Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Toning down hacker...
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
The Jopp
Toning down hackers and upping technomancers

We’ve been trying to un-nerf technomancers so that they become descent starting characters instead of having to gain hundreds of karma to get into the same league of a normal hacker. We tried different solutions until we realized that it was easier to tone down the hacker.

As a 2nd and 3rd edition player I’ve had some problems adjusting to the speed of the timeline. Between 2063 and 2070 we’ve had some interesting leaps in technology.

The SOTA grade cyberdeck Fairlight Excalibur dropped in price from 2+ mil into a commlink no larger than a cellphone for 20K+.

Now, I’m all for a drop in computer prices as time moves on but the thing is that the tech itself hasn’t moved on that much. The computing power is still optical, memory is still abundant and trideo is still the same. The only clear difference is wireless matrix and the AR. Now, slapping on an add-on to a cybedeck that allows wireless access and AR glasses would do it at the beginning and miniaturization is all well and fine – but the pricedrop?

The hackers wet dream drops from 2mil+ to 20K – that’s a drop at 100 times the original price – not counting programs that could cost millions.

The second part that also is a bit annoying (and not just for min-maxers) is that a hacker can start with all hardware and software at rating 5 at the get-go. The hacker no longer have to look to the stars and wish for that SOTA grade commlink that almost only exists within corporate laboratories because he can basically get all of it within a few runs by upgrading his programs and hardware for a paltry sum.

A hacker no longer have long-time “hacker? goal so to speak as it was in earlier editions, heck- the commlinks in SR4 don’t even have an availability (which is odd)

In the opposite end we have the technomancer that CAN be something impressive but is so nerfed from the beginning that they MUST (almost) use sprites as crutches to even function as low rating hacker instead of BEING a good hacker and using the sprites as assistants (instead of caretakers).

Also, in order to separate the wired 4 sam from the hacker is to make things scarser and slightly upping the technomancer.

Also, a PROFFESSIONAL rating is usually 3 which means that average joe would be around rating 2 on their comms and regular corps 3. Security firms around 4 and military and corps at 5. Then we have the SOTA tech commlinks at 6.

Solution: Not too extreme.

Hardware upgrades (commlink only)
Response: 1-3: X5 cost
Response: 4-6: X10 cost

Upgrades must be bought in levels 4-5 and then 5-6 for example representing the cost of upgrading different components needed. All upgrades availability is +4 and cannot be used at chargen.

Software Change
Common Software: As per SR4
Hacking Software: Availability Rating X3 (max rating 4 at chargen then…)

Commlink table in SR4
Commlinks availability equals Response X3
New cost is based upon the Response of the commlink
Response rating 1-3: Prices X5
Response rating 4-6: Prices X10

Technomancers
Common programs equal to charisma or resonance (whichever is lower)
(reason for this was because charisma isn’t used that much for them.)
They gain Logic+Intuition X3 free complex form points either for upgrades or hacking complex forms.
Logic cap is removed.

Yes, some of you will probably draw up some extreme examples in how abusive this can be, but let us make a comparison on the points difference:

Technomancer:
Attributes, resonance, complex forms at rating 3: cost 219BP
181BP for the following:
Contacts, other qualities, skills, resources

Hacker:
Attributes, Commlink, software rating 3: 177BP
Cost of commlink and software around 30-40K around 7-8BP
Around 220BP for the following
Contacts, qualities, skills and more resources

A caliban commlink at chargen would cost 80K upgraded to response 5 would be +40K and the final Response 6 would be 80K topping 200K for a top of the line commlink – which is 1/10 of the fairlight Excalibur.

Yes, it’s expensive but being able to get such hardware SHOULD be expensive. At the same time it levels the playing field between hackers and technomancers who now BOTH have something to reach for instead of the hacker always branching out into a new field. It also makes sure that the hacker-sam is slightly removed as the hacker will be a dedicated hacker and the technomancer will be equal/superior with different fields of expertise as most OTHER runners would at most get a rating 3 commlink with defenses.

EDIT: Forgot Commlink Availability. talker.gif
Cthulhudreams
You're falling into a trap you outline in the first paragraph.

You need to look at a sort of same game test. Is a Street Sammie == Hacker == Magician == Technomancer?

