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Ryu
In my opinion, one of the major hindrances in remembering the matrix rules is knowing what program is needed for any given task. Those players in my group who care tend to have everything at the same rating, and either 5 or 6 at that (This may be a result of well-paying runs, but I don´t like it anyway).

So I´m in the process of simplifiing several things. One of the final goals is also to change to an attribute+skill mechanic, but I´m not even half-way there.

Lets start with the structure I´ve choosen at the moment:

Standard Programs
(A)nalyse (includes old WiFi-Scan)
(B)rowse
©ommand
(D)NI Protection (replaces BioFeedBack Filters, should be a common program)
(E)nycryption
(F)ile Manipulation (replaces Edit)

Hacking Programs
Offensive: Attack / Blackout / Black Hammer
Defensive: Armor / Medic
Stealth: Sneak (Includes Misplace), Sniffer (includes Trace)
Illegal Access: Exploit, Spoof, Decryption (includes Defuse)

Justification / Reasoning
Some programs do rather similar things, and those characters who care will own both. Therefore they should by all means be rolled into one, especially given canon prices. Less programs means less to remember in the heat of action.
- Wifi-Scan is basically Analyse Network
- Trace is a form of Sniffing
- Data Bomb should be an option for Encryption of a file, not a program on its own.
- therefore Decryption of the file does Defuse the bomb, because you can save the file with the option disabled.
- Misplace (translated right?) should be a part of Sleaze(translation?), as evading Trace is the same as not being detected

Software Prices/Ratings
Software is freely available up to rating 3 as open source. Anything beyond that can be acquired as bootleg copy with an extended Data Search (rating, 1 hour) test. Software above level 3 degrades at a speed of 1point/month if not maintained by a programmer (as in “bought legally? OR spending a so far undefined amount of time on extended Software tests). System does not limit useable program ratings. Response is reduced every 5 programs, agents counting double.

Reasoning: There should be some advantage to legally bought software, and there should be basically free software like today. A full set of free software allows any player to roll any test, and the need to maintain higher ratings gives the specialists some priviledges. System gets a new use next.

Defense Layers
The matrix offers multiple layers of defense.
- The network in question can be encrypted. Solution: Decrypt
- You might need to be a subsribed device to manipulate a node. Solution: Analyse network traffic, Spoof OR Exploit Firewall
- Once you are on the node, you might want more user privileges than Anonymous gets. Solution: Exploit System

Reasoning: I re-interpret system as system stability. A sufficient task, and easier calculation of degradation with higher usability for low-powered comlinks.

Agents
New application for the brain processing idea: There are no free agents except for AIs. Any agent used requires a connection to a controlling users brain. Any agent beyond the first results in a -2 distraction modifier for the user. If the modifier would be higher than willpower, the agent booted last crashes.


Any comments on this are welcome. This needs MUCH more work before the change to skill+attribute, and I would not like to commit serious design flaws.
Karaden
Honestly I don't see much of a problem with how many programs there are right now. Having fewer would actually be a bad thing, and being able to get any program you want within a few hours is a -very- bad thing.

If your dealing with simple things that your avergae person is going to be using like data search and such, then it isn't a proplem, only about 5 programs they need to keep track of. And if your dealing with a hacker, then they should -know- what program does what, and it isn't as if it is especially confusing, each one does basicly exactly what its name suggest it should do (tracer traces people, armor proctects the icon, medic heals it, etc.)

If anything rolling multipul programs up into one will cause trouble 'Was that part of the new Edit program or maybe it was the new Misplace program...'

The other reason having fewer programs is bad is because each program has a cost tied to it. So for a starting hacker to get all his programs at 6 at the start costs him a large number of BP, but if there are fewer programs he needs, that gives him more BP to spend on other things, making the hacker specilization easier and lest costly (And even less if the player can justify that he spends the first week of the game downloading level 6 programs)

And since one of your complaints is that everyone has all level 5 and 6 programs, I don't know why your making it much much easier for them to get that.

Hmm, I don't see much with your Defense layers thing, I don't remember if encryption was mentioned in the SR4 book, but it was in SR3 (I think) so I'm sure some people are doing this already anyway, and your other two are just what is in the book already, using exploit to get in and get better access.

