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This is related to the DNI is so last decade... Thread.

I've noticed that Shadowrun doesn't give Mil Spec hardware the respect it deserves. I'm talking drones, cyberware, com gear, and the like.

The first Cyberpunk stories, Mil Spec was some serious stuff that could get you sent away for just touching it. And the published material tries to stay away from the really hard core military stuff because no Shadowrun team should be anywhere near a real military operation. Shadowrunners should be afraid when the mil spec stuff comes out.

And in SR, the Corp are much more the top dogs, but still.

I'm not talking security grade stuff. And the security at ultra ultra secure research facilities could reach mil spec levels, but that is pretty rare.

The military might not have the cutting edge stuff that the Triple A corp have access to, but they can outspend and out paranoid the Corps any day of the week. They can do it from sheer volume alone. I mean the big military contracts have to be a major driving force.

Plus they don't have the limits the Corps have with trying to look non threating or looking like you are obeying local laws. They don't even have to make a profit.

Military stuff would be super redundant and have every security trick in the book. They can also implement measures on a mass scale that no place of business could hope to match.

A lot of stuff would be more secure because they have the manpower that they don't need extra features to speed up maintenance and the like if those features were also a security risk.

Of course there would be different levels of alert/security and I'm wondering if military vehicles would still have no locks.

So would military grade Cyberware have wireless access... Never.

Could a hot hacker on the fly take over a military drone... No. Because if they could then the Military wouldn't use them.



Agree?

Disagree?

Any ideas on bringing that out?
Spike
Well, there has been some distinct fetishization of mil spec gear from authors who's knowledge of the military is only exceeded in ignorance by their knowledge of computers...


That said, there are some interesting points there. Its not so much a catagory (milspec radio) that you are talking about but scale (assault cannons, tanks) that really... the stuff you probably shouldn't see in corpsec hands, much less shadowrunner hands but you do... all the time.


That said, current drones exist in the military system and they do work on, essentially wireless technologies. This stuff isn't 'unhackable' but simply not worth the effort to hack. Take the 'EOD' drones, those are just giant remote control cars with cameras on them. Sure, if you wanted to search out the right frequency you COULD send bogus controls, but you couldn't prevent the actual owner from sending controls: There is nothing to actually hack.


Predators are another beast entirely. But here is the thing that comes up all the time in Shadowrun and cyberpunk tales that makes no sense. Where is the hardwired stuff? You can't just hack a predator drone on the fly and 'own' it. Sure, you could intercept signals from it, maybe send some spoofed commands (launch missile now) but the more hard core things will have, well, hard overrides that make it unfeasable to hack. I would suspect at a minimum (and this goes for corpsec drones to a lesser extent) hard coded 'shut down now' commands. No matter how well you hack it, you'll never be able to stop the owner from turning it off (of course, if you know how, there is nothing to prevent YOU from doing it too... but that sort of thing requires doing a shadowrun to learn... against all those nasty drones, neh?)


So with the 'wireless enabled' cyberware. What could you do if you hacked it? Not much I think. At a minimum, the 'ware is designed to respond first to the DNI to the owner, automatically overridding the commands sent wirelessly. At best you get internal sensor feeds, diagnostic data, the ability to run test cycles of internal mechanisms (that stop when the owner decides to actually use the arm, eye, whatever... as a safety feature not even taking into account hacking).


Military, corporate, civilian: doesn't matter, there will always be hard coded stuff you just can't alter. Don't matter what sort of priviledges you give yourself, you can't program your computer to spit CD's like weapons out the drive...
kzt
The whole "we don't have a clue what encryption really does, we'll make it useless" from the developers is largely to blame. Plus the fact that the developers don't seem to understand how to use google and hence have not the foggiest idea how much cool crap really costs. The little Javelin costs $80,000 per.

