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> The Idiot's Guide To The Matrix Thread, Support for the Matrix-challenged
Synner
post Aug 16 2003, 09:44 PM
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In the spirit of The Matrix Walkthrough thread, here's a thread to post your questions, doubts and comments about the Matrix and decking. Several people have already helped address a bunch of problems from posters, in what I think has been a helpful and interesting fashion (check out the link above), and I hope this will continue in the current incarnation of DSF.
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Talia Invierno
post Aug 16 2003, 10:06 PM
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Yay, Synner! We need to keep this one and the hosts thread active.

(And a special thanks for reposting that particular one for me. My files are in a mess, just now.)
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hobgoblin
post Aug 16 2003, 10:11 PM
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hmm, anyuse in booting that a4 corp metaphor of mine over? probably not...
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Synner
post Aug 16 2003, 10:31 PM
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hobgoblin - I didn't want it to seem like I was co-opting your work. Please feel free to copy it over to the Hosts thread from the original thread (link at top). I found it particularly good.
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hobgoblin
post Aug 17 2003, 04:35 PM
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relax, im going by the rule that if its on a public board then anyone is free to steal, mutate and/or elaborate on my stuff. an idea is only your own as long as you keep it to yourself. the modern world goes round as people in the past have taken an original idea or invention and used it in areas the inventor never thought of...

ok, enough rant...

oh, nad i like what you did to it :grinbig:
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satcong
post Aug 19 2003, 02:32 PM
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As a relatively new GM (and certainly new to deckers/decking) what I would really appreciate is a short 'walk-through' of a matrix run against a relatively simple Host/Security Sheaf.

For instance, when you 'trigger' IC, how does the decker know that it is there? Do you GM a matrix run in a similar way to a non-matrix run, i.e. by describing to the decker what is going on around him in the matrix in terms of icons etc.?

I have many more questions on this subject (as do other GM's I am sure), so thanks for the thread.
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Synner
post Aug 19 2003, 02:52 PM
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You may like to begin by checking out the previous thread on this subject, linked in my very first post. We've gone over quite a few of the basics before and you may find it interesting to go through that.

I've got another thread going for people to post their own "ready made" Hosts and their relevant iconography - Hosts'R'Us thread.

If you want we can try using the Office host therein as a sample run and see how the play by play goes.
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Solidcobra
post Aug 19 2003, 03:10 PM
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hmmm..... i need a "the total morons step by step guide to the matrix"...... or even more simple if possible
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TekDragon
post Aug 19 2003, 03:41 PM
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Courtesy of Penny-Arcade's random links every now and then, this was posted up summer of last year: http://www.caro.net/dsi/decker/

Basically, decking using shadowrun rules, minus the 'sim sense' feel that your deck would give to you.
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satcong
post Aug 20 2003, 01:05 PM
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Hi Synner, thanks for the offer:

"If you want we can try using the Office host therein as a sample run and see how the play by play goes..."

Would like to take you up on this. I have created a Decker as follows:
Body 3; Quick 4; STR 3; CHA 2; INT 6; WILL 6
Cyberware: Encephalon 2, Math SPU 3, Induction Datajack and Adaptor
Skills: Computer 6, Computer B/R 6, Electronics 4, Electronics B/R 6
Hacking Pool: 9 (4 + Encepahalon (2) + Math SPU (3))
Initiative 9+3d6 (includes Response Increase 2)
Cyberdeck: Renraku Kraftwerk-1: MPCP 8, Bod 6, Evasion 8, Sensor 4, Masking 6
Utilities: Sleaze 8, Analyze 4, Browse 6, Deception 6, Decrypt 6, Spoof 4, Reloctae 5, Read/Write 5, Attack 6D, Armor 6, Cloak 4 and Medic 6 (976Mp total, 252,800 NuYen)

Do you need any other information before we start this run?
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Synner
post Aug 20 2003, 01:33 PM
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Well, I need to know your jack-in point, and if you're decking the system if you know the LTG number of the destination system (this simply adds a couple of steps at the RTG/LTG level.