And if they arn't, you need to fix that - now, clearly you think Hacker >> Technomancer, but do you think Hacker >> Street Sammie?

If not, nerfing hackers hardcore (what you are doing) is not going to have the desired effect, it's just going to make matrix guys gimp in your game.

What I might suggest is buffing technomancers instead.
The Jopp
Making technomancers better was one way but I did find that far harder and still keeping it balanced as characters would very, very soon reach rating 5+ programs and commlinks within one or two runs.

I don’t think Hacker=Streetsam or Technomancer=mage but the second part holds some truth as they start with the same kind of costs (Resonance/Magic) but the problem arises when you limit their complex forms to logic and make them pay 5K per point of complex form rating.

I also find it rather wrong that there is such easy and affordable gear with no availability from start for hackers. A hacker can start with all rating 4 programs and response 4 commlink at a cost of less than 60K and a commlink for 80K with these rules. Instead of a paltry less than 70K for the same gear…

Now, that’s 140K or 28BP compared to the much more expensive technomancer (who very seldom can start with more thana handful rating 4 programs).

Hackers and Technomancers are both “hackers? and should be able to start on an equal footing but technomancers should cost somewhat more due to their abilitiers – this is what is being done with these rules

It also keeps “hi-grade? commlinks and programs into the hands of dedicated hackers as it would be dirt cheap for cybered people or adepts to just buy the best common program defenses and a maxed out commlinks for less than 5 build points.

This would make a streetsam for example to take a rating 3 commlink at best as they would likely rather buy ware for the resources.

One has to remember that rating 4 isnt “nerfing? a hacker as that is GOOD gear, it just isn’t top of the line – and no-one SHOULD begin the game with such high gear (rating 5-6 that is), it’s like dealing out Delta grade like candy to cybered individuals.

It also keeps hackers from using X amount of agents until later in the game when they can justify having X amount of agents and multiple commlinks.

A rating 5 commlink can run 9 rating 4 programs with -1 to their response, that’s DAMN good as you can keep your entire program arsenal needed for hacking.
ixombie
You are 100% wrong about needing to nerf hackers. Technomancer vs. Hacker is the same as Mage vs. Samurai - Mages and Technomancers start out low, advance fairly slowly, but in the long run are much much more powerful. Hackers and Samurai start out really good, but also close to as good as they'll ever get. This is an intentional result of the SR4 system. It is not a system flaw. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The vast majority of houserules are based on misconceptions of the system and what it is supposed to accomplish.

They lowered the price of hacking so you wouldn't have as many weenie-boys with cyberdecks, programs, and nothing else who would waste the whole game session running the net. Now, Hackers can afford to do more than one thing and accompany the team on jobs. It would be unwise to bulldoze this change, it will not improve the quality of your game. If you want to make technomancers better to start... Make them better! Give your technomancers some extra BP so they can keep up more easily, or something. You're wasting your time trying to rewrite a perfectly good system by using arbitrary cost multipliers, the true costs of which you cannot predict.

Also, making cyberdecks more expensive is vivisecting theme and smacking around any notion of reality. Guess what hackers use IRL - 2 million dollar supermega computers of doom? Nope. They use regular PCs. The high cost of cyberdecks was a stupid idea based on 80's cyberpunk theme which fundamentally misunderstood what the future of computing would look like. It's only a step beyond the prediction of "computers will fill entire buildings and only huge corporations will be able to afford them." Normal personal computers can hack now, and normal people can afford them, and there is no logical reason why this would be different in the 2070s. It would be one thing if cyberdecks were still new technology, but they're not. Not only is your idea thus fixing a system which doesn't need it, it's introducing a strange and inexplicable schism into the theme.
Buster
I have to pipe in with an agreement that nerfing hackers is a really bad idea. If you want to un-nerf technomancers, then you should do that. The days of the basement bunker-geek are gone. These days hackers have to be more like tech-savvy special ops units. You have to get into the building and hack the system from there. You can't afford to pour all your resources into hacking abilities, you need to be able to fight and run too.

I suggest a new thread on how to un-nerf the technomancer.
The Jopp
QUOTE
You are 100% wrong about needing to nerf hackers.