I've seen this before, in a space game. A bunch of the players wanted to be able to have their merchant ships fight warships. They didn't seem to like that a single antiship missile costs more than they will make in several trips, and you need to fire them in volleys to have a decent chance of damaging a small warship, while the warship's loadout of ordinance is worth several times what your entire ship cost new. The developer had a battle squadron as a plot device and some of the players insisted on getting stats, so they could fight them. For a pair of battleships + escorts capable of devastating an entire hostile star system. Right....
Crusher Bob
They miss out on all the maintenance requirements too. They let you buy an attack helicopter for a few hundred thousand, and they expect you to just be able to hop in and fly it. It only needs and oil change every 300 flight hours and some other simple work that one guy can do in his off hours, right?

[edit]
As for the space game, I guess it depends on what genre its supposed to be in. Several East Indiamen could be compared to 4th rate ships of the line (packing 50-60 guns).
[/edit]
Shrike30
The theory of Shadowrunners who could take on mil-spec targets (IE, targets running rating 5 devices, etc) is that they're better than those guys. The advantage that the military has, of course, is that you're not taking on 2-3 security guards, and a single security rigger sitting in a room somewhere... you're taking on a platoon or company-sized unit. Worst comes to worst, some yahoo sends out the "recall all" command to the drones and turns on a big 'ol mil-spec jammer, and turns all the wireless in the area into hash.

At that point, it comes down to who's trained to work together better. Tight teams might be able to make out okay, but your usual pink mohawk collection of runners might have some issue taking on a wired sensor network/sentry gun system backed by a bunch of guys dug into foxholes who have some basic small unit tactics training.

"Wired? What? Whaddya mean it's wired? I wanna hack in and make a blind spot!"
"Well, it's wired because having a wireless device broadcasting it's location is a great way to have someone drop an anti-radiation round onto it in a serious fight. Now, if you wanna try sneaking up on the thing and plugging directly into their network, that's another story, but there's some guys dug in to either side of it...
Fuchs
Ugh, maintenance. Nothing like having 10 to 25% of your tracks in the shop at any one day. And that's with old stuff that gets daily maintenance done by the driver and crew already. From what I remember, 1/3 to half of a squadron's planes are usually in maintenance too.
knasser

I haven't voted yet - I'm not quite clear on the meaning of the options. But I can tell you what my position is and it's this: Why this belief that the military is magically better than what other factions are capable of? They don't have guns that are a different category of power to what is available outside the military (particularly in comparison to AA+ corps that can buy what they want); when half the industry of the world seems to be devoted to producing software, there's no reason they should be leaps ahead of the rest in producing cutting edge software - in fact, in an ultra capitalist society they'll be buying it the same as anyone else; when international corporations without loyalty to a particular government are the main manufacturers of military technology (incl. drones) and their customer base is world-wide, there is no reason why one military would necessarily be ahead of other nations - and if that's the case then there's no reason why non-national factions (corp security, crime syndicates, mercenaries and shadowrunners) can't get access to this equipment.

You put it all together and I just don't see "military-grade" equipment being the mythic higher standard that some GM's or source material says.
Malicant
I wonder how any military wants to out-fund Mega corporations. Governements are broke. Broke as in they don't have money. The almighty Dollar is worth 1/10 Nuyen. That's not a good base to have unlimited best weapons to rule them all.

Remember the setting. Money does not grow on secret Mil-Tech Money Trees. Also, the military has a tendency to buy the cheapest stuff available, since they need a lot of it. That stuff is reliable, that's why it stays in service for decades. G-3 or M-16 anyone?

Military might have some new and shiney gadgets, sure. Jets, maybe tanks. But most of the stuff they use will be old, cheap and reliable, not fancy laser gauss guns for every soldier. Or unhackable drones.

If you want military drones to be unhackable... though luck. But if you use your brains for a minute you might find the solution fitting into SR. It's called firewall and analyze. Hacking on the fly has a nasty habit of getting you spotted, and mil-spec drones can simply be set to terminate WiFi for a few minutes after sending an "I'm beeing hacked" message back to base when they detect an attempt to hack them.