I'm also assuming we'll keep this simple for the purposes of an example and make it a straight datasnatch of a file and that you haven't done a recon hack to setup a Valid Account.
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TinkerGnome
post Aug 20 2003, 01:39 PM
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Satcong, once you're more familiar with the rules, the following will make more sense and they're good suggestions for a second run. These statements rely on having the Matrix book available for advanced rules:

From a power-gamer point of view, your decker should probably be running pure DNI with a hot ASIST interface. That'll give you a matrix initiative of 10+4d6, damn near maximum. And you probably want your masking to be 8 instead of your Evasion (though this may already be set for some reason). From there, flip into "masking mode" and you're looking at a detection factor of 10. As it sits now, you're a 7 (9 in masking mode).

You probably won't run across starting PCs with programs at rating 8, unless you specificly allow it (starting items are capped to rating 6 or less).
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Synner
post Aug 20 2003, 02:16 PM
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Tinkergnome is correct in his assessment of your load out but as he said some of his tweaks require use of the Matrix supplement. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your most important attribute when decking is actually your Detection Factor. Do everything you can to max it out. It directly increases your chances of survival more than any other aspect of your deck.

While I will assume this load out for the purposes of demonstration (especially because it is similar to quite a few starting deckers I know) I suggest you take a look at some of the program breakdowns we did in the previous thread for more variety and alternatives.
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satcong
post Aug 20 2003, 10:02 PM
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OK Synner, I have SR3 Matrix supplement. Let's assume that I don't know the LTG# of the target and that I have not carried out a recon of the host. My mission is, as suggested, a 'straight-forward' data-snatch. Let's also assume that I am jacking-in from an 'illegal access' jackpoint.

From what TinkerGnome said (thanks TG) I assume that my 400,000 NuYen for the Kraftwerk did not include an ASIST interface (hot or cold). Can the ASIST interface (as well as ICCM and Reality filtering) be added to the deck at a later stage or am I stuck with what I've got?

Also appreciate comments regarding Masking, Detection Factor and loadout - and will bear these in mind for the future. For now though, let my inexperience rule my fate and let's go with the Cyberdeck and loadout as listed (although I also didn't realise that Program starting values were capped at Rating 6 - I learn more every post :) - thanks guys).

OK, jacking-in.....


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The White Dwarf
post Aug 21 2003, 01:43 AM
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It does come with an assist interface, which can be set to hot or cold as you choose. But because it is a setting that you have too choose, just specify which one youre in =)

The same goes for DNI. You just choose to run in that mode (doing so requires you to be on hot assist however).

Both those choices make you a better decker, but also make you a bit vunerable to the nastier effects of some black ice type stuff (yea, it fries your brain worse when your brain is COMPLETLEY plugged in). 95% of the time it is *well* worth the trade off, so dont sweat the choice.

And yes, you can add stuff at a later date. ICCM is very useful, reality filter is less so imo (we never use them). Different people might have other ideas on the filter tho. In some cases you might have to replace other parts of your deck to work with the new hardware, but it can be done. The rules are in Matrix.
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TinkerGnome
post Aug 21 2003, 02:47 AM
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Reality filters help you get up to that all-elusive 10+5d6 initiative rating (the max you can have in the Matrix) but sometimes have trouble inside certain systems. All in all, if you need that extra bit of speed, they're worth it, but most people don't bother. There are a couple of decker mentalities, and the one I subscribe to is the hit and run methodology. Sticking around in a system to fight off IC is generally a bad idea (though crashing a piece of Probe IC and supressing it can well be worth it if it buys you a little time) so how fast you can move isn't always critical.

Because it might be confusing, i'm also going to mention that there is a piece of cyber called an "ASIST converter". The cyberware is only useful for Otaku and isn't required or even usable by a regular decker.

And it's not just programs that are capped at rating 6 under normal character generation rules, but anything with a rating (except, possibly, Otaku complex forms, which aren't gear and aren't specificly covered... I'm not sure about that one). Some GMs also cap decks at rating 6, though I've seen others who just rely on the availability cap (usually 8).

