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> Data Trails is out!, PDF, $25
Grinder
post May 27 2015, 12:45 PM
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Get the PDF here.


QUOTE
THE INFINITE FRONTIER

The last great undiscovered country is vast, wild, and weirder than you can possibly imagine. And it’s nearby, waiting, accessible by the press of a button, or a simple gesture, or even just a thought. The Matrix holds a whole lot more than selfies and cat videos—it has artificial intelligences, electronic ghosts of people formerly alive (or perhaps still living), and deep wells of pure data that can swallow you whole. Oh, and a copy of every secret ever recorded electronically. The possible rewards of exploration are great, and the dangers are greater.

Data Trails is the Matrix sourcebook for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, offering more options for decker and technomancer characters, including qualities, programs, gear and more.

With detailed examinations of hacker culture, information on diving deep into immersive hosts, and briefings on the strange sites hidden in dark corners of the Matrix, Data Trails is a vital resource for any Shadowrun players involved in the omnipresent flow of information. Non-Matrix specialists have chances to get in on the adventures as well, with game details explaining how their skills and expertise translate into the wild virtual world.

Data Trails is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition.
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DMK
post May 27 2015, 03:23 PM
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Well, the first review on DriveThru is claiming that DT isn't much of a Technomancer fix. Disappointing if true.
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Jack VII
post May 27 2015, 04:00 PM
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I just skimmed it. There isn't much material on TMs. I think there is a planned PDF that will have a lot of information on them.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post May 27 2015, 04:09 PM
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I don't hold much hope - the Developers think Technomancer's should die in a hot fire (it has been said more than once), so the lack of information is a direct reflection on that line of thought, I think. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Jaid
post May 27 2015, 05:19 PM
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from what i've seen on the official forums, the general consensus is that the only way technomancers presently work at all is as a "pet class" basically.

that is, you spend every moment of your downtime frantically compiling and registering sprites in hope that you won't run out of services when you need your minions to do something for you (with the understanding that no, you aren't going to be any good at doing it yourself). with the exception of occasionally chipping in with a complex form if things get *really* desperate. use machine sprites to cause accidents for the enemy and buff your allies, and use other sprites for various matrix tasks.

honestly, i'm slightly surprised they haven't taken that to the logical conclusion and made a leadership build that just gives teamwork bonuses to their sprites on everything. who needs hacking skills? you aren't gonna be any good at hacking anyways, may as well just face the music and accept your role as a pure support (it's what i've considered for the only technomancer i've played around with the possibility of making... first aid, medicine, leadership, and a bit of other face skills. heck, i've even considered cybering up to 1-2 resonance, because really who cares about your own stats? go high edge for desperate situations, buff resonance to ~3 at some point, and then just keep enough resonance to handle R6 sprites and otherwise invest resources into being a face and medic. of course, it only even remotely works in something other than priority gen. sum-to-10 seems like it can work ok...)

oh, and of course, pick up automatics so you can lay down suppressing fire in combat. it's the supporty thing to do.
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Medicineman
post May 27 2015, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 27 2015, 11:09 AM) *
I don't hold much hope - the Developers think Technomancer's should die in a hot fire (it has been said more than once), so the lack of information is a direct reflection on that line of thought, I think. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


naaah, they just want to make an extra Buck for an extra PDF for Technomancers.
Everything has a Price, Y'know (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
CGL has become like one of the Megacorps (in Mind) I don't think they care (or don't care ) for TMs, they just want to ( do you say "Milk the Cashcow " ? ) earn some cash , that's all.

with a capitalistic Dance
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post May 27 2015, 05:47 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ May 27 2015, 10:19 AM) *
from what i've seen on the official forums, the general consensus is that the only way technomancers presently work at all is as a "pet class" basically.

that is, you spend every moment of your downtime frantically compiling and registering sprites in hope that you won't run out of services when you need your minions to do something for you (with the understanding that no, you aren't going to be any good at doing it yourself). with the exception of occasionally chipping in with a complex form if things get *really* desperate. use machine sprites to cause accidents for the enemy and buff your allies, and use other sprites for various matrix tasks.

