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When I last ran my old Dwarven Rigger/Tactician/Technician (by the name of Rusty) the year was 2061. SURGE was but a week away, and the matrix was still mostly running on hard wires with the occational satellite or radio link.

Now, my flatmate is keen to resurrect our old dynamic duo (Hunter and Rusty) under the SR4 rules. Now hunter was a 1M nuyen.gif initiative-bunny street sam who's idea of 'style' was measured in barrel-diamiter, depth of incision through armor & flesh, and occationally voltage throughput or projectile mass. Dispite the changes to the character generation system, this still seems doable.

The problem? Much of what Rusty did has changed or has not yet been covered in the 4th edition rules. He was also a 1M nuyen character, but rusty was a master tactician (Small Unit Tactics) with a Tactical Computer and a few tricked-out drones acting as his eyes and ears as he sat in a tricked-out van nearby. Sitting feeding orders and tactical analysis to Hunter no longer gives any listed benefits, and the v2.0 matrix seems to change a lot about what works and what doesn't.

With the new matrix, i'm thinking that it may be practical for Rusty to take a step out of the van and turn him into a more hands-on rigger, and possibly even a full hacker. He was always good with computers, and he was contemplating becoming a decker if he ever afforded/found a functionable deck. At the same time, rusty is very cautious, to the verge of paranoia, and tends to prefer the tried and tested over the new-fangled and flashy. If he did send a physical presence on a run (or to a meeting, even with people he trusted) then it would probably be one of his drones (not all of his drones were Steel Lynxes, some of them were socially workable) rather than his meatbod, unless hunter 'insists'.

Basically, I know I can't expect you to RP my character for me, but I'm just wondering which way would it be best to go with him under the SR4 rules?

Is it viable to go Rigger/Hacker or is that too much of a draw on funds? (Particularly a cautious one who'll have his defenses versus intrusion maxxed)

Although I'd guess that hacking and rigging is still all doable via remote link, are there any particular advantages to going in with the team to get the job done?

Is the logic attribute really that important for the cracking skills? It seems that they're linked to logic but mostly rolled as skill plus program.

If I buy a high-rating firewall, can I copy it onto all of my devices or just one? What about after programming my own firewall?

What level of security would people class as 'adequate' so that they're not going to be hacked into on the fly by a security hacker? Similarly, what level of hacking skills would be adequate to hack an average target? (Classing an average target as a run-of-the-mill car)

Are there any suggested mechanics for SUT under SR4?

Is it worth it to max (or even just have a high) edge? Rusty was never the one to take chances, but as the rigger/decker I can see it sometimes coming down to his actions to make or break the run. When the drek hits the intake and you're being swarmed by goons, a single superhuman hack is perhaps more useful important than a single shot between the eyes.

Comments? Suggestions? I'm working on a first draught now.
the new system lends to hacker/rigger pretty easily, since it mostly uses the same equipment, just w/ a VCR, and many of the skills are complimentary. As for why you should go in... because you can? Really if your partner has an AR display, you can just go in w/ full VR mode, and take your drones w/ you. But at least being there physically gives security something else to shoot at. wink.gif But there's more you can do physically that you couldn't do in the matrix of course. Like popping maglocks and that ol' good fun.

for security, rating 4 should be a good start, what with the skill cap and all. If you're primarily a hacker/rigger, you might as well burn the extra cash to upgrade though.

For SUT, there's nothing official on in yet. Check the thread on 'Leadership' for some ideas.

For the street sam, you may just have to make do until the expanded cyber rules comes out.
Well this is the character so far. I've not bought all of the equipment yet, so suggestions concerning how to fit it all into 250k are welcome. I went with a high attributes/low skills approach but I'm not sure that's the best way to do it.
Body         3
Agility      2
Reaction     4
Strength     3
Charisma     2
Intuition    5
Logic        6
Willpower    3
Edge         5

Resources:   250k

Mechanic Group         1
Electronics Group      1
Cracking Skill Group   4
Stealth Skill Group    1
Pilot Ground           1
Pilot Air              1
Pilot Anthroform       1
Pilot Watercraft       1
Perception             2
Gunnery                3

Contacts  C/L
Mechanic  2/2
Fixer     2/1
Blogger    1/1

Spending Resources (250K)
 Control Rig          0.5   10k
 Skillwires 3         0.6   6k
 Datajack             0.2   0.5k

 Cerebral Booster 2   0.4   20k

Skillsofts (all at 3, 9k each):
 Unarmed Combat

One thing I'm not really sure about is the Gunnery skill. It's apparently agility-linked, but what about when I'm jumped-in and piloting through VR?

The reason that I'm still not sure about going on runs physically is that if I choose my present drones correctly (like a good anthroform with humanoid hands) then the drone can do pretty much anything I could.
hacker/rigger should be very doable, IMO. both of the "hacker" skill groups at 4 is 80 BP. you only need 2, maybe 3 vehicle skills now (land and flying). if you really want, you could go for the mechanics skill group.

also, commlinks are much cheaper (for about 12k i think you can get the best). firewall can be copied, provided you either have the sourcecode of have cracked it (if you choose to take the hacking skill groups, you could, for example, write it into your background that you wrote it yourself, and presto, you have sourcecode. alternatively, you could just say you have a cracked copy. costs the same, iirc).

drones and programs don't seem to be too, too expensive. i think you could certainly do both as far as money is concerned. it will be somewhat BP intensive, but i think doable. heck, if you're gonna be a hacker, you may as well buy yourself a few drones anyways... it's cheap enough.