One of the things about being a decker is that you want to start with pretty much everything you're going to need since it takes so very long to program or build anything.
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Synner
post Aug 21 2003, 01:02 PM
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Datasteal Walkthrough
Satcong - Things go something like this:

You jack your deck into the illegal jackpoint somewhere in a C-district and toggle pure DNI. The Matrix rezzes into view before you. You appear besides the UMS representation of the jackpoint or inside the Host which houses the jackpoint (if there is one). This is homeground so no Tests are necessary. Stepping outside represents logging on to the Local Telecom Grid (let's say Everett) which looks like the "someone overlaid a Matrix Grid over the physical representation" of the cityscape (according to Target: Matrix). Since you don't know the LTG# you have to locate it first this means either going to the LTG# directory or going up a level to the RTG and then accessing the relevant RTG or LTG from there and then doing the same there (this is essentially a hightech version of going to the local phone listings).

There are several ways of going from here but the two most used are.

a) Log directly onto SeaSource (or one of its many competitors) and get the LTG from them (they're a huge online database run by Renraku, a mega-search engine and yellow pages rolled into one). Most deckers will have this on their "Most Used Links" list.

b) Let's assume that you know the LTG you want is in Downtown because the law offices you want to hack are physically located in Downtown. You dial up the Seattle RTG (Green-5/6/9/6/6/6) and fly up to the representation of the RTG which looks like the Eye of the Needle Restaurant floating over the city, inside it has no tables and panoramic windows looking out onto each connected LTG or RTG (again from Target: Matrix, the Iconography is simple and doesn't complicate matters by making you figure out what things are or calling for Analyze Hosts or Analyze Icon Tests).

You do an Access Test (Log On to Host sys-operation) to enter the RTG, an Access Test to enter the Downtown LTG (Green-5/6/9/6/6/6) from there and an Index Test to find the company's public LTG# (762-2223). You step through the window and appear in front of the Downtown LTG Host you dialed from the RTG (if you had logged on to the LTG without a specific number you would probably come out in front of the telecom company's own Host (PacRimComm Unlimited).

This is where you begin really decking the Host and many GMs will skip the preceding steps/description and start here. Since this is a no frills office system its Grid Icon is probably a 3D corporate logo representing the lawfirm Brown & Sons (Orange-9/12/12/9/9/9). Data-packages representing email or a phonecall regularly shoot out of the bottom of the icon and into the Matrix Grid below, representing the datalines in and out of the Host. Since this isn't a PLTG you don't have to worry about any Security Tally you've accumulated on the Public Grid when you Access it.

First you must attempt a Log On to Host operation to get in. Roll Computer Test with a Target Number equal to the Access Rating minus Deception Program Rating opposed by a GM's Security Rating roll with a Target number equal to your Detection Factor (successes both subtract from yours and add to your Security Tally currently at O). Important Note all the System Operation Tests and relevant utilities are listed for easy reference on pages 162-163 of Matrix. Every decker and GM character should have this list with them if they're unsure of the rules.
In this case you roll Computer 6 (plus Hacking Pool dice) against a target number of 6 (Access Rating 12 minus Deception 6). The GM rolls the 9 dice (Security Rating) against a target of 7 (your current Detection Factor).
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satcong
post Aug 21 2003, 02:25 PM
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Thanks to WhiteDwarf and TinkerGnome - so we are running on pure DNI using Hot Asist. Next time I create a decker and Cyberdeck I will apply the ratings limits that you mention. If you install a Reality Filter can you select On/Off with this? Which is to say, if you know a particular host that will give your filter problems, can you simply deck the Host with your Reality Filter switched OFF?

Synner, thanks for the step-by-step instructions for finding the target Host and for the descriptions of 'inside' the Matrix....

I assume that I would only know the details of the Host if I had carried out an Analyze Host operation or are you supplying the stats purely for informational purposes?

OK, the RTG and LTG have standard UMS yes? I am now standing beside the 3-D representation of Brown & Sons and I am going to attempt to Log-On to their Host. I roll 10-dice (Computer 6 + 4 Hacking Pool) against TN 6 and roll 4 successes......
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TinkerGnome
post Aug 21 2003, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE (satcong)
OK, the RTG and LTG have standard UMS yes? I am now standing beside the 3-D representation of Brown & Sons and I am going to attempt to Log-On to their Host. I roll 10-dice (Computer 6 + 4 Hacking Pool) against TN 6 and roll 4 successes......