Also, when I started reading this thread, I almost immediatly had to think of all those 12yr olds that managed to hack the pentagon biggrin.gif
Yep, military is magically impervious to anyone beeing better than them.
Fuchs
It's not the gear, usually, but the way of using it. Between the absence of a need to make a profit, the larger numbers, and the focused training, I'd rate military units (units, not individuals) as more capable in combat than shadowrunners or corpsec teams.
DocTaotsu
I too haven't voted either. Mil Spec equipment to me are things like tanks, orbital THOR rounds, ship mounted railguns, and the logistics to put 30 thousands heavily armed and well trained people anywhere in the world within a couple of hours. Those are things that Shadowrunners aren't going to touch because they lay so far beyond their capabilities it's not even worth thinking about. A couple people have mentioned maintenance and I think that’s a huge barrier to entry for owning those sorts of things. To run effectively SOTA vehicles are going to need the round the clock tender loving care that only a fully trained team of dedicated tech’s can provide.

As to the unhackable drone:
The Military: Your Equipment Was Developed By the Lowest Bidder.
Or
Your equipment was developed by the company with the most pull in congress.
Fundamentally drones should be able to be hacked, but hacking a handful of drones out of a flight of 30 is probably an acceptable casualty rate. Heck, they probably love when you hack their drones because their indepth knowledge of their equipment will make it easier for them to trace the signal and sic the rest of the drones on you. After all, there’s probably a lot more of them and there is only little old you.

Trust me, it’s going to get hacked.

I agree with the previous posters that the major advantage the military has over runners is scale and redundancy. Oh, and air support, it’s all fun and games until the multi-million dollar t-birds start saturation bombing the area. A team of 5 runners should probably walk all over your basic infantry fire team. Against a platoon of veteran infantry backed up with armor and air support, previously mentioned team should be running in the general direction of “away?.

I will also note that the first cyberpunk stories were written by people who had little or no knowledge of the military in a time when mil spec was actually better than what you could buy off a private retailer. This is before Chechen extremists started fielding better gear than your average American soldier because they were buying their gear from Blackhawk.

I also agree with the whole “How on Earth can a government outspend of a corps?. They can’t, corps are nations within nations and as far as I understand, don’t pay taxes in the traditional sense (I’d love to see the UCAS SEC try to convince Aztlan to pay taxes). Truth be told I was always under the impression that traditional governments need megas far more than megas need them.

No military vehicle is going to have locks because locks have a terrible habit of locking. And you’re some poor tanker who’s vehicle just got hit, you’re going to want to get the fuck out there with all due haste. If that shitty lock on your hatch won’t open because the shock jammed it... Yeah, you’re going to be a little upset. I could see some unpleasant government mandating locks, but I see individual teams sawing those bitches right off. No one likes burning to death because the goddamn door won’t open.
Malicant
Unfortunatly CorpSec and Runners have a diffrent way of doing combat and the last few decades have shown how bad military units fare if they have to adapt to anything beside shooting moving targets in plain sight. Drill tends to destroy fexibility and adaptability and urban combat training in the army is a joke if you don't expect to fight in a eastern european urban ruin.

So yeah, in a war military units are pretty much better than CorpSec and Runners. But they don't train to fight hit and run terrorists. And their equipment should never be unhackable, because such a scenario is silly. Ask the chinese who hacked everyone last year.
Drogos
Yeah, it all comes down to number: the Military has them and the majority of them are sitting around waiting and/or training for a fight. The military doesn't have significantly better arms than the corps, they just keep more of them in a single location than most corps do (exceptions being locations where the Corps manufacture these same arms). The Military does not have to have as many installations so their force is much more concentrated, that's where it becomes suicide for the runners to go against them and not so much as for the Corps. Any skirmish lasting more than 15 secs is likely going to get the whole base up in arms (and if is does go 15 secs or less, you should get the hell out of dodge because you will be hosed in about 1 minute more). At least that's my feeling on the military in SR, they are not to be trifled with because they are not spread quite as thin as the Corps are.
Fuchs
Our tanks usually were locked up when not in use - all hatches but one barred from the inside (easily opened), and that hatch locked with a padlock. Of course, that's not stopping a dedicated thief, but that's what the guards are for.
DocTaotsu
I would hope, that in 60 years, the military knows how to fight hit and run terrorists since I see it unlikely that they will fight anything else with any regularity. You'd get a nice big "real" war every decade or so but in between it's nothing but a stew of "people with throw away rockets shooting from behind cars".

