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Lilt
OK: I'd like to make a character who is a big brother decker/drone rigger. I'm pretty 1337 with the magic rules, and I've done a bit of vehicle design/modification, but I was just wondering how plausable this is.

Is it possible to control drones captain's chair style from the virtual? What about piping a matrix feed through a drone on-location? IE: drone gets in, plugs a jack into a port, and I deck-in through a high-speed link of some sort (ideally, avoiding some of the security). Incorperating battletac would be useful too.

Is it doable as a starting character?

[edit] Oh yes, my main reason for asking this is that I don't have any Matrix books and i'm wondering if it'd let me do what I was considering before I bought it[/edit]
Connor
I don't know of anything that would keep you from doing that, except for resources as a starting character. Decking and Rigging are the two most nuyen intensive professions and when you combine them...it gets costly smile.gif
Lilt
What programs exactly would I expect to need? I'd want to start-off with all the big-ticket items I could (deck, VCR, maybe a coupple of drones) and make the rest of my gear (programs ETC) somewhat standard. Then I could replace the other bits piece by piece as I do runs.
Connor
Well, the only Rigger/Decker character I've played started off as just a Rigger, and then branched out later on and not really in a planned way either.

You might want to read/skim through the Matrix Newbie thread which should be listed below here a ways, it'll definately tell you more about what to expect/need for the decking side than anything else.

For the Rigger aspect, just pick up a few drones that fit whatever style of runs you're going to be going on. Having a couple of attack drones doesn't make sense if you're doing overwatch/infiltration type stuff and vise versa.
Sphynx
My personal preference is done like our PC: Tank. You buy enough 'parts' to build an MPCP-8 Deck, a cyberleg to hold everything, and no starting vehicles. It kinda counts on getting a few more than 50 karma under your belt, or you'll never get to finish the deck, buy/build vehicles, etc. I also buy programs ahead of time and just store them until I have a deck to put them in.

Sphynx
Siege
Depends on the relative power level of the critter:

vehicles are relatively cheap -- the rigger version of the volkswagon bug, for example.

The decker's gear is a half-assed radio shack deck and some programs.

Granted, he won't be running with the SEALs but it's a valid critter.

-Siege
Kurukami
I think it's eminently doable. Naturally, your first priority has to be in resources, or you have to put 30 points in that direction from the Build Points System... but yeah, I think it's quite doable.

One of the threads you might wish to consider checking out would be the "Infiltration Challenge" that Talia Invierno posted a good while back. There was an interesting technique mentioned in there. They had an ultralight or a mini-blimp drop a pair of arachnoid walker-drones, along with a laser or microwave array to allow high-speed connectivity. (I believe there was a covert ops physad dropped in as well.) They linked the walkers to a central relay via fiberoptic cable, and sent the drones into the ventilation systems to provide mobile surveillance while the laser link was patched into the building's datasystem.

The actual thread is here.
Kagetenshi
GM Mr. Fix-It

Hand 4/4, Speed 10, Accel. 2, Bod. 1, Armor -, Sig 9, Auto 0, Pilot 3, Sensor 1, Cargo 3, Load 170, Fuel E (40 PF), Econ .5 KM/PF
¥27,000
Modifications:
Laser Link (¥3,000)
Electronics Port for Laser Link (¥1,000) (1 CF)
Datajack Port (¥2,500)
Fiberoptic Cable (1 Meter) (¥1)
Revised Drone:
Hand 4/4, Speed 10, Accel. 2, Bod. 1, Armor -, Sig 9, Auto 0, Pilot 3, Sensor 1, Cargo 2, Load 169, Fuel E (40 PF), Econ .5 KM/PF
¥33,501
Gotta love that ¥1.