There's nothing that says you can't take just one action a turn in the Matrix. Thus your hacking pool should refresh after every test. You can thus spend your max (6) on all of your system tests and simply wait a few cycles before your next action.

Depending on how your GM views this practice, of course.
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satcong
post Aug 21 2003, 02:51 PM
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Thanks TG, in future I will use my full hacking pool when prudent. I imagine that unless I am under pressure from IC that using all hacking dice for a system operation will be OK since I will not need to hold any back for combat etc.?

Just to add some colour, my on-line icon is an inoffensive little old man. He walks with a limp and uses a walking-stick. On the handle of the walking-stick is a big red button that has written on it, 'Press to Defrost'.....
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Fortune
post Aug 21 2003, 03:07 PM
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QUOTE (TinkerGnome)
Thus your hacking pool should refresh after every test.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Hacking Pool treated the same as every other Pool, in that it only refreshes at the start of every turn?
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Zazen
post Aug 21 2003, 04:19 PM
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You should re-read his post :)
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Fortune
post Aug 21 2003, 05:20 PM
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QUOTE (Zazen)
You should re-read his post :)

Considering you usually only roll one test at a time, it can be read more than one way. :)
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Synner
post Aug 21 2003, 05:38 PM
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Datasteal Walkthrough
QUOTE
Synner, thanks for the step-by-step instructions for finding the target Host and for the descriptions of 'inside' the Matrix....

This is was as much for your benefit as for Solidcobra and anyone else who wants to use it as a reference guide.

Note that I actually forgot to explain that in option b) above you perform a Locate Access Node operation (against the Grid's Access rating and using Browse).

QUOTE
I assume that I would only know the details of the Host if I had carried out an Analyze Host operation or are you supplying the stats purely for informational purposes?

All the stuff in brackets is OOC/GM information, it's just there to clarify and help both GMs and players. Normally you would need to be inside the Host and use an Analyze Host system operation to know these facts.

QUOTE
OK, the RTG and LTG have standard UMS yes?

Yes regarding the LTG, no regarding the RTG which has some minimal sculpting (ie. the Space Needle metaphor). There is a lot more about the look of the Seattle Matrix (and other important Matrix locations) in the really cool Target: Matrix sb. Obviously the RTG sees a lot of Icon traffic which I also didn't describe because it was irrelevant to the task at hand.

QUOTE
I am now standing beside the 3-D representation of Brown & Sons and I am going to attempt to Log-On to their Host. I roll 10-dice (Computer 6 + 4 Hacking Pool) against TN 6 and roll 4 successes......

So lets continue...
The GM/Host rolls 3 sucesses with his Security Rating (9) against your Detection Factor (7). Which means you have enough remaining successes (1) to pass the test (and a Security Tally of 3). The Brown and Sons icon shimmers and with a ripple effect opens a circular doorway into the system.

Stepping through the system access point you find yourself standing in the reception area of a stylized high-tech office floor. The entrance hall is semicircular and corridors full of doors radiate off the main foyer at regular intervals. Opposite you, front and center, is a reception desk with two recepcionists. Standing slightly behind you to either side of the entrance are some faceless standard issue MCT-SecGuard-ICons - from the configuration you can't decide what IC they are. (Further data on the Iconography is in the Hosts'R'Us thread in case you're having difficulties). Nobody pays much attention to your Icon since the system metaphor isn't that sofisticated.

There are several things you can do now, including the most obvious:
a) Locate File (if you know the file name or some of the contents thereof)
b) Locate Paydata (if you don't know enough info run this operation using keywords that will have to be in the file like a target's name).
c) Validate Account (this is only really useful if you want back in later or want this to be a recon hack, in which case do a Graceful Log Off and Log On again with the new Validated account).
d) Use the helpful information function the Recepcionist icons (Index subsystem) are probably programmed with to help clients/general public users.

Your move...
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Game2BHappy
post Aug 21 2003, 06:04 PM
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Awesome stuff Synner.

I haven't touched Matrix stuff in awhile and this is a great refresher.

Question:
Doesn't the decker have to perform a "Logon to Host" when he first jacks in? I thought that dumped him into the LTG and that was the first thing that happened.

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