I also agree with the assessment that they aren't spread as thin as a corps. The military, especially in SR cannon, only has a couple of big bases around the world. Corps have hundreds if not thousands of facilities that need to be protected. This isn't even considering things like enclave housing and remote facilities. Course you run on an arcology/manufactory. Bad day chummer, bad day.
Malicant
QUOTE (DocTaotsu @ Mar 25 2008, 12:31 PM) *
I would hope, that in 60 years, the military knows how to fight hit and run terrorists since I see it unlikely that they will fight anything else with any regularity.

I won't hold my breath. They should have learned after Vietnam, or at least after Afghanistan (part 1). But if you look at Iraq and Afghanistan (part 2) you see hope beeing strapped to a chair and severly beaten. Changing tactics from "let's bomb the shit out of them" seems to be really hard.
knasser
QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 25 2008, 11:39 AM) *
I won't hold my breath. They should have learned after Vietnam, or at least after Afghanistan (part 1). But if you look at Iraq and Afghanistan (part 2) you see hope beeing strapped to a chair and severly beaten. Changing tactics from "let's bomb the shit out of them" seems to be really hard.


It's a general principle that shooting people to make them like you does not work. The reason lessons have not been learnt from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq is that the only valid lesson to be learned - i.e. "we don't want to be ruled by you" - is one that runs counter to the aims of the invader in each instance.

As to "Chechnyan extremists," were it less politically embarrassing to do so, they'd certainly be called freedom fighters or the resistance, in the West. The country, after all, is under Russian occupation. The West has been on top of the military power hierarchy for so long, that there is a tendancy to view any force that isn't well-funded or part of an established powerbase as being a threat to existing structures and therefore bad.

In SR2070, whether or not we have large, standing, traditional militaries depends on whether we see such a thing as being profitable to the megacorps. In the current political and economic setup, the invasion of Iraq by the US and UK, was hugely profitable to those factions that pushed for it. Haliburton made a fortune just through forcing lucrative, below market oil deals after the new government was set up. But there are also consulting firms that were paid enormous sums to organise the new Iraqi government infrastructure under US instruction. And at the same time, funding for the Military-Industrial complex in both the USA and the UK has jumped at a time when there was great economic pressure to redirect funds. As a means of extracting money from the public purse and investing it in private industry, the invasion of Iraq has been a massive success. Now how much of this would hold true in SR2070? The redirection of public taxes to an overly-developed military would probably still be valid, so that one might stand. The necessity of invasion to force lucrative deals may not be however, as the megacorps (a) pretty much rule everywhere anyway and (b) would inevitably be striking at another megacorps interests in launching such a war.

It would really depend on how in control the megacorps really are. The big, big corps of today are greedy monsters that attempt to grab as much of the public money as possible. But if in SR2070, they really are the ruling powers and the profitable people are actually its citizens, then they should be more concerned with wealth creation, rather than wealth diversion as they are today.