Funny, I dont remember anything about "nerfing" hackers, merely toning down the access of hardware that is dirt cheap.

QUOTE
Hackers and Samurai start out really good, but also close to as good as they'll ever get.


And why should they? There are TONS of ware that is affordable for a streetsam but that availability stops him from getting. A hacker dont even have a starting availability to stop him except for Response and Signal with upgrades.

QUOTE
They lowered the price of hacking so you wouldn't have as many weenie-boys with cyberdecks, programs, and nothing else who would waste the whole game session running the net.


Interesting name - Weenie boys. The change that allows hackers to be on runs was never the PRICE of gear or availability, it was the introduction of Augmented Reality so that they didnt have to become a sack of meat when they hacked.

So you are saying that one creates an unplayable hacker by increasing the cost of his gear and limiting the startign grade to 4? AND the character still has around 100K if he uses 50BP for resources. You get a LOT for 100K for a dedicated hacker.

Let me guess, when you create a hacker you always buy up everythign to five so that you can get it upgraded to 6 ASAP?

QUOTE
The high cost of cyberdecks was a stupid idea based on 80's cyberpunk theme which fundamentally misunderstood what the future of computing would look like.


Regardless of that there is the problem that THE (and I really mean THE best computing power available in SR4 cost less than 30K) THAT is a problem as it doesnt even have an availability worth mentioning. Also, miniaturization would also INCREASE the price not dropping it with a few thousand percent.

Think about it, what would the cost be of THE best computer AVAILABLE for tabletop use, then we shrink that down to the size of a cellphone. It's gonna cost more than your average middle lifestyle, a LOT more.

QUOTE
It's introducing a strange and inexplicable schism into the theme.


In what way? The hacker can still have wired reflexes, skills through the roof and the hardware to do the job, it's just not as easily available and it costs a little more.
Buster
Lots of misconceptions in that last statement.

First, since a mundane hacker's entire ability spawns from his commlink, by increasing the costs of commlinks, yes you are nerfing hackers.

Second, the prices listed in the Shadowrun book are the best computing power available to shadowrunners, not necessarily to everyone.

Third, you might want to do some more research on Moore's Law in regards to processor power and spin-off Moore's Laws that correlate to total processing power of machines. In my opinion, the authors might actually have actually been a little conservative with their estimates of computing power and prices in 2070.

Fourth, the days of the basement bunker hacker are gone. You'd have to change the whole game world to make hackers bunker babies again. You can't increase the cost of commlinks to the point where they can't buy other gear to defend themselves.
The Jopp
QUOTE
First, since a mundane hacker's entire ability spawns from his commlink, by increasing the costs of commlinks, yes you are nerfing hackers.


Please, DO explain how they are “nerfed/near unplayable? for increasing the cost and availability for STARTING gear?

The point is to bring technomancers and regular hackers into a level playing field. Now, they could BOTH begin the game with rating 4 programs and gear with not much of a problem. A hacker cannot on the other hand just “get? their gear at rating 6 within a few runs.

QUOTE
Second, the prices listed in the Shadowrun book are the best computing power available to shadowrunners, not necessarily to everyone.


Which says the same about the Fairlight Excalibur at 2mil cost in SR3 – also not available to a STARTING character and was something NOT EASILY obtained.

QUOTE
Third, you might want to do some more research on Moore's Law in regards to processor power and spin-off Moore's Laws that correlate to total processing power of machines.


Which actually has nothing to do with this issue. SOTA gear (which would be what a rating 6 commlink is would be EXPENSIVE as it is the equivalent of the old “decker? gear – the best of the best. Sure, commlinks of 2070 isn’t the clunky cyberdecks but they don’t even have an availability.

QUOTE
Fourth, the days of the basement bunker hacker are gone. You'd have to change the whole game world to make hackers bunker babies again.


Ok, please…PLEASE tell me how they become bunker babies because I stop them from getting rating 5-6 commlinks within a few weeks running? And why I would make them invest more of their resources into their primary tools?

Yes, they would have to spend closer to 150K from start if they want everything at rating 4 and a caliban commlink. How the hell do you guys create your hackers if they become bunker babies because of that?
darthmord
Hey Jopp, when CPUs are made smaller, they can make more per wafer which in turns drives down the production cost on a per unit basis.