honestly, i'm slightly surprised they haven't taken that to the logical conclusion and made a leadership build that just gives teamwork bonuses to their sprites on everything. who needs hacking skills? you aren't gonna be any good at hacking anyways, may as well just face the music and accept your role as a pure support (it's what i've considered for the only technomancer i've played around with the possibility of making... first aid, medicine, leadership, and a bit of other face skills. heck, i've even considered cybering up to 1-2 resonance, because really who cares about your own stats? go high edge for desperate situations, buff resonance to ~3 at some point, and then just keep enough resonance to handle R6 sprites and otherwise invest resources into being a face and medic. of course, it only even remotely works in something other than priority gen. sum-to-10 seems like it can work ok...)

oh, and of course, pick up automatics so you can lay down suppressing fire in combat. it's the supporty thing to do.


I have not really had that experience with the Technomancer that I have been playing since 5th Edition hit the streets. While I do agree that they make some great support characters (All the Technical Skills benefit from your Logic Stat after all), There is no lack of hacking ability. The biggest issue is the Limits on your Living Persona. Since your Living Persona is so intimately tied to your Stats, it is difficult to attain an equivalent "Deck" to a Hacker. Submersions will help with this over time, as will a few select Complex Forms to boost your lower Living Persona Attributes when needed. I think that the Fading Levels are extremely harsh in comparison to what a Magician faces, but again, I think that is something that was done on purpose. I am still a bit undecided on Sprites, as they have been useful, but not really as useful as a Spirit is to a Mage (But since I am only mediocre (5-6 Dice) at Registering and Compiling of Sprites, that may be a build issue - was not something that I really concentrated upon). However, I built to a specific concept (Espionage and Spy crap) that has paid off well for me... I have not really tried to make a powerhouse Technomancer with Resonance 6 and all the bells and whistles.
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Wakshaani
post May 27 2015, 06:13 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 27 2015, 10:09 AM) *
I don't hold much hope - the Developers think Technomancer's should die in a hot fire (it has been said more than once), so the lack of information is a direct reflection on that line of thought, I think. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


For teh record, I *loved* Otaku, and I'm fond of Technomancers.

But, I'm weird, so. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post May 27 2015, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE (Wakshaani @ May 27 2015, 11:13 AM) *
For teh record, I *loved* Otaku, and I'm fond of Technomancers.

But, I'm weird, so. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Good to hear... Wish everyone was fond of them. I don't need crazy super powers to enjoy a Technomancer, but the team swung the pendulum to far back the other way in 5th. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
Reducing the Fading by a point or two (probably 2) across the board for CF's would be a good start, in my opinion. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Sengir
post May 27 2015, 07:38 PM
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Not really sure what to make of this...my initial reaction to the preview was that they must have switched up the link. I looked at the cover, which seems oddly like a hastily composited Photoshop job, then on the next page that short list of headings (without any subdivision!) that apparently serves as a TOS, and honestly thought this was a missions book, or some PDF supplement. Scroll back, no, it's called Data Trails, scroll forward, the headings span 166 pages, seems like it is the real deal.

Well, I hope content beats presentation here. Or at least initial presentation, as the further artwork in the preview is typical 5th edition.

PS: Amazingly, the not-so-great cover art is credited to "Mark Poole", which I'm guessing is the same Mark Poole as the MtG Artist
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hermit
post May 27 2015, 08:54 PM
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After resurrecting Grids, Fuchi will be retconned back in? Interesting. (p. 17, commlink List, last entry (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) ). Also, "Überwelt", seriously? But at least for once, the correct Umlaut is used. Gotta be glad for the little things, I guess.

Ach, CGL quality writing, it just never, ever gets better.
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Critias
post May 27 2015, 08:55 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 27 2015, 10:09 AM) *
I don't hold much hope - the Developers think Technomancer's should die in a hot fire (it has been said more than once), so the lack of information is a direct reflection on that line of thought, I think. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

We do? News to me.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post May 27 2015, 09:11 PM
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QUOTE (Critias @ May 27 2015, 01:55 PM) *
We do? News to me.