Fuchi Lightstring Laser Retransmission Drone
Chassis: Small rotorcraft (110 DPV)
Power Plant: Fuel Cell (60 DPV)
Increased Cargo Space (+1 CF) (5 DPV)
Electronics Port w/Laser Link (-1 CF), (10 DPV)
Laser Link (+¥3,000)
Hand. 4, Speed 60, Accel. 5, Body 1, Armor 0, Sig. 8, Pilot 1, Sensor 1, Cargo 0, Load 9, Fuel E (50 PF), Econ .2 KM/PF
Other Features: Remote-Control Interface, Rigger Adaptation, Electronics Port (1 CF, Laser Link)
Cost: ¥7,625

All you need to pipe an onsite connection offsite. Well, you need a lot of the Lightstrings. Then stick a larger drone with a fixed satellite dish on the end of the relay and you can deck from home.

~J
dEdDaWg
This poses a question for me: Is it possible to deck and rig at the same time? Maybe using two datajacks?
Kagetenshi
Perfectly possible, just remember to add the ungodly TN modifiers to everything.

~J
Lilt
Hmm. Interesting, but the stuff I'm most interested in is stuff that lets you mix the two. I recall seeing something about a program that operated as a tactical computer, or one that would act as a remote control deck if you had a connection to a transmitter, did I just dream this stuff or is there something out there that can do it.

Rethinking it a bit; I want be primarilly a decker who can supply drone support (and can use drones to aid in combat or as info feeds).
Kagetenshi
You can do that. Rigger Protocol Emulation Modules are your friend. No jumping in, but you've got plenty of captain's-chair goodness.

~J
Lilt
Well: I'd be going for 1M nuyen. I know that my character would have a deck, a van, an RCD, a battletac computer (Probably the one on P54 of CC, I doubt I could afford the 400k cyber one), and probably VCR.

The problem is that I don't know exactly how I can mix the decking, rigging, and tactical comms. How I envision it is that link the RCD and Battletac system (presumably possible using the ). The twist I want to apply is that I'm sitting in cyberspace at the time, and can delve into the matrix when needed. I'm thinking I'd log-on either through local net access (tap a local line), a satellite link (depends on cost/concealability), or through a net port/dataline tap in the building (deployed by a drone and linked to me by a link of some sort). The problem with the last one is: What sort of link do I need to deck through it? Are there rules in the Matrix book for that?

I'll admit that the idea of a virtual command space was 'inspired' by Jane-In-A-Box. If it's not a plausable idea as it requires some 1 Million nuyen.gif software/hardware bundle then I'll not bother. I could just as easily say "I leave captain's chair and connect to my deck"

[edit] I edited it, sorry[/edit]
Kagetenshi
It'll be expensive, but you can fit a fixed satellite dish into a van.

~J
Lilt
Ack. Just read page 55 of CC. You can't deck through a satellite link.
Kurukami
Actually, I'm pretty sure you can-- there's something in the Matrix sourcebook which indicates that, anyways. Unfortunately, I don't have my sourcebooks with me right now or I'd provide you with a page reference.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Lilt)
Ack. Just read page 55 of CC. You can't deck through a satellite link.

No, you can't, which is why you don't use the specific piece of gear called a Satellite Link. You use different gear, outlined in Matrix.
It's the gear itself, not links to satellites, that don't work.

~J
Lilt
Ah Ok. Can you see any way I could get a drone to smuggle a dataline tap into the target building for me to access? (without using a really long fibreoptic cable...)
Kagetenshi
The two drones I posted above. GM Mr. Fix-It chosen for presumed ubiquity (it was detailed unmodified in SSG), otherwise I could try to rig up something new if you wanted.

~J
Cain
QUOTE (Lilt)
Ah Ok. Can you see any way I could get a drone to smuggle a dataline tap into the target building for me to access? (without using a really long fibreoptic cable...)

If you've got a good Electronics B/R skill, and a good Mechanical Arm skill, you can try having a drone with arms do it. However, you're better off using a drone directly as your tap-- the arachnoids are really good for this sort of thing.

Another trick is to use the minidrones as communication devices. Since they're all rigger-adapted, you can easily plug a datajack into them. Thebest part is that your communications can no longer be intercepted with normal gear; you can't watch TV with radio decryption gear, and you can't decrypt simsense channels no matter how good your radio intercept gear is.