This allows for newer CPUs to be sold at a lower price and still make a healthy profit.

Now replace CPU with chip and you have the basis behind the semiconductor industry.

Smaller **IS** cheaper.

But I agree in spirit with the OP. Hackers are too powerful in comparison to TMs. Whether that means hackers need toning down or TMs needing Toning up, I'll leave to more knowledgeable parties.
The Jopp
QUOTE (darthmord)
Hey Jopp, when CPUs are made smaller, they can make more per wafer which in turns drives down the production cost on a per unit basis.


QUOTE
Hey Jopp, when CPUs are made smaller, they can make more per wafer which in turns drives down the production cost on a per unit basis.


I stand corrected. ^_^

Still, prices are silly concidering the timeframe. In 5-7 years they made advances that dropped the price on a hacking computer to 1/100th of the original price. And the fact that hackers basically hits the roof in their chosen field within very, very short time.

QUOTE
But I agree in spirit with the OP. Hackers are too powerful in comparison to TMs. Whether that means hackers need toning down or TMs needing Toning up, I'll leave to more knowledgeable parties.


And that was my point.

I COULD boost TM’s but then they would be DAMN good from the start and by toning down hackers a notch they start on a level field but will branch out differently.
raggedhalo
QUOTE (The Jopp)
In 5-7 years they made advances that dropped the price on a hacking computer to 1/100th of the original price.

Don't forget that this 5-7 year period also saw a massive change in the paradigm of the Matrix, making it much more human-scale. Cyberdecks in previous editions were noticeably modified; you had to add chipslots for Evasion and Masking, as well as getting a hot-sim interface.

Under SR4, you just tweak the software on your sim module to let it run hot. Perhaps that's where a lot of the saving appears?
Aristotle
I'm going to disagree that there is a need for this, but accept that some folks' games may need it. I like that the costs for computers are more reasonable.

I still think software costs exist primarily for game balance anyway, as most of the people I know who qualify as "hackers" are big on open source and/or custom built apps (quick and dirty, and not requiring months of coding time) which cost them nothing.

I'll likely never see the problem though as Technomancers, much like their Otaku predecessors, will likely be little more than urban legend in my own games.
Irian
QUOTE (raggedhalo @ Oct 8 2007, 08:17 AM)
Cyberdecks in previous editions were noticeably modified; you had to add chipslots for Evasion and Masking, as well as getting a hot-sim interface.

Under SR4, you just tweak the software on your sim module to let it run hot.

Nope, modifying a sim module to let it run hot is a logic + hardware (10, 1 hour) test, so it's not just "tweaking" the software, it's still tinkering around with the chips...
Nychuus
I have the perfect solution for you, Jopp: Technomancers don't exist. biggrin.gif
The Jopp
QUOTE (raggedhalo)

Don't forget that this 5-7 year period also saw a massive change in the paradigm of the Matrix, making it much more human-scale. Cyberdecks in previous editions were noticeably modified; you had to add chipslots for Evasion and Masking, as well as getting a hot-sim interface.

Under SR4, you just tweak the software on your sim module to let it run hot. Perhaps that's where a lot of the saving appears?

Yes, I agree with the sentiment that a lot of tech has changed but the there is still the fact that a rating 6 commlink is THE hottest hardware for a hacker on the market and it is easily available within one or two runs.

Its somewhat like making Wired reflexes 3 cost 3K and no availability because the tech has been around for such a long time and production of it is cheap due to advances in nanotechnology (sure, there is essence cost but that’s not what we are talking about here – it’s the easily obtained part).
The Jopp
QUOTE (Nychuus)
I have the perfect solution for you, Jopp: Technomancers don't exist. biggrin.gif

NOT acceptable. I want my matrix wizards i just dont want them to suck. biggrin.gif
The Jopp
QUOTE (raggedhalo)

Don't forget that this 5-7 year period also saw a massive change in the paradigm of the Matrix, making it much more human-scale. Cyberdecks in previous editions were noticeably modified; you had to add chipslots for Evasion and Masking, as well as getting a hot-sim interface.