Sadly, Yes, Critias... I know that Bull has said it a time or two, (though likely in his guise as Player and not Developer), and I remember a few other instances a time or two over the years (but not specific people), but no worries. I do understand that there were some issues over the power level of TM's in SR4, but the swing went way to far the other way in 5th Edition, in my opinion (as evidenced in the post by Jaid above). (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Of course, I could have misread or misremembered as well... Would not be the first time. *sigh*
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BlackJaw
post May 27 2015, 09:41 PM
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The table of contents is all cryptic headings, and the preview on DriveThru is all fiction. For those of you interested in what's inside, here's what I've skimmed:

A lot of fluffy descriptions, like what all the Megacorp and National grids use for sculpting, what it's like to be on the matrix in various formats, how different generations interact with the wireless world, etc. Also stuff on what it's like to be a hacker, and various hacker groups.

New Positive and Negative Qualities related to the matrix and hacking. One quality lets you be a member of Jackpoint. There is also a Code of Honor for being too skilled to bother bricking stuff.

Hacker related Life Modules for use with Run Faster. This includes some Technomancer stuff and even Otaku.

Commlinks can now run "Apps" which are minor programs instead of full on Cyberprograms.

There are new Cyberprograms, mostly illegal hackers stuff.

There are also some new Complex Forms and a fair number of Echoes including Skinlink, for that direct-link hack-by-touch ability that will make Technomancers all the more useful.

More Commlink variations, and rules for buying links of variant form factors. There are also commlink add-ons called "Dongles." A link can take a single dongle at a time, and they do things like add an Attack or Sleaze rating, or turn your link into a tazer. Keep in mind, links still can't have an Attack and Sleaze at once, can't run programs, and can't alter their matrix attributes on the fly.

There are new Decks, including "cheaper" decks that can't have their matrix attributes reconfigured. There are also CyberDeck Modules that must be physicaly installed into a deck (one at at time, not changeable on the fly) for various purposes, including a matrix initiative booster.

There are rules for modifying electronics, including adding Sleaze or Attack to something that doesn't have it, and boosting existing ratings. Doing so requires parts, and there are rules for stripping parts from other electronics. I think you could now build a Deck out of Commlinks, or at least convert a really cheap deck into a good one using commlinks for parts.

There are details on host systems, including some examples of spiders, and a few new kinds of IC.

There are details on traveling into the underlying systems that run hosts, including the file archive. It looks like this section was inspired by Inception. There are a lot of crazy things that can be done inside a host's innards, but apparently it's some kind of odd dream-world place that's hostile and uncontrolled even to the people that run the host? I think the story content I haven't had a chance to look explains a non-standard origin for the new Matrix and the Host systems in particular.

There is a section full of matrix rumors which talks about odd AI stuff, UV systems, Resonance stuff, etc. There are also rules for some of this.

There are rules for AI characters, including Meta-sapient AI PCs. NPC AIs are built using the same rules and there are details for Proto-Sapient and Xeno-Sapient AIs. Life Module creation is not supported for AI player characters, but several other options are supported. eGhost characters are considered a meta-variant of Meta-sapient IAs and are supported (although this is listed at the end of the chapter instead of with the character creation rules.) There is a restricted list of Quality options for AI player characters, but also special qualities just for them as well. The ability to eat other AIs and Sprites to gain digital-essence caught my eye. AIs also get access to some particular special abilities, most notable of which is that they can change ownership of devices much faster and easier than meat-bodied people. You could change the owner of a stollen car in combat turns instead of hours.

I did not see any new Sprites or sprite powers.
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Jaid
post May 28 2015, 12:15 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 27 2015, 01:47 PM) *
I have not really had that experience with the Technomancer that I have been playing since 5th Edition hit the streets. While I do agree that they make some great support characters (All the Technical Skills benefit from your Logic Stat after all), There is no lack of hacking ability. The biggest issue is the Limits on your Living Persona. Since your Living Persona is so intimately tied to your Stats, it is difficult to attain an equivalent "Deck" to a Hacker. Submersions will help with this over time, as will a few select Complex Forms to boost your lower Living Persona Attributes when needed. I think that the Fading Levels are extremely harsh in comparison to what a Magician faces, but again, I think that is something that was done on purpose. I am still a bit undecided on Sprites, as they have been useful, but not really as useful as a Spirit is to a Mage (But since I am only mediocre (5-6 Dice) at Registering and Compiling of Sprites, that may be a build issue - was not something that I really concentrated upon). However, I built to a specific concept (Espionage and Spy crap) that has paid off well for me... I have not really tried to make a powerhouse Technomancer with Resonance 6 and all the bells and whistles.


