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Page 240 in the BBB makes a reference to "Coding your own programs"...

What happens when they want to crack a copy and load every device/vehicle with the same Firewall, System, Response, Autosoft, Agent etc... and perhaps branch out into Skillsofts for a side line of work to help those with skillwires.

What is the best way to handle this? Hackers can do the work and I am not saying they shouldn't be able to. Just need to know how long should it take to break the program the first time? Once a copy is made is there a limit? Using the currency serial number system and applying it to every copy made makes for an unlimited business. Even further modification you could force load it onto other people Commlinks, Drones, Toasters, etc...

Open for debate as I would really like to understand this in depth.
Pg. 228
Most legally-purchased programs are sold with built-in copy protection, so that the program cannot easily be duplicated without an access code. Hackers have invented many ways of circumventing these methods, however, to the point where piracy is the rule rather than the exception. If a character wishes to duplicate a program that is copy-protected, he needs to break the protection. This requires an Extended Soft ware + Logic Test with a threshold between 10 and 20 (gamemasterís discretion) and an interval of 1 hour.

I would make it that if your caught with pirated software you get fined with a possiblity of jail time. At least.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Dragonscript)
I would make it that if your caught with pirated software you get fined with a possiblity of jail time.  At least.

Nice - so if you don't like someone... 'upgrade' their Commlink. grinbig.gif

..oh, you mean as a detriment for runners to pirate every bit of software they can get their hands on?
Well, in most cases, this won't even be the straw that break the camels back, as runners usually are way more illegal in action and possession otherwise. wink.gif
Very true.

Of course you can make it so every security checkpoint also has software verification tools in place that checks the runner's commlink. That doesn't sound too way out there since it seems like we are heading that direction anyway.
Rotbart van Dainig
Hardly... that doesn't pay off, especially since there are way more code companies.
Which means you would need to have the one legal active commlink and the illegal hidden one.
Let's face it - when most hackers get caught, possession of pirated software is going to be the least of their worries.

In some respects, it's like the maglock passkey scenario. Once an inventive runner either designs or acquires plans for the gizmo, they could make an obscene amount of money developing and selling these things to interested third parties.

You could apply "glitches" or viruses installed in illegally cracked software - the same risk you take from downloading programs from file-sharing programs today.

But otherwise, I don't see any real way of limiting the ways a player could exploit the system as it stands.


Edit: And runners could just keep the serious programs under wraps until they need to break them out for a job - much like the serious firepower the samurai keeps under her pillow.
Really, it's a matter of scale. If they crack their software for personal use, and it stays that way, more than likely no one will notice.

If they're cracking software and sharing it (even small scale) then it's WAY more likely that someone will be bought off, or someone that cares will notice.

If they think they can make money by selling cracked software, then someone is gonna notice real fast.

I'd assume that trying to sell cracked software in Shadowrun is a lot like trying to sell it in real life: It won't make you any money unless you're moving thousands of units, and if you do that you'll get crap from law enforcement.

I'd also assume that, just like in real life, cracked legal software is easily found on the matrix, but very high end illegal software isn't shared much because the exploits would get fixed if it were too widely available.

Assuming they have access to shadowland or similar, I'd probably let my characters get any legal software at any rating for free off the matrix with no disadvantage, and low rating illegal software the same, but have illegal software degrade with time as the security holes are fixed.

The only things that would take a little more thought are Pilot, Autosofts, and Skillsofts. I'm not sure how it would be possible for twenty years to go by without a good Pistols skillsoft being released on Shadowland. Skillwires must have DRM...
Lord Ben
Well, this thread has given me a flash of inspiration.

I think my first run I do on Friday is going to be based around taking down a software hacker who's been cutting into corp profits. Since some of the players are new to SR and are used to playing Paladins maybe the hacker is 15 and lives with his Grandma and younger sister. I'd be interested to see if they'll embrace their character and shoot him in the face while the sister and grandma cry or will they try to let him go? I'll make sure and give him a scary street name so when they bust down the door they're expecting big trouble.
QUOTE (Lord Ben @ Oct 5 2005, 04:44 PM)
if they'll embrace their character and shoot him in the face while the sister and grandma cry

If? This is Shadowrun, he's as good as dead. grinbig.gif

EDIT: So are the sister and Grannie.
Lord Ben
Yes, but it's two of the three's first time playing. It'll be interesting.

If they let him live they'll be targetted by the Johnson for helping him escape. But they'll have a skilled NPC software hacker/coder on their side.

Perhaps they just blow up the appartement? That way he is dead - and noone needs to know his age wink.gif (There is more than one way to spoil a gamemasters plans *veg*)
Blow up the apartment and leave bodies of similar age/race/gender in the apartment.

What are the odds the Johnson has exact DNA matches, fingerprints or applicable means of identifying the bodies left in the rubble?

This all depends on how the Johnson wants proof of contract completed.

Of course, they could just pop the target on the way to the comic shop.

And yes, it'll be interesting to see how the paladins respond. :mrgreen:

Back to the subject though...

In the prices of said programs, autosofts, pilots, skillsofts, the community of shadowrunners are very much like todays Hackers, why pay for it if you can get it. In Shadowrunner circles it would be more common of checking to see who doesn't have anything but rating 6's across the board. Suspecting SOTA to rear its head again to add upkeep to things since there would be no reason to buy programs in its absence.
It depends on how much you trust the source of your cracked code.

Otherwise you risk viruses, boobytraps and similar coding traps.

So you just make the rule that any program the group hacker didn't crack himself runs the chance of having "problems". Say it with a smile, it will freak the runners out and make them a little paranoid.

In my group they haven't discovered this aspect of the game yet, but once they do i'll see how far they want to go with it before i decide how i want to handle it. If it is a simple copy between friends then they'll get a fine if caught. If it gets much more serious than that, a certain corp will take some interest in them.

Another question: You can't run a program that is rated higher than the system it runs on. The highest rated OS you can get in the book is SYS 4. So to be able to use a lvl 6 program the hacker has to either create the OS himself, or get one off the Matrix. And if he is getting it off the Matrix he isn't getting it for free....
Or crack an existing OS and upgrade it.
QUOTE (Dragonscript)
So you just make the rule that any program the group hacker didn't crack himself runs the chance of having "problems".

It could even have problems when it's self-cracked. That roll should be done hidden by the GM, if the player botches it could mess the program so that it won't work when most needed or he could activate some hidden anti-piracy-measure that sends info to the developer, tries to fry his comlink or worse... Of course the hacker wouldn't know until it's too late wink.gif
For the teenage hacker thing you might consider instead of offing the poor fragger the Johnson pays for his extraction. The corporate world real or fictional is always looking for ways to turn a liability into an asset. If a corp is losing ground to a talented kid what better way to recoup their losses than put him on the payroll. And with Sis and Granny living in corporate "housing" as "guests" he has a lot of incentive to stay loyal. A bullet to the head often tends to cause as many, if not more, problems than it solves. So instead of a sweep and clear mission, maybe try running it as a kidnapping, with another runner team sent in for the same mission with, or to kill the kid, and the runners have to keep him alive to get paid. And there's always the ethical dilemma of killing him and his family as opposed to selling them into corporate slavery.
Or a twist on that... they are the sweep and clear team working against some other team looking to "relocate" the kid to a corp facility. Probably more of a challenge for the Paladin type since they are being paid to be the bad guy. Or "worse guy" in this case. wink.gif
Good idea, I tend to run towards making my players at least somewhat heroic, being the "bad" guy or "worse" guy can get old after a while. But that's still a good twist, I like it.
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