I guess the final reason for war to exist, is intimidation of the population. The trick has been known since Caesar's time - create an outside threat and then tell the people they have to obey you to be safe. *cough*PATRIOT act*cough*. It's really sad to see people still falling for it. But whether it would be necessary to go to these lengths to keep a population subdued in SR2070, I'm not sure. Things like George W. Bush being handed the election in 2001 would have sparked riots in many countries (and in the USA in the past), but didn't in the USA of today for the simple reason that everyone was too busy. There are jobs to hold down, mortgages to pay, children to run to school. I see pressure of work only being greater in SR2070 so there's already an effective method of preventing undue interest in politics on the part of the general population. Likewise, the SINless and the urban warzones of the Barrens serve as useful threats to keep the educated Middle Class in line.

So on balance, I think we probably wouldn't be seeing large traditional militaries in SR2070, though perhaps they linger on for now, until the corps have things slightly more under control. It's been a tumultuous time and probably nobody knows when the next big event will come. But if another decade passes without large-scale warfare, then I see everything moving toward a militarisation of the police, rather than a big standing army.

My 0.02 nuyen.gif

-Khadim.
Malicant
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 25 2008, 01:30 PM) *
It's a general principle that shooting people to make them like you does not work. The reason lessons have not been learnt from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq is that the only valid lesson to be learned - i.e. "we don't want to be ruled by you" - is one that runs counter to the aims of the invader in each instance.

I don't know, Northern Afghanistan seems pretty stable even with foreign military around. So it looks like you can rule people without shooting them, if you bullshit them into believing they are in control.
Fuchs
In northern America, there were the invasions of California (from the Tir, Aztlan, Imperial Japan and then the PCC) and the invasion of Texas. In Europe, there were the Eurowars. Russia has had separatists and the Eurowars. China broke up and seems to be unstable. Japan had its philipines conflict. Africa's a mess, as usual.

I don't see any major industrial power in Shadowrun not having a large army given that history, and the threats all around the borders.
Fleming
I don't believe that the military will have significantly better equipment than the megas. Several reasons for that:

1. Rules and regulations.
For military spending, there's a lengthy approval process. You have committees, and sub-committees, testing and approval phases... that sh*t takes years. Currently, our soldiers in Afghanistan have no Jammers, like the Danes, Brits and US use, to prevent radio detonation of explosives. Why not? Because there is currently no 100% effective jammer on the market, and the BWB (the ministry responsible for outfitting the German forces) does not believe in purchasing equipment that won't work in all cases. That 50% protection is better than no protection, is apparently lost on them.

2. Budget.
There's body armor available for soldiers right now. What was the percentage of US soldiers entering the Iraq war without body armor? Yes, the military can certainly GET the best equipment, but can they PAY for it? Umm, maybe in the next fiscal year...

3. Production.
Who makes mil-grade equipment? Corps, right? So, I'm Renraku, and I've just fulfilled my contract with the UCAS government to provide them with rating 8 software for their high-tech drone squadrons (made by Ares). Now, why wouldn't I make a few more for my own use? Granted, they wouldn't be at every location I own, but my Red Samurai Elite Death Squads will sure be happy to have their drone backup suddenly vastly improved. And what do you think Ares did with the schematics of those high-tech drones the UCAS paid them to develop? File them away and never look at them again? Or build a small fleet of drones for their own use, just in case they need to break out the big guns?
Drogos
Didn't Runner havens give some idea on how many Troops were stationed just in Seattle? If so, extrapolate based loosely on current US standing military and divde by two. That should give you a good start on the numbers. From there, you can add based on population growth (though I think the two waves of VITAS took care of much of the population growth) and the proximity of enemies of the state within North America (the Sioux are especially militaristic and are said to send 'advisors' to any NAN that is in any form of conflict). That should give you a pretty large standing armed forces and they would cover the bases left over in the UCAS. For the CAS, remember they have an even larger armed forces.

Sourced from Shadows of North America biggrin.gif
hermit
QUOTE
As to "Chechnyan extremists," were it less politically embarrassing to do so, they'd certainly be called freedom fighters or the resistance, in the West. The country, after all, is under Russian occupation. The West has been on top of the military power hierarchy for so long, that there is a tendancy to view any force that isn't well-funded or part of an established powerbase as being a threat to existing structures and therefore bad.