Know this sounds like I'm just hating you on purpose, but I'm just trying to be honest, I will however end on a good note:

I like your idea with the agents, the -2 penelty and maxed by willpower should keep people having more then 3-4 agents, and even then they run a risk of slowing themselves down to keep the agents up.
Ryu
Hate me? Why should you? I wrote this to invite criticism! Thank you smile.gif

I´m of the opinion that the number of programs is a problem (or more precisly, an unnecessary obstacle), and I do plan to do a full rewrite for attribute+skill eventually. Like I said.

--
- Getting any program within a few hours is much easier, but that is intent. The hackers will have to decide how many programs they want to maintain hat high ratings. This is untested, I´m hoping for opinions how common maxxed ratings will be. Hackers will have whatever ratings they desire, but it requires dedicating time to keep those up. On the other hand, paying MUCH to get them and then making countless copies for FREE is worse IMO.

- The Defense Layer section is not-that-new, it just shows the new place for system. Encryption is in SR4, and my changes on that one are not ready to be discussed, much less used.

--

Forgot one thing. The brain processing idea is taken from Franks thread, though I think the parallel to the magic system I brought into it might allow for a few dependant agents.
Karaden
Well, given the number of dice that a hacker is going to be able to obtain for his checks, I'd think that maintaining all the programs he wants at max rating is going to be no trouble, especially if there are fewer of them in the first place. I mean take your 'average' hacker. He'll have a 5 logic + 4 data search + 2 VR bonus + 2 cerebral booster + 2 from other sources like encephalon and such I'm sure. That's 15 dice, He could easily get any program he wants at rating 6 in 1-2 hours, times a total of what, 16 programs? So for two days a month he just goes out and restocks his program supply, one day if he has the sleep regulator. And since maintaining programs should be easier then finding them, it'll likely only take a few hours out of their schedual each month to manage it.

Since this is the case I think that rating six programs would be quite rampent. Heck, even average joe could pick up a stack of rating 6 stuff by doing passive style searches while they're at work or something, sure, it'll take more like 6ish hours for each program, but that still isn't bad, just run it while your a work and no trouble.

Of course they could simply download the free source raiting 3 every month, thus taking a minute or two of their time to maintain a compleate raiting 3 library. Honestly it seems like software programers would go under really really quick like this.
Moon-Hawk
QUOTE (Ryu)
In my opinion, one of the major hindrances in remembering the matrix rules is knowing what program is needed for any given task. Those players in my group who care tend to have everything at the same rating, and either 5 or 6 at that (This may be a result of well-paying runs, but I don´t like it anyway).

Sounds like you have the same issues with the matrix rules that I did. I came up with some very similar house rules, and so far at my table they've worked WONDERFULLY.
It sounds like you've already got something in the works, but steal shamelessly from my ideas, with my blessing. biggrin.gif
[ Spoiler ]
Karaden
Hmm, all programs are free?

That seems rather excesive, You basicly drop how many BP it takes to make a hacker with full software suite down by about.. 15. While I suppose this isn't a bad thing persay, it does kind of shift things around alot. But maybe hacking just isn't that important in your games or whatever so a lower cost makes sense. But if it works for you it works for you right?

And I forgot the other thing I was going to say..

Oh right, how do you deal with programs whoes raitings are actually imporant, ie attack, armor, stealth. And how do you deal with IC? Skill=Raiting and ability=firewall, but if everyone has raiting 6 stuff, that means that every single IC in the world is going to be 6/6 and thus have 12 dice, there would be -no such thing- as a weak security system if everyone can just get any program at all for nothing.
Moon-Hawk
QUOTE (Karaden)
Hmm, all programs are free?

That seems rather excesive, You basicly drop how many BP it takes to make a hacker with full software suite down by about.. 15. While I suppose this isn't a bad thing persay, it does kind of shift things around alot. But maybe hacking just isn't that important in your games or whatever so a lower cost makes sense. But if it works for you it works for you right?

And I forgot the other thing I was going to say..

Oh right, how do you deal with programs whoes raitings are actually imporant, ie attack, armor, stealth. And how do you deal with IC? Skill=Raiting and ability=firewall, but if everyone has raiting 6 stuff, that means that every single IC in the world is going to be 6/6 and thus have 12 dice, there would be -no such thing- as a weak security system if everyone can just get any program at all for nothing.