and in comparison to a decker, you are probably behind on dice pool, unable to reconfigure your deck, mostly unable to access programs (barring an echo that gives you one per time you take it), rely on a single resource instead of being able to progress meaningfully with two, take an extra penalty from getting 'ware, and are likely one priority lower on the priority chargen table in at least 2 categories (possibly more if you didn't put technomancer into priority C), and you require an extra 2 skills (practically speaking you can ignore decompiling) and an extra attribute while progressing your character.

a character that was essentially the same but as a decker instead of a technomancer would likely have higher dice pools in a variety of areas from a combination of being able to put special in E instead of C or higher, and being able to incorporate more 'ware (although depending on character, 'ware may not fit even if it would give you better dice pools).

and ultimately, as you've noted, your character is not so much a technomancer, as they are a spy that happens to have some technomancer abilities. i have my doubts that if you were to, say, bring your character to a missions event at a con, that you would present your character as a technomancer. you would probably introduce them as a spy, and if asked about your skill set you might bring up that you can hack simple devices like maglocks or commlinks (but not top-of-the-line commlinks)... but if the group was looking for a dedicated hacker, would you step forward and say "i've got just the runner for the job"?
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Critias
post May 28 2015, 02:29 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 27 2015, 04:11 PM) *
Sadly, Yes, Critias... I know that Bull has said it a time or two, (though likely in his guise as Player and not Developer), and I remember a few other instances a time or two over the years (but not specific people), but no worries. I do understand that there were some issues over the power level of TM's in SR4, but the swing went way to far the other way in 5th Edition, in my opinion (as evidenced in the post by Jaid above). (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Of course, I could have misread or misremembered as well... Would not be the first time. *sigh*


My point was that "Bull =/= The Developers," just like "Critias =/= The Developers," or "Wak =/= The Developers." An off the cuff comment, even repeated ones, from one guy doesn't mean it's what every developer feels, or what's going to be coming out in future books. Bull had nothing to do with Technomancers in Data Trails, so whether or not Bull likes them is immaterial; it doesn't mean the other writers feel the same way, it doesn't mean the line developer feels the same way, and it certainly doesn't mean Ren, who wrote the material in question, feels that way. If anything, in fact, you tend to see the opposite; the people who love something are the ones who pitch to try and write about it (see Way of the Adept, for instance).

If "the Developers" hated everything Bull grouched about, there wouldn't be any more books coming out, 'cause homey grouches a lot.
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Jaid
post May 28 2015, 02:51 AM
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on the other hand, if the developers liked technomancers, they wouldn't have screwed them over to the point where they are like a more expensive, less effective decker.
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Wakshaani
post May 28 2015, 03:08 AM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ May 27 2015, 09:51 PM) *
on the other hand, if the developers liked technomancers, they wouldn't have screwed them over to the point where they are like a more expensive, less effective decker.


I might make that a slow burn goal. Take a couple of years, gather feedback from tons of people, see how to handle it overall. Yeah, it'd be slow, but by thunder, when it was done, it should (hopefully!) be done in a way that everyone loves. Hard to slip that in amoung other products (From several companies! I think I have three things out at GenCon! Ack!), but something to keep in mind for the long term.

Pounding away at Current Project right now, so can't sit and give this, or Lockdown, a good hard read yet. I'm darned interested, however. The Matrix is kind of important. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Prime Mover
post May 28 2015, 03:09 AM
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Just reading that proposal was accepted for TM focused "book" and that's the reason we didn't see a huge chunk of data trails dedicated to them.
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binarywraith
post May 28 2015, 07:08 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 27 2015, 10:09 AM) *
I don't hold much hope - the Developers think Technomancer's should die in a hot fire (it has been said more than once), so the lack of information is a direct reflection on that line of thought, I think. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