My favorite trick, that I never got to do, was when I built my drone rigger (also named Tank) in partnership with a guy making a skillwire samurai named Dozer. I'd be back in the van with a huge pile of skillsofts. He'd have a drone plugged into a datajack. Since drones have 3 full-band simsense channels, you can send a lot of data awfully fast if you have to.

My friend was wating for the chance to use this line in a game: "Tank, I need the pilot program for a B-212 Huey." biggrin.gif
TinkerGnome
The big question is time. Deckers are so time intensive that it isn't even funny. The key will probably be in limiting the way you spend your cash. The last time I did this (badly, I might add), about 40% of my starting cash (1,000,000) went toward cyber, about 30% toward drones/rigging and about 25% toward decking (the rest went to various other money sinks).

What you quickly find out is that if you try to "kit" a good deck, you're going to end up spending months and months doing the programming for the hardware stuff. Taking a few pieces of cyber (micro-vision) and some programming stuff (stack up the programming mods with a high memory desktop computer and a descent programming suite with the self coding adder). If the game has a lot of downtime (1 run a month, tops) then you should do fine. Otherwise, you're going to need to start compromising somewhere.
Lilt
@TKG: What exactly do you mean by time intensive? I was contemplating doing a bit of programming, but not an excessive amount unless it was absolutely necessary.

@Cain: I was considering building my own Drone-Jack. Essentially it'd be a walking network interface port. I hoped to do it on a micro-walker chassis, but I can't fit a big enough transmitter on the thing, especially if I want to ECCM the signal (I don't want dump-shock after someone jams me). It has 0.4CF. That's enough for a rating 3 (flux 1) personal comms unit which has flux 0 in the urban environment (I want to be more than 250M away). I can get the CF up-to 0.8 if I stick an external cargo pod (a big ass) on the thing. That's enough for a flux 2 comm unit. If I add another drone with a rating 2 power amp and have the two drones 'interface' then I think I could reach base (flux 4, -1 for the environment, -2 for ECCM = flux 1 or 1km). Any ideas/Comments? (directed at more than just cain)

@Kagetenshi: I probably will get some form of MR fix it style drone. Maybe even try to design my own with a better (rating 4) pilot for better B/R skills and a medium anthroform base.
Lilt
Oh yes; and how exactly do I let my drone crawl around/up surfaces like a spider? Is it built into the micro walker chassis or do I need to buy something special?
Digital Heroin
QUOTE (Cain @ Nov 22 2003, 02:50 AM)
My friend was wating for the chance to use this line in a game: "Tank, I need the pilot program for a  B-212 Huey."  biggrin.gif

That is priceless...
Lilt
Bah. So many questions:
What do people think are the chances of decking over the RC network, using the simsense channel, without a separate tactical comms suite? Does the matrix book have a specific set of requirements for what you need to send matrix information over?
Connor
Yes, the Matrix book does sort of. It has requirements for the amount of bandwidth and speed of the connection and how it relates to tasks in the Matrix. Slower speeds impose penaties and faster speeds don't. The wireless links they list and give stats for are High-Speed Cellular Link, Laser Link, Microwave Link, Radio Link, and Satellite Uplink. All of them have their pros and cons as to when to use them and such.
Lilt
Ah. thanks. I'm considering putting this project on hold until I get my grubby little mits on a copy of the matrix book, and I'm holding-off buying it for a coupple of weeks as I have a lot of work to do at uni. Pray-tell: What are the penalties for using a cellular link?
Kagetenshi
Max I/O speed of 100 MPPS, IIRC. My books are about a thousand miles away right now.