Not QUITE. Remember that the the crash was in 2065 so lets assume that during the first year they created the wireless matrix and “POOF? in just about 4 years to 2070 the cost for computing power suddenly dropped to 1/100 of their usual cost and commlink technology soared and became so mass produced in only 4 years that EVERYONE had them.

Sorry, but that kind of speed and price drop is just to imaginative for me.
raggedhalo
Crash was 64, surely? And the Wireless Matrix Initiative had been around for a while before that, the Crash just gave it the kick up the backside it needed to roll out worldwide.

Perhaps the "cost" of the Fairlight Excalibur was like a 1,000% markup, which they realised was no longer sustainable in the post-Crash marketplace.
The Jopp
QUOTE (raggedhalo)
Crash was 64, surely? And the Wireless Matrix Initiative had been around for a while before that, the Crash just gave it the kick up the backside it needed to roll out worldwide.

Perhaps the "cost" of the Fairlight Excalibur was like a 1,000% markup, which they realised was no longer sustainable in the post-Crash marketplace.

Well, it was November 2064 so it was fairly close and they already had plans to start the wireless initiative for a wireless matrix.

Since the SOTA 2064 didn't have anything new when it came to hacking/decking technology I can only assume that the Fairlight Excalibur at the time cost 2mil. With the arrival of wireless and AR it shouldn't have been that hard to add an antenna and create a wireless connection and add in a pair of AR glasses (although experimental) or simply pipe the feed to possible cybereyes.

I have a hard time buying that a profit making corporation would drop their prices on top-of-the line tech just because something became wireless - it would rather cost MORE initially as they start producing add-ons for a start that makes their decks wireless and then when they produce their NEW IMPROVED WIRELESS COMMLINK the price would be at least the same.

It would be like saying that todays computers should drop their prices by 50-80% because wireless matrix is becoming available everywhere - and i just dont see that happening.

Fortune
QUOTE (The Jopp)
... and they already had plans to start the wireless initiative for a wireless matrix.

No, it was actually being implemented (albeit maybe on a trial basis) prior to the Crash in a number of locales.
The Jopp
QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (The Jopp @ Oct 9 2007, 12:15 AM)
... and they already had plans to start the wireless initiative for a wireless matrix.

No, it was actually being implemented (albeit maybe on a trial basis) prior to the Crash in a number of locales.

Ah, interesting. Was their also a beginning market for smaller tech in the form of wireless cyberdecks--> Commlinks?
Fortune
There wasn't really a lot of crunchy details about the WMI. More like a few little hints and teasers spread through various books.
Fortune
This thread (ignore the title) has a bit of discussion about the Wireless Matrix Initiative.
Irian
QUOTE (The Jopp)
Not QUITE. Remember that the the crash was in 2065 so lets assume that during the first year they created the wireless matrix and “POOF? in just about 4 years to 2070 the cost for computing power suddenly dropped to 1/100 of their usual cost and commlink technology soared and became so mass produced in only 4 years that EVERYONE had them.

Sorry, but that kind of speed and price drop is just to imaginative for me.

The "problem" is, that Shadowrun is far from perfect. For Shadowrun 4, someone read through "Transhuman Space" (a Setting for GURPS) and thought, that it was a great idea to use the whole WiFi/Comlink/AR thingy (ok, that's not really wrong). Unfortunatly, this had to be implemented in 4-5 InGame years.

So I think, that Shadowrun always "longed for" more suspension of Suspension of Disbelief than other backgrounds. Many details of the shadowrun world ARE arguable, because the developers tended to assume big "leaps" ("What? A dragon as president? Sure!").
swirler
nerfing leads to suffering
suffering leads to hate
hate leads to Combat Upgrades
Combat Upgrades lead to Account Deletions

oh sorry, swg flashbacks

yeah nerfing bad
unless a "class" is fundamentally broken, never ever yank their toys/leash whatever

teh main problem with SR has always been, its too near future to be believable
heck, how many "events" in the game history have we passed already