Of course, mass murdering children and aligning themselves with the self-declared muslim resistance movement doesn't really help the Chechens' image in the West either. Nor does that Europe really depends on Russia for it's supply of fuels.

QUOTE
In SR2070, whether or not we have large, standing, traditional militaries depends on whether we see such a thing as being profitable to the megacorps.

That's a bit limited. Especially in North america, large standing armies are practically a must, as hardly any state gets along with any neighbouring state, NAN or not. Any state that wants to exist above californian level in such an environment needs a standing army of sufficient size. For the UCAS it's also a question of prestige, considering how it still thinks it's the US; for the CAS, it's really vital (considering Aztlan's presence), for Pueblo too, considering they occupy twice as much country and three times their native population (I wonder what that gave Israel in exchange for explaing to them how to do this). SSC and the Tir have internal and external fronts galore, which need to be fought somehow. And as for Aztlan ... considering how unpopular that country is with justa bout everyone short of Henan's mad raving cultural revolution reloaded Maoists, it needs one hell of a deterrent to prevent, say, Pueblo and the UCAS/CAS to gang up on them and kick their asses to the moon and back.

QUOTE
But there are also consulting firms that were paid enormous sums to organise the new Iraqi government infrastructure under US instruction.

Of course, considering the god-awful product they delivered, noone is ever going to hire them again.

QUOTE
I guess the final reason for war to exist, is intimidation of the population. The trick has been known since Caesar's time - create an outside threat and then tell the people they have to obey you to be safe.

Uhm, or maybe, just maybe, because another country actually might be o the war path. Like Russia in SR perpetually seems to be. Or maybe there's continent-wide conspiracy that tries to coup d'etat all countries in NJorth America at once and create the united great empire of Amerikana (or whatever the New Revolution really wanted). Point is, in SR, you don't really need to make up a conspiracy or a foreign threat, because there's always one readily available already. Actually, that's what life is like for most nations, with the US being the one exception to the rule.

QUOTE
But if another decade passes without large-scale warfare

You are, of course, aware that larger-scale warfare is rather common in the SR universe, aren't you?
DocTaotsu
Uhm... I think I was talking about the general tactics of fighting small groups of lightly armed people in urban environments, not wether or not fighting them is a good thing. The reasons for going to war likely will never change, the tactics do get updated from time to time.

I know that in the relatively short time since the beginning of the war tactics have changed and that even my small part of the war has changed as well. There was a time when corpsmen were expected to sit fat and happy in a hospital and/or ship and never really concern themselves with going to war. Now the entire focus of corpsman training is to train field corpsmen to operate within the context of Marine units in sandy places with populations that may or may not like our presence. There's a small city being built out around 29 Palms for the sole purpose of performing combined arms excerises in urban terrain ripped straight out of the Fallujah play book.

I say Chechen extremist because I like to differntiate a guy with an AK fighting to kick the Russians to the curb from a guy in 15k worth of SOTA combat gear, weilding a G36 assault rifle, wearing fourth generation NVG's, and dopping so much amphetamines that it takes 4 mags of 5.56, 2 203 grenades, and several clips of 9 mm to make him lay down and stop moving. Oh, and he was in Iraq, shooting at US Marines. Not exactly "Freedom Fighters" if you're not in your own country fighting the forces that are burning your entire country into a smoking hole. I think the phrase "Religious extremists with fat paychecks" comes to mind.

But now we're getting into real world politics and I really don't want to go there.

I don't think the massive militaries we see today will survive into the year 2070. But it's all a matter of scale, even if the UCAS is fielding an Army a tenth of the size of current US numbers that's still 50k worth of trained military running around, and in the reduced area that the UCAS has control of the density is much higher than it once was. Factor into the fact that the UCAS has been kicked out of all it's foreign bases and you have even higher numbers.