~J
Connor
Yes, max I/O is 100, also base bandwidth is 5 (opposed to 50 with sat link) and there's a +3 Access modifier and -3 Trace modifier.
Lilt
Well: As I don't have the book; I have no idea what those terms mean biggrin.gif

I'll be fine. I'll just resurrect this thread in 2 weeks time once I have the Matrix book.
Lilt
BAH! My local store dosen't have it anyway. Anyone know who'd have it in the UK? amazon.co.uk have one copy- for >75! Compare that to $30 from amazon.com including shipping. Anyone know who in the UK might stock it?
Raiko
Leisure Games appear to have it in stock for 12.99.
Lilt
Yeah. I found it there and phoned up to check before ordering both it and T:M. That'll finally be all of the core rules expansions in my posession... Perhaps I should start using the SR geek code I've seen people around using.
Lilt
OK: Before those books arrive: What skill selection do you think I should go for?
Right now I'm looking at:
Small Unit Tactics 6
Computer 6
Computer B/R 6
Electronics B/R 4
Car 4
Walker 4
Mechanical Arm Operations 4
Ettiquette(Matrix) 3(5)

From 38Pts (Build points system, I could give him some flaws to get a few more)

I'm missing vehicle B/R skills which could (sort-of) be done by MR Fix its. I'm also missing Gunnery, Launch Weapons, and any other form of offensive skill. I think I may be best getting a rating 3 skillwires system and ratink 3 CED for skills like Walker B/R and Car B/R. That makes the character instantly cost 50K more, and gives him very little extra ability during a run as you can't use skillwires while decking or drone-rigging.

[edit]Admitantly I probably should drop my attributes a bit, It's kinda hard to justify 643476 when your character dosen't get out much. Is Willpower important for rigger/Deckers much?[/edit]
Kurukami
Personally, I've grown greatly dubious of the benefits of Small Unit Tactics. You have to roll far too many successes for far too little benefit, in my opinion. Two successes on a fairly high TN to get +1 initiative or +1 to combat/hacking pool? Sorry, but I can think of more useful things to spend 6 skill points on -- like Gunnery: 6.

In my opinion, you can probably get away with a lower Computer (B/R). If you've got a cerebral booster, an encephalon, or enhanced articulation, you're already getting a bonus to the skill either directly or through a task pool. Additionally, most (B/R) skills (with the possible exception of Electronics (B/R), which can come in handy in cracking maglocks and security systems during a run) are skills you'll have plenty of downtime to work with. Generally, I don't think you need to have that one at 6.
Lilt
I'm fairly firmly decided on the Small Unit Tactics thing... It's a feature of the character pretty-much. In-fact I'm even considering making my guy more of a tactician and taking Aptitude(Small Unit Tactics) If my GM lets me. On A TN of 3-4, rolling possibly 13 dice (6 Skill + 4 Tactical Computer + 2 Encaphelon + 1 Cerebral Booster), I'm looking at 3-4 extra combat pool for each of my teammates.

The character has gone through some fairly big changes since I initially envisioned him. He is now primarily a decker who owns maybe three or four drones (A Mr Fix It, A micro-walker JackDrone, a Steel Lynx, and a mini-blimp). He primarily runs Overwatch and gives tactical advice to the team, possibly doing datasteals from systems not connected to the matrix or behind nasty bottlenecks.
Lilt
Heh. Just trying to make this character up in NSRCG... Looks like I'm going to be dropping a fair bit of the rigger stuff... IE: almost all of it. I'll Keep an RC deck (and the jackdrone/mr fix it) but no VCR and, to start-off with, no protocol emulation module. I'm going to wait and see if I want the battletac master unit from CC or the battletac program from the Matrix book.

Also: I'm sure I saw it somewhere but I can't find it right now: there wee some rules for hooking drone sensors up-to a battletac system, something like they could count as the sensor rating in senses. Can anyone find a page ref for this?
Kagetenshi
If you've got a team of three runners, SUT is nigh-useless.
If, on the other hand, you've got six to eight runners, it's one of the most beautiful skills you can have.

~J

edit: The reference you want is about the BattleTac computer in Man and Machine, exact page unknown. I'll look it up in the morning if you want.
Fortune
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
If you've got a team of three runners, SUT is nigh-useless.