I did think it was odd the way 1st and 2nd weren't far apart but then 3rd was '60 then 4th jumped 10 years. It helped the tech jump somewhat, but well i dunno. Is there some kind of bridge book between whatever was the last 3rd edition book and 4th edition?
I mean think about this, according to most stories in SR a standard runner is what early 20's? 30's is middle aged. So 20 years, your character was born at the beginning of the game. My SR 1&2 characters are in their 40's (assuming they are alive)

sorry tangent
Redjack
QUOTE (Irian)
Suspension of Disbelief

When we have things like a president handed articles of impeachment by the House only to have his party acquit him in the Senate, terrorist take down two of the tallest buildings in the world with airplanes, the inability to capture Bin Ladin despite solving decade old crimes with DNA evidence, the total chaos in New Orleans (and continued after effects) following hurricane Katrina, the potential that Hillary Clinton may be the next US president, use of lasers to cure eye problems, the incredible number of surgical procedures which 30 years ago were major invasive surgery that are now out patient procedures, the fact that in 1903 the first plane flew and in 1947 we broke the sound barrier, the fact that in the 1980's ATT was broken up for anti-trust violations in relation to their monopoly yet Microsoft while being found guilty of anti-trust violations has yet to receive any penalty of legitimate effect, etc, etc, etc

Given just that small handful of examples, I think very little in Shadowrun is beyond the realm of plausibility given spurts of rapid technical advancement and how quickly ideals and principles have changed in the span of a generation in the last century.
swirler
heh you have a point
Nikoli
Just a point of interest, the fairlight excalibur in 2nd ed. 1 mil. 3rd. edition, 2 mil, 4th ed. 9.5 K including OS.

Moore's law (every 18 months, the transistors on a processor will double, in theory this doubles computer power). Assuming game time starts 11 November 2070,that's four doubles of processing power. as an excercise to let you have an idea of how this is, today, AMD's dual core processor contains 233 million transistors. Starting from today and ending 10/8/2070 That's 42 units of 18 months.
CODE

In 2054:        500,363,689,984,000,000.00
In 2063:     16,011,638,079,488,000,000.00
In 2070:  1,024,744,837,087,230,000,000.00


My feeling is that the writers wanted hackers to far outweigh the technomancers. They succeeded. If you want to boost up the # of techno mancers, put the forms more on par with spells. they buy it and choose the rating when using it, but have to always resist fading when they use one. It's a small tweak, not a sweeping one. Play test it, see if it helps.
Jaid
technomancers don't need nearly as much of a boost as you people seem to think.

you just don't play a technomancer like you do a hacker, any more than you play a street sammy the same way you play an adept... sure, the adept *can* get attribute boosts and IPs from his adept powers, but it's not a very good use... rather, the adept should be choosing more efficient powers, especially powers that allow things cyber can't (and possibly supplementing with some light cyber/bio).

similarly, if you try and force your technomancers to be exactly like a regular hacker, then sure they won't do so well. if, on the other hand, you hack into a node by threading your exploit to 12+ (with help from a sprite) and then once in have a sprite boost your stealth up to 10+ while you take care of hacking, and you keep a rating 6 fault sprite around to take care of enemies, you will find that technomancers can hack systems that the hacker can only dream of. and that the technomancer, while somewhat reliant on sprites, can do surprisingly well in a surprisingly wide range of activities.

imo, if you want to make TMs more competitive with hackers as far as usefulness goes, toning down the hacker in the matrix is not the solution: beefing up the TM in the meat world, otoh, is far more likely to make TMs a stronger character type imo. there's nothing wrong with the technomancer that a few attribute boosts and some skillwires won't fix (once you remove that pesky resonance loss, that is) =P
Buster
I've never played a technomancer but it seems like most people complain about the TM's lack of IP and general survivability in the meat world. Has anyone tried putting their TM in a mobile bunker? It seems that with their constant fading damage, they should be riding around in an autodoc 24/7. Your character becomes less Neo and more Stephen Hawking, but it seems like it would do the trick.
swirler
QUOTE (Buster)
Your character becomes less Neo and more Stephen Hawking, but it seems like it would do the trick.

fantastic!

rotfl.gif
ixombie
@Jopp: I'll stick to attacking the core mechanic you point to: availability, which I think is your most important and most erroneous assumption.

