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> Matrix Search, Search Assistance?
Gorath
post May 6 2005, 06:21 PM
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Hi everyone,

we start a SR3 campaign soon and i will play a decker. I have a quick question about Matrix searchs.

Things that help at searching are:
-knowledge skill 6+
-initiative +4d6
- Browse 6+
- datahaven contact
- Etiquette(Matrix) 5+
and search assistance.

What is the best assistance?
Can i build a Agent with Frame Core Rating 1, it should be able to carry Browse 6+.


Gorath
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GrinderTheTroll
post May 6 2005, 06:29 PM
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IIRC, the frame core rating puts the limit on what rating program you can run. A rating 1 could only run a Rating 1 browse. ~Matrix.131 or thereabouts.
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Eyeless Blond
post May 6 2005, 09:12 PM
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Pg. 88, actually: "No utilities may be loaded that have a rating higher than the frame core rating."

Besides, you want a rating 6 agent anyway; they're insanely expensive after chargen, and are really useful to any decker character. Agents and frames are to deckers like drones are to riggers; sure you can do the work yourself with your own deck, but why bother when your frames can do it for you while you sleep? :)


My Search Agent looks like this:
-Agent core rating: 6
-Agent construction: Pilot rating 6 (12 pts), init 4d6 (9 pts), utility payload 15 (15 pts) = 36
- Persona attributes (hated assigning these): Bod 2 Evasion 0 Masking 6 Sensors 4. No Evasion sucks, but the agent when by its lonesome typically Camos itself around the globe a few times so traces are still hard to hit.
-Typical program load: browse 6 + sleaze 6 + Camo 3
-Alternate program load: sleaze 6 + Validate 6 + Medic 3

With this set-up your agent gives you a whopping -5 to info search TNs.

Also with the typical program loadout your typical agent is almost better at quick Simple searches than you are. They don't have the penalty of doubled time that you get with having a Response Increase of 1 or less, which you get unless your GM allows you to custom-order an MPCP 8 deck at chargen (mine didn't). A TN of 3-5 and a base time of 1d6 hours is generally better than a TN of 2-4 with a base time of 2d6 hours, especially when the agent can be doing searches for you while you sleep.
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Edward
post May 7 2005, 07:00 AM
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The other great thing about having an agent (or smart frame) is that there is nothing to stop you running it multiple times.

Say you want to do searches on your Johnson, the target corporation and the extraction target.

Run your agent program and send it out after the Johnson, load it again from storage memory and send it out after the target corporation, load it a third time and send it out after the extraction target. When they show up with more questions than answers you can send out even more copy’s to chase down the information you want.

Because agents don’t run on your deck there is no practical limit to how many you can have active at one time

Or is there something I missed to stop this stunt.

Edward
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Gorath
post May 7 2005, 10:42 AM
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Hmm this is cool - but other could do the same trick.

Can you buy agents at character creation - or do you have to programm them yourself?
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Eyeless Blond
post May 7 2005, 01:40 PM
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Chargen is the best time to get agents. You don't want to buy them later because they basically have to be special-ordered (Avail and SI are stepped up IIRC), and programming them takes forever.

Before you go sending out 10,000 copies of your agent, though, remember Wrong Party Tests do add up against you, so it's not really the best idea to keep throwing agent after agent at a particular search, especially the high-TN detailed ones. Agents by themselves are best for simple searches until you get one that's *really* high up there in rating.
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Gorath
post May 7 2005, 02:07 PM
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Ah okay.

I hate it that there are no rules for self codes programms at character creation. I will ask my GM if

(a) if i can pay the normal programms and can have them self codes so that i can upgrade them better

(b) can code the programs myself and pay 100 :nuyen: per hour work.

I did a search for a optimal setup for starting programs. Is it worth to get a Programming suite 6 with self-coder 6 option? Our is it "better" to work at a red host - maybe not possible for a starting char.
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hahnsoo
post May 7 2005, 02:07 PM
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QUOTE (Edward)
Because agents don’t run on your deck there is no practical limit to how many you can have active at one time

Or is there something I missed to stop this stunt.

I was under the impression that Agents only helped you on your search, and cannot constitute the entirety of a Matrix search job by their lonesome:
"A character can use his Computer (Search Operations) skill to sift through massive archives of information, both public and private, perhaps using smart frames or agents (p. 88) for help."