As for Hackers being too cheap, see rule #5.
If you feel they're still too cheap, add whatever multiple you feel makes it right. It's not explicit in that rule, but if someone is building a commlink from scratch hardware costs should be similarly adjusted.

For certain program ratings being needed, see the last sentence of rule #3.

For IC, I haven't had a problem. IC hasn't really been changed, in terms of function. Program ratings are still limited by System/Response exactly as before, and hardware costs are much more of a limiting factor than before, so even though the software is potentially free, the hardware to run it has been adjusted to keep the costs basically the same.

Also not that just because pirated software is trival to get, it's still illegal, and many programs are still illegal. This is a total non-issue to a Shadowrunner, but a business still needs to pay for licenses for their programs or face major legal repercussions, and Joe SINner is not going to have Black Hammer on his commlink. (This is pretty much exactly how the world works, IRL, if you're willing to break laws you can get any program you want for free, but most people/business still don't.)
Aaron
One could, I imagine, create cards that have the information for each program on them. I mean, there's nothing wrong with coming up with a whole new system, but program cards might be an option that works for people.
Kool Kat
In a world of confusing Matrix rules and regs I appreciate your effort to try and design a simpler system for those of us that aren't hackers in real life. nyahnyah.gif

I am only going to comment on two points though; one positive and the other sort of half and half.

Programs should not all be free to a certain level. Certain programs maybe but you are not going to find Harry's Happy Hacking Program v1.2 just laying around for anyone to grab up and start causing mayhem. Hacking software to me or software designed to invade and destroy systems should never be free. Data Search, Analyze and other simple programs, yes, I could see those being avaiable as shareware/freeware just like you can go download free DVD/CD burning software, music players, etc. (This is my 50-50 good/bad critique)

I *LOVE* the idea of software degrading over time forcing hackers to spend some of their cash for maintaining the latest and greatest software instead of hording it like a stingy dragon. I may house rule something like this soon. This of course makes the Technomancer a little more desireable to play since they won't have to waste money on upgrades.

Moon-Hawk
QUOTE (Aaron)
One could, I imagine, create cards that have the information for each program on them. I mean, there's nothing wrong with coming up with a whole new system, but program cards might be an option that works for people.

The hacker cards on your site are great, BTW, and I use them frequently.
Ryu
@Moon-Hawk: Thanks for sharing your experiences, I was hoping it does not destroy the role of hackers if programs are free. I´m not sure if I want do forego program ratings completely, but I will think about it. This is after all work-in-progress.

@Karaden: I´m fully aware that I´m removing entry barriers to the matrix. By RAW, I´d be charging the adept that volunteered to do matrix work some 100k¥ for the necessary suite of programs - would my group have a hacker in my absence (as a player) he would copy a set within one month. And thats only because we use the rule that breaking copy protection nets you only one copy and does not remove the copy protection. Else he´d do it in seconds. Why should I make him pay 20+ BP for things he´s dishing out for free to others later?

You raise an interesting point with IC-ratings, I did not consider that so far. One option might be to limit IC rating by response and implementing Moon-Hawks higher hardware costs.

@Aaron: The hacker cards are great, they only failed to work because I was to lazy to translate them back in the day. In fact, I only just remembered them. Having something like that is a very good idea.

@ALL: Thanks for the answers so far, I find them to be very productive.
Aaron
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk)
QUOTE (Aaron @ Dec 7 2007, 03:15 PM)
One could, I imagine, create cards that have the information for each program on them. I mean, there's nothing wrong with coming up with a whole new system, but program cards might be an option that works for people.

The hacker cards on your site are great, BTW, and I use them frequently.

biggrin.gif
kzt
QUOTE (Kool Kat)
Certain programs maybe but you are not going to find Harry's Happy Hacking Program v1.2 just laying around for anyone to grab up and start causing mayhem.  Hacking software to me or software designed to invade and destroy systems should never be free. 

Naturally it's totally impossible that there could be a site that allows you to download evil code. wink.gif

And the idea that you could have a business selling zero-day expolits is also totally impossible. frown.gif
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