[edit] to reflect your new post that you probably made as i was typing this up, i figured i should add a few things. 1) i think you would be better off with more skills than attributes generally speaking. attributes are (generally) much cheaper to raise with karma as compared to skills. in particular, from a min/maxing POV, you probably want to boost any skill you have to be higher than 2, or not bother. it's cheaper that way, overall.

now then, for your resources: system and firewall 6 are 3,000 each. buy them. the best signal and response at chargen will cost you 4,000 for response 5 and 1,000 for signal 5, respectively. IMO, ignore signal... leave it at 0, which presumably costs less than 10 nuyen. a satellite link costs 500, and gets you signal 8. i'm not sure *what* they were thinking, but for those times when you need a good signal, you just turn that thing on and go nuts. that's about 10,500 so far. 92k total, when you add in what you already want.

the programs and drones you shouldn't have too hard of a time with, just figure out what you need most and get that. stealth and exploit are, IMO, some of the most important...

anyways, when controlling drones by being jumped in, use your own attributes. remote controlling allows you to replace with the command program rating, iirc. you do get bonuses for the control rig, though. and as far as i know, there is no anthroform drone in the BBB. you would have to wait for the gear book, or do some fancy houseruling to get one. [/edit]

[edit 2] oh, and the high attributes thing... edge would be the exception to that. high edge to start off seems to me to always be a good idea. keeps your character alive so that they are even able to gain the karma to boost everything else =P [/edit 2]
QUOTE (Lilt)
Sitting feeding orders and tactical analysis to Hunter no longer gives any listed benefits

I believe this would fall under the "AR Modifiers" sidebar on p.208. Unfortunately, the bonuses suggested by that sidebar are nebulous at best, and rely heavily on GM judgement calls. This is something that FanPro would do good to codify and elaborate on in an expansion.
Thanks for the responses Jaid and RunnerPaul. Looking at the karma costs it seems that you're right about attributes being cheap to raise... I had assumed karma costs would be even... *sighs*

What do you mean by raising any skill to 2 or not bothering? The problem is that this character has history, and that means he has particular skills. I know he has/needs all of those skills he has at 1, because he's used them before (pilot watercraft and anthroform, for example).

I think I see why they recommend giving converted characters 450bp, it's because with much less than that you can't do all the things you used to do. I had previously been thinking that this was unnessecary (and saying that 400bp would be fine) but the next time we discuss it I'll support the 450bp option.

Plus, we may be starting with either 30 karma and a bit of money or a further increased number of BPs (IE: 500) with increased caps on resources (ie, spending more than 50bp on it) and gear availability (maybe to 18) as they were originally built with higher availability caps (or it was possibly with no availability caps, such was the nature of that game).

@runnerpaul: Cool, that seems to be almost exactly what my character used to do. I'll be sure to point that section out to my GM.
from a min/maxers perspective:

at chargen (using BP)

skill at 1: 4 BP
Skill at 2: +4 BP
Skill at 3: +another 4 BP.
and so on

same thing with groups, except 10 points instead of 4.

after chargen (using karma)

skill at 1: 4 karma
skill at 2: +4 karma
skill at 3: + another 6 karma.
skill at 4: + another 8 karma.

and so on.

thus, in a BP to Karma ratio, your BP are better spent getting specific skills higher than 2, rather than spreading it out.

of course, if your character concept demands all those skills, then you take all those skills. i'm just pointing out that, if you can afford it, it's better to take your skills higher.

anyways, don't totally ditch your attributes or anything... i'm just saying there's no frantic rush to boost them. and in fact, the closer you get to the maximum, the closer the BP to karma ratio becomes (especially in something you have a higher racial max in).

thus, for trolls, if you want body or strength 9 (unmodified) you better get it now, 'cause it'll be a touch expensive for you later...
One thing I'm not really sure about is the Gunnery skill. It's apparently agility-linked, but what about when I'm jumped-in and piloting through VR?

Gunnery through VR would be Command program + Gunnery, See controlling devices pg 220.
QUOTE (Gondor)
One thing I'm not really sure about is the Gunnery skill. It's apparently agility-linked, but what about when I'm jumped-in and piloting through VR?

Gunnery through VR would be Command program + Gunnery, See controlling devices pg 220.

That is true if he is in VR but NOT jumped in. In the vehicle he is jumped into he uses his Gunnery + Agility ( page 239, top-left wobble.gif IMO it really should be Logic like it would be if he was Astral). He can't Command fire other drones while jumped in (page 239, middle right column). The only option is to tell the other drone's Pilot to fire, which it would do using it's own abilities (Pilot + Targeting autosoft, page 162).
Your right. I like the logic idea. I cannot figure out how to justify physical agility applying to something when your body is limp.
Hmm. Thanks for the evaluation. We've still not quite decided what build system we're going to be using though, so presently my build is presently in flux. I just realised that I forgot to pay for being a dwarf too, so there go another 25BP.

One suggestion is to have hunter and rusty in the group as advanced characters (whatever we decide to make that, be it 450+exras or even 500bp) and other characters (when we mentioned it between games at our local gaming soc yesterday 3-4 people expressed interest) using the normal starting rules. Hopefully it'll be fairly playable, especially if we have varied character archetypes in the group.
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