As presently implemented? I'll get the torches and diesel fuel. Both the mechanics and fluff for 5e techno are trash.
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cybertier
post May 28 2015, 07:38 AM
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Can someone explain to me in simple words what's good about playing an (non-rigger) AI?
I'd love to play one, but right now they seem to be a little worse deckers. No hot sim and no 'ware seem like they'd struggle to get as efficient as a decker. And their powerstat is damn expensive.
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prionic6
post May 28 2015, 07:40 AM
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I have a feeling that technomancers are going to be strong when you're planning a deep run into a hosts foundation. No practical experience yet, though...
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binarywraith
post May 28 2015, 08:09 AM
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That's an awful lot of character investment to be good in one niche part of an oft-neglected section of the game. It's like paying to be a mage just to be good at astral quests, and lacking spellcasting.
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Wakshaani
post May 28 2015, 01:28 PM
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QUOTE (binarywraith @ May 28 2015, 03:09 AM) *
That's an awful lot of character investment to be good in one niche part of an oft-neglected section of the game. It's like paying to be a mage just to be good at astral quests, and lacking spellcasting.


Honestly, I'd kinda like to see that analogy pushed further. Err, not in the AI sense neccessarily, but ... full VR Matrix runs lock out other players in a way akin to Astral scouting does for mages, while DEEP Matrix runs, like deep Astral plunges, are pretty much things that should be reserved for solo-sessions, bluebooking, or all decker/all mage campaigns.

AR hacking, like spellcasting, should be something done in realtime, with initiative passes doing stuff with the rest of the group, keeping the game flowing smoothly.

My personal opinion, mind you.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post May 28 2015, 01:33 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ May 27 2015, 06:15 PM) *
and in comparison to a decker, you are probably behind on dice pool, unable to reconfigure your deck, mostly unable to access programs (barring an echo that gives you one per time you take it), rely on a single resource instead of being able to progress meaningfully with two, take an extra penalty from getting 'ware, and are likely one priority lower on the priority chargen table in at least 2 categories (possibly more if you didn't put technomancer into priority C), and you require an extra 2 skills (practically speaking you can ignore decompiling) and an extra attribute while progressing your character.

a character that was essentially the same but as a decker instead of a technomancer would likely have higher dice pools in a variety of areas from a combination of being able to put special in E instead of C or higher, and being able to incorporate more 'ware (although depending on character, 'ware may not fit even if it would give you better dice pools).

and ultimately, as you've noted, your character is not so much a technomancer, as they are a spy that happens to have some technomancer abilities. i have my doubts that if you were to, say, bring your character to a missions event at a con, that you would present your character as a technomancer. you would probably introduce them as a spy, and if asked about your skill set you might bring up that you can hack simple devices like maglocks or commlinks (but not top-of-the-line commlinks)... but if the group was looking for a dedicated hacker, would you step forward and say "i've got just the runner for the job"?


I have a higher Dice Pool than the Decker in our Group had, I cannot reconfigure my Living Persona, I do not have access to programs (Submersion for program access is so underpowered it is laughable - I would give the ability to purchase Programs for 3-4 Karma and integrate them into your abilities, with ability to run a number of them equal to Resonance (maybe 2x Resonance?) at a time), progress with two resources (I have no fear of Resonance Loss - I have 2 Essence Points sunk into 'Ware (with no extra penalties as you imply beyond the opportunity cost and lower resonance caps - yes I did lose 2 Resonance, but so what), and 2 Submersions - Resonance 3), Not sure about the Priority. Took Skills as "A" (so never worried about Skills) and never really worried about trying to get maximum Resonance.

Relevant Dice Pools are Hacking 14 (Hack on the Fly 18) (16/20 Hot), Electronic Warfare 14 (Hide 18) (16/20 Hot), And Cybercomabat 14. Living Persona is Attack 3 (6 with CF), Data Processing 8, Sleaze 7, Firewall 3 (6 with CF). Decent Matrix Perception (14) due to Technomancer. Next Specialty is for Hacking (Hidden), which I will also apply to EW and Cybercombat at some point.

Yes, the Character is a Spy. I hack Top of the Line Commlinks consistently (after all, they are not as difficult as a Rating 6 Host), as well as Hosts up to Rating 9. I don't use Sprites all that often (definitely not as Pets), but I do use them when needed. Yes, I am the "Hacker" of the group. While I am likely more cautious than some (hell of a backstory), I tend to get the job done.

Now, All that did take about 159 Karma to realized as well, so it was a slow rise to where I am now, but most of those points went into non-Technomancer things (Spy, remember?) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
Would she be better with a Fairlight Excaliber Deck and some programs? Most Assuredly. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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