Why? SUT works fine for any number of people in a 'group'. This includes groups of one.
Siege
I dunno -- a point or two allows me to justify buying tac gear, wearing appropriately colored clothing and behaving like an almost professional instead of the goofy go-ganger with a big gun. grinbig.gif

-Siege
Kagetenshi
A good point. SUT can be fun for any group, but it only truly shines once you get large groups together. That +2 or +3 to initiative or combat pool is a lot nicer when it's a total of +16 to +24, spread across the group.

~J
Ol' Scratch
What are you talking about, Kagetenshi? To use my best Inigo Montoya voice, "I don't think the Small Unit Tactic skill does what you think it does."
Kagetenshi
You make one SUT roll. Then, everyone you are in communication with that you're using the skill on gets half of your successes against their unique TN. Assuming 8 people and 2 successes on each (a bit optimistic, but not massively so if properly prepared), that results in a net +8 across the group. Each person only gets +1, but it's still more significant than three people getting +1s. Get properly outfitted, and that could be 4 successes without too much trouble.

~J
Ol' Scratch
Uhm, the successes don't get spread out amongst the group. Everyone gets their own successes based upon their own TN, as determined by the "leaders" orders (Small Unit Tactics roll). So whether you have one person or one hundred people, they're all benefiting from it in exactly the same manner.

But if I'm reading you right (and I'm not sure that I am), according to your logic no skill, ability, or bonus is worthwhile unless you have a large group. Afterall, six dice for Stealth with one person is nothing compared to sixty dice of Stealth with ten people, eh? Because, like, 60 is bigger than 6 and stuff.
Kagetenshi
Er... no. Because if you roll a 100 for Stealth and the guy next to you rule-of-1s, it doesn't matter what you rolled; your roll affects you and you alone. My point with SUT is because the results of it positively affect all of your teammates, the more teammates you have the greater the sum total of the effect, and thus the better it is.
And I said that everyone gets their own number of successes based on their individual TN. However, it's not unreasonable to assume that most of those TNs are going to be similar. Varying TNs doesn't change anything, it just makes giving examples harder.

~J
Fortune
But you stated that with fewer people the SUT skill is 'nigh-useless'. This is clearly not the case at all.
Ol' Scratch
Okay, bad example. How about this one?

Are you saying that Stunball (or any other area-effect spell for that matter) is pretty useless if only used against, say, three guards. It should only be bothered to be learned and used if you expect to regularly encounter a cluster of 1,000 guards all packed in really close? Because 18D damage is worthless compared to 6,000D damage? So don't bother ever getting area-effect spells for that reason?

How about using plastic explosives? So what if 1 kilo is enough to get you past that obstacle there? If you're not bothering to throw down 10,000 metric tons of it, it's not worth doing?

Or how about armor? Sure, that Armor 6 spell might seem nice on the surface, it pales in comparison to Armor 500... so don't bother with Armor 6 because Armor 500 helps out better in case of a tactical nuclear strike?

I just don't get this logic. Yes, large groups get a large benefit from Small Unit Tactics if you add them all together (for whatever bizarre reason you want to do that). But so what? You're a Shadowrun team. Unless you're going up against an army, the benefit you get from Small Unit Tactics is still just as groovy for you and your team when you're encountering a couple of guards as it is when you're in an army about to invade another country. You and your group are still getting +X Combat Pool dice or +X to your Initiative either way.
Kagetenshi
I corrected myself about its nigh-uselessness. It's effective at all levels, what I meant to say is that it's more effective with more people than with less. Your examples all have downsides to the increased quantities; with SUT, the more the merrier, up until the maximum amount of people who can reasonably be on a given run effectively.
I'm stating that more is better for SUT, not for everything.

~J
Lilt
Bear in mind that a character can only effectively command a number of small units equal to his/her skill. thus starting characters can only give bonuses to 8 or so people simultaniously. SUT is also immensely valuable when dealing with IVIS systems.
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