to spend a simple action to reboot them, but it stops him from wiping out your whole squad, or at least gives him -6 to -10 to hit. Everything else that is non-combat though needs to be less rolls. You want to open that door? simple:

1) Plug in
2) make 'manipulate device roll'. This rolls difficulty is based on the nodes defences. The end result is either it opens, it doesn't open or it doesn't open and some kind of alert is triggered.
3) That's it.


Is that not how it worked in third?
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apple
post Dec 25 2014, 02:02 PM
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QUOTE (Bertramn @ Dec 25 2014, 06:33 AM) *
Is that not how it worked in third?


Only if you reduce the SR roll system on "you roll some d3 and count 5/6" (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Basically yes. You had a target number of (for example) 10, reduced by the rating of the programm (for example 6) and so your target number for an operation was 4. Problem: dozens of specific scenarios, special rules, exceptions etc.

SYL
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Bertramn
post Dec 26 2014, 11:25 PM
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QUOTE (apple @ Dec 25 2014, 03:02 PM) *
Only if you reduce the SR roll system on "you roll some d3 and count 5/6" (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Basically yes. You had a target number of (for example) 10, reduced by the rating of the programm (for example 6) and so your target number for an operation was 4. Problem: dozens of specific scenarios, special rules, exceptions etc.

SYL

I would hardly see that as a problem, since having several tactical possibilities is a goal of a ruleset. Few want to play with the fighting-mechanic from Redbox-D&D for example, but I have to read the SR3 Matrix rules more closely before continuing.

Found this a while back, had some nice ideas.
It was posted in DS too, but if I had chosen that link it would have been a better fit for the 'Dumpchock, what happened?'-thread.

The Ends of the Matrix
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apple
post Dec 27 2014, 12:48 PM
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QUOTE (Bertramn @ Dec 26 2014, 06:25 PM) *
I would hardly see that as a problem, since having several tactical possibilities is a goal of a ruleset.


There is a fine line between having several tactical possibilities (which SR4 or Cyberpunk 2020 provides as well) and a completely incoherent rule set, which was critized by a lot of people, including official support gamemaster banishing deckers from official demo games on cons. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

In some ways there were even less tactical possibilities due to group time (lot of dice rolling => other player getting a pizza) and decking in SR23 was extremely ressource intensive. Even "normal" corp security hosts required a money investment into the middle / higher 6 digit range to just even start. It was one of the reasons why the most favored connection was the NPC decker.

SYL
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Sengir
post Dec 27 2014, 04:23 PM
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I think a major part of optimal matrix rules would be to forget hackers for the first couple of pages and just explain how it works, what people do there and how they do it. If two security cams are connected to a commlnk, where does the data go, where are the users' personas etc. pp. Then you can go about adding hackers to it who bypass the cams.
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