Sure, you can sent them off to hunt data on various databases (or sections of a particular database), but that just cuts down on the hunting... the decker still needs to refine the search and collate the data into an appropriate form for digestion. Thus, you are still limited by the decker's intelligence and get the increases in TN for running multiple searches simultaneously, as usual.
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hahnsoo
post May 7 2005, 02:20 PM
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QUOTE (Gorath)
I did a search for a optimal setup for starting programs. Is it worth to get a Programming suite 6 with self-coder 6 option? Our is it "better" to work at a red host - maybe not possible for a starting char.

If you have 432,000 nuyen to blow at character creation, knock yourself out. Programming Suites can get mighty expensive, and I can think of better ways to spend starting cash, but it's a sweet purchase if you can afford it.

That would be (6+6) squared, times 15 (program multiplier) times 200 nuyen.
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Gorath
post May 7 2005, 02:20 PM
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Hello,


on the search test table (Matrix, p.171) agents give you following mods:

agents -3
with browse 6+ -1
with core rating 6+ -1
-------------------------------
-5 TN for searchs

So the rules think that an agent that sorts the info in databases helps you to get the wanted infos easier/faster.


I think you are right - sending many copies might not be the best idea. But its good to know, that your agents that get destroyed in the matrix can be uploaded easily, so you don't lose that much money/programming time. And you can give your agent different setups to use them right...

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Gorath
post May 7 2005, 02:23 PM
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QUOTE (hahnsoo)

If you have 432,000 nuyen to blow at character creation, knock yourself out.  Programming Suites can get mighty expensive, and I can think of better ways to spend starting cash, but it's a sweet purchase if you can afford it.



Okay - its not worth the money ;-) I think my sleep regulator will do a better job. So i can work 8h/day and still run the last 4h/day to get some money...
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Eyeless Blond
post May 7 2005, 02:45 PM
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QUOTE (Gorath @ May 7 2005, 09:07 AM)
I hate it that there are no rules for self codes programms at character creation.

Actually, by default all programs you buy come with source code, so you can upgrade to your heart's content. Object-code only programs are cheaper, at a 25% discount, but you can't upgrade or maintain the prog yourself.

QUOTE (hahnsoo)
If you have 432,000 nuyen to blow at character creation, knock yourself out.  Programming Suites can get mighty expensive, and I can think of better ways to spend starting cash, but it's a sweet purchase if you can afford it.

That would be (6+6) squared, times 15 (program multiplier) times 200 nuyen.

And even then you can't, because anything above a rating 9 program has an Availability of 16 (the Self-coder 6 suite has an effective Rating of 12). You're better off taking a good host as an L2 contact so you can pay by the hour for environment time ( I took the People's University of Berkeley for background reasons, then ran into this side-benefit later).
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hahnsoo
post May 7 2005, 03:01 PM
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QUOTE (Eyeless Blond @ May 7 2005, 09:45 AM)
And even then you can't, because anything above a rating 9 program has an Availability of 16 (the Self-coder 6 suite has an effective Rating of 12). You're better off taking a good host as an L2 contact so you can pay by the hour for environment time ( I took the People's University of Berkeley for background reasons, then ran into this side-benefit later).

This isn't entirely true. The cost of a utility is based on its BASE rating, not the effective rating of base rating + options, as in this example:
QUOTE
OPTIONS AND COST
The price of a program depends on its base rating and design size. For example, an attack-6M program without options has a base rating of 6 and a design size of 108 Mp. The program’s street price equals its size, 108 Mp, multiplied by 200: 108 x 200 = 21,600 nuyen.
An attack-6M (stealth-4) program has an effective rating of 10 and a design size of 300 Mp, for a price of 60,000 nuyen.
Note that the cost of the program is 10 squared times 3 times 200 nuyen, the same multiplier as for the base Rating 6 program. This also means that the Programming Suite 6 with a Self-coder of 6 has a cost multiplier that the same as any other Rating 6 program.

While this doesn't show anything as far as Availability, the above example shows that you can't use the effective rating to determine the cost multiplier, at the very least. That probably also means that you can't use the effective rating to determine availability.