Here is my rolling on the floor, laughing. Are you telling me that 100% legal personal computers in 2070 are supposed to be hard to get? Are you kidding me? It is legal computer software, which everybody uses every day. The choice between a rating 1 through 5 is like choosing whether to get Windows 98 or Windows Vista Ultimate. Like choosing whether to get an eMachine, or a custom built monster rig. Maybe the very top end takes a while to track down because not many people are making it (think about water or dry ice cooled dual motherboard type computers) but it's not exactly out of reach. Why should it be different in 2070?

I think your problem is that you're having a hard time breaking out of SR3 thinking. In SR3, a rating 5 MPCP was top of the line civilian, a rating 6+ was security grade, and a rating 10+ was omgwtf black miltech. WHICH WAS STUPID. Do security companies have mega uber operating systems or program suites that nobody else has? Duh... no. They use Windows, or UNIX, or LINUX. They might have beefy hardware and expensive, top-end software, but aside from price there is nothing stopping regular people from getting what they use. The military might have secret tech, but except for the odd supercomputer it's not usually better than civilian tech, they just don't want civvies to have it to let them probe it for vulnerabilities, but aside from that it's substantially the same. Why would this be different in 2070? Sure, in the 60's we had the various strata of OS's because cyberdecks were still in development, the top end was still essentially prototypical. But in the net 2.0, the commlink is tried and true, no longer experimental, no longer requiring millions of dollars to buy, and no longer difficult to obtain, or illegal in any way.

The fundamental thing I think you're trying to do is to prevent your hackers from immediately, ASAP, getting their hands on the best software available. Well I'll let you in on a secret: rating 6 is not the best software in the world. It's just the best software that the core book contains. There is no rule that nothing goes beyond 6 ever, that is simply the most powerful that the players have access to. I guarantee you that there are still prototype and black tech level commlinks and programs out there which can make rating 6 look like toys, especially when it comes to AIs and SK's, etc.

And having rating 6 isn't really a bad thing either - if your players can hack anything that moves, just get a little creative with vanishing/teleporting SANs, non-wireless systems, UV hosts, etc. And regardless, the system intends for hackers to be able to hack quickly and easily right out of chargen - it provides simple, streamlined rules that let the hacker run a passive exploit, cracking the system and letting the team into the building WITHOUT six hours of rolling. That's a GOOD thing. Your hackers starting out powerful is a GOOD thing, for you and for them. You are taking a good thing, and you're recklessly terminating it. Players tend not to like it when GMs respond to their ingenuity in building good sheets by changing the rules. I just hope for your sake that yours do.
darthmord
That's great for the hacker... but what about the TM?
Jaid
QUOTE (darthmord)
That's great for the hacker... but what about the TM?

TMs are crazy powerful in the matrix, if you use them right. depending on your outlook, either that's good enough, or they need improvement in the meatworld, as far as i'm concerned. TMs can already take on just about any system you can devise with a good chance of success. that doesn't need improving.

what technomancers need most is a way to survive in the meatworld, especially when a physical insertion into the facility is required.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (ixombie @ Oct 8 2007, 02:26 PM)
I think your problem is that you're having a hard time breaking out of SR3 thinking.  In SR3, a rating 5 MPCP was top of the line civilian, a rating 6+ was security grade, and a rating 10+ was omgwtf black miltech.  WHICH WAS STUPID.  Do security companies have mega uber operating systems or program suites that nobody else has?  Duh... no.  They use Windows, or UNIX, or LINUX.  They might have beefy hardware and expensive, top-end software, but aside from price there is nothing stopping regular people from getting what they use.  The military might have secret tech, but except for the odd supercomputer it's not usually better than civilian tech, they just don't want civvies to have it to let them probe it for vulnerabilities, but aside from that it's substantially the same.  Why would this be different in 2070?


Shall we play a game?

A year and a half ago I was warned my life was in danger. I was told the only way to survive was to create the illusion that I was dead. I had the deceive people I cared about. My daughter will never forgive me. Now that I see the depth of your corruption there is no doubt that source of danger was you. David Palmer was a great man and a great president, but he was also my friend. He tried to warn me about you and now he is dead. Other people tried to help me and they are dead. So Mr. Logan, I really have nothing left to lose.

I got a record! I was 'Zero Cool'!

...my birth cry will be the sound of every phone on this planet ringing in unison.