EDIT: p84 in Matrix -
QUOTE
Characters can purchase any of the programs described in this book. A program’s price is determined by its rating and design size, as shown on the Program Prices Table. Option ratings do not affect these prices.
Option ratings aren't added for the purposes of referencing on the Program Price tables.
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Gorath
post May 7 2005, 03:06 PM
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Hi Eyeless,

as my decker will work at the University he might get access to mainfraim time. Perhaps that is the best solution - but i don't think they have red host.

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mfb
post May 7 2005, 03:06 PM
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QUOTE (Gorath)
I hate it that there are no rules for self codes programms at character creation.

your resources at chargen describe the actual value of what you own; they don't say anything about how you acquired any of it. a self-coded program at chargen should--and does--cust just as much at chargen as a purchased program. a thief charcter doesn't get any discounts at chargen for stuff he's stolen; deckers shouldn't get any discounts for stuff they coded.
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Eyeless Blond
post May 7 2005, 03:36 PM
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QUOTE (Gorath @ May 7 2005, 10:06 AM)
Hi Eyeless,

as my decker will work at the University he might get access to mainfraim time. Perhaps that is the best solution - but i don't think they have red host.

No. They have an Orange host though (see: Target:Matrix), which is pretty damn good already--they only have it because Uncle Dunkie willed it to them. Red is corp-level, so you're going to need to either steal it (risky) or join up (even riskier :))

hahnsoo: good point on the options not increasing Availability; I never noticed that. It's still horrifically expensive.

Re: agents and independent searches. I... never even considered that they couldn't. Of course I also give my agent far more personality than anything below SK or AI level ought to have either; I play it almost like a real person. It's fun from an RP point of view, but I suppose it isn't really supported by the rules.

Searches, though, I think would be fine. Keep in mind that the nature of an info search is going to make the command much more vague than, say, a "break into X and do Y" type of command, so the comprehension TN is going to be fairly high (8+, in all probability, maybe even 10-12 if you're not being very specific on the scope and parameters of the search).
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Gorath
post May 7 2005, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE (mfb)
QUOTE (Gorath)
I hate it that there are no rules for self codes programms at character creation.

your resources at chargen describe the actual value of what you own; they don't say anything about how you acquired any of it. a self-coded program at chargen should--and does--cust just as much at chargen as a purchased program. a thief charcter doesn't get any discounts at chargen for stuff he's stolen; deckers shouldn't get any discounts for stuff they coded.

Good point.
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Shockwave_IIc
post May 8 2005, 08:10 PM
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QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
Object-code only programs are cheaper, at a 25% discount, but you can't upgrade or maintain the prog yourself.

Actually i believe you can, you just suffer +2 Tn's i think
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Edward
post May 9 2005, 07:52 AM
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I was shore an agent could do pretty much anything a Decker could, provided it passed the comprehension test witch shouldn’t be all that difficult on “find all the information you can on joe blogs sin 1234,1324,1342,1234 send it to hoast 5678, 5678, 8, 685 and return to that host after 6 hours.

The agent dose have a computer skill after all and that is what you use for a matrix search

Edward
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hahnsoo
post May 10 2005, 06:09 AM
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QUOTE (Edward)
I was shore an agent could do pretty much anything a Decker could, provided it passed the comprehension test witch shouldn’t be all that difficult on “find all the information you can on joe blogs sin 1234,1324,1342,1234 send it to hoast 5678, 5678, 8, 685 and return to that host after 6 hours.

The agent dose have a computer skill after all and that is what you use for a matrix search

Edward

Agents can do anything a Decker can... on SPECIFIC tasks. But they can't collate and filter the appropriate data intelligently and effectively. In the Sixth World, the difficulty of the task does not entirely lie in finding the information. You'll find more information than any person can ever use. The difficulty is sorting and compiling the information into an article that the shadowrunners can use. It's a question of sortilage, finding patterns, discarding redundant or useless bits, and that's something the agent cannot handle. The reason it lowers target numbers is because you don't have to do the actual leg work yourself. In effect, you are sending out your agents throughout the world to do the actual retrieving, while you sit at home, filtering through the data to find the meaningful bits and instructing your agents to take the next logical step. It's like the scenes with Michael Sutherland in Nosferatu and Black Madonna, sending out agents to do the work, while Sutherland is sitting at home, trying to make sense of it all.
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