I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!


Government computers are superbaddass. They can launch nuclear missiles, give mentally disabled individuals godlike powers, control the minds of everyone on the planet, and get compromised with surprising ease.

This isn't the real world and we aren't talking about real computers. We're talking about stylish movie computers that have overly-complex and absurdly inefficient 3D GUIs. And in such cases, yes military computers are that much more superbaddass, but hardware doesn't matter the slightest because Zero Cool can hack Arsenal Gear with an Apple II and a 1600 Baud external modem.



As for Technomancers being nerfed, I suggest people who believe this should try threading. A Technomancer who threads intelligently is superbaddass.
Wasabi
TM's are forced to be Sprite-wielding hackers stuck in the team's van's Autodoc. In that one role they are super duper kick**s. If you want them to do anything else then they need to spend less build on their hacking stuff.

A decent TM played decently is a fearsome thing. As someone before me said, play a hacker to do a lot of things... play a TM to get double handfuls of dice.

TM's are stereotypes but darn powerful as-is. You just don't play one and be on a swat team or soldierly type.
Cthulhudreams
QUOTE (The Jopp)
QUOTE
You are 100% wrong about needing to nerf hackers.


Funny, I dont remember anything about "nerfing" hackers, merely toning down the access of hardware that is dirt cheap.

Reducing programatic access is the same as a 'nerf'

Money == Build Points (at a conversation ratio of 1 to 5000)

Therefore your increase in costs actually reduce the BPs avaliable to the hacker for the same power. This makes a hacker under your system strictly worse than a hacker under the old system and is thus a nerf.


Your second nerf is reducing the size of dicepools. Without access to rating 6 commlinks and programs, a hacker has reduced effectiveness at character generation because he rolls less dice on tasks.

Both of these effects 'nerf' a hacker who was comparable to a street sammie.

Can I instead suggest reducing the cost of technomancer abilities, starting with discounting complex forms and going from there. Then if you so desire add rating 7 IC into the game in strategic locations.
damaleon
Personally, I don't see a problem with making things a bit more expensive for hackers at the start. Right now, as I understand it, you can get all rating 6 programs (7 common use and 13 hacking, no agent/softs), rating 6 Firewall and System, and a 5/5 Commlink (yes software and System are limited to 5 until you up Response) for 19 BP of gear, and 11000 nuyen.gif of upgrades after you can start playing. To me, that seems a bit overpowered, or at least reduces my enjoyment in playing hackers. I want some goal, the joy of new tech, to shoot for. I can make a pretty well geared and cybered/bio'ed hacker for 32 BP, only 8 of which goes to my 'link and programs.

I remember building my first PC on my own in the mid 90's, it cost me roughly $2400 for something a little behind (a Pentium 3 or 4 steps below the fastest). I spent $2000 on parts for a desktop at about the same spot on the tech curve just 3 months ago. Miniaturization lowers cost for reproduced designs, not always on the new ones. Moore's law can be interpreted to state that computing power will roughly double every 2 years for the same production costs. If you're not going for more power, you can cut the cost by half every two years.

I don't see any problem with doubling the cost of 'links, programs, and hardware upgrades. I could even go as far as requiring all hardware (Response and Signal) to pay each step of upgrade cost, so going from 5 to 6 Response is still 8000 nuyen.gif (16000 if doubled), but from 3 to 6 is 14000 nuyen.gif instead of 8000, for other hardware modifications and replacements necessary to make it work as such an increased ability. It would keep folks from getting the equivalent of a Fairlight Caliban at about two thirds the cost (a modified Metalink would be 5100 nuyen.gif at 4/5). Yes, this is a bit of a nerf, but it's at worst 25 BP if you have everything maxed out. On average, it's likely 12 BP, a bad allergy or 3 skill points.

If you don't want to modify the rules beyond chargen, the simplest way I see to make Technomancers less of a paper target is either allow 1 point of free bio OR cyberware before essence/resonance loss, but only during generation, or up their BP to 450 for chargen, allowing for 225 in stats. Most of my runners don't survive to get more than 100 karma, and of the 3 'mancer's I've tried to bring on runs, only 1 has ever survived past a second fight during a run.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012