I've argued that SR governments don't have much money, when compared to corps, but since they've relinquished most of their traditional roles to private companies (police, fire, some medicine). They probably have a fair amount of scrip to kick around. Militaries will be funded, just smaller, but still more than your average runner team can handle. Unless that team is very smart, very lucky, and chooses their battles wisely. Like their modern day relatives, mercenaries.
kigmatzomat
One aspect of mil-spec gear that SR doesn't touch on is durability. Most military gear is generally behind the commercial market in terms of gee-whiz but the majority of mil-spec will survive the wearer repeatedly diving into fox holes and behind walls. (I exclude 1st generation mil-spec, which I'm told sucks about as hard as any x.0 release from Microsoft)

Yeah, military vehicles tend to be down a lot but that's no shock since military vehicles' basic role is abusive to the vehicle. Humvees are great but they spend their "real" operating life farm from decent roads, constantly getting beat up by the terrain. Tank treads are supporting a hundred tons of metal while being dragged across the ground, not to mention the link connectors, that do a partial rotation every second. And all aircraft have a heavy maintenance window since any failure is almost guaranteed to trash the vehicle and very likely to trash the passengers.

Runners missions have an operation window measured in hours, followed by getting payoff & a beer. A "standard" military special forces-type operation will have several days of humping to the target, possibly another couple of days of observation, an hour or two of "shadowrun" followed by another couple of days walk to the evac site.

It's a big'ol difference between carrying tech that can be functional after the drive across town in an air conditioned, rigger-piloted vehicle vs. tech that can be functional after a hike over a mountain.
WearzManySkins
QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 25 2008, 06:39 AM) *
I won't hold my breath. They should have learned after Vietnam, or at least after Afghanistan (part 1). But if you look at Iraq and Afghanistan (part 2) you see hope beeing strapped to a chair and severly beaten. Changing tactics from "let's bomb the shit out of them" seems to be really hard.

Well even though the years have gone by since the Viet Nam conflict, the "Strap Hangers" and "Soda Jerks" in charge have not left. frown.gif Too much change scares them.

Not everything is made by the lowest bidder, SR-71 BlackBird, F-117 Strike Fighter, etc.

Just because a Corp is extra territorial does not mean they do not pay for infrastructure and the like, ie taxes to support a military. Besides Corps sell to the militaries all the nice toys, yes the Corps keep some for them selves.

Long Term money strategies for Corps it is better to have militaries to perform functions that cost a Corp too much money on the bottom line.

As for effectiveness, do not just look at the bad examples look at the Waffen SS/SS French Foreign Legion Units in the French-Indochina war, before the Strap Hangers and Soda Jerks took control, the Isreali raid on Entebbe, and many others.

WMS
kzt
QUOTE (DocTaotsu @ Mar 25 2008, 04:06 AM) *
No military vehicle is going to have locks because locks have a terrible habit of locking. And you’re some poor tanker who’s vehicle just got hit, you’re going to want to get the fuck out there with all due haste. If that shitty lock on your hatch won’t open because the shock jammed it... Yeah, you’re going to be a little upset. I could see some unpleasant government mandating locks, but I see individual teams sawing those bitches right off. No one likes burning to death because the goddamn door won’t open.

Too bad then that AFVs actually DO have locks. Because people don't like hatches flying open in combat, it's exceedingly bad for your health. And because people prefer not to have people steal combat vehicles.

See http://www.defencetalk.com/pictures/data/3...Bwreck-B006.jpg
Fuchs
Or a hatch that's open, but not secured properly, get loose. Freakiest such accident I ever saw was when we were doing daily maintenance, someone pushed open the big hatch in the back of the M-133 but did not secure it, and the wind blew it back, directly down on his head.
Spike
QUOTE (Fleming @ Mar 25 2008, 05:52 AM) *
2. Budget.
There's body armor available for soldiers right now. What was the percentage of US soldiers entering the Iraq war without body armor? Yes, the military can certainly GET the best equipment, but can they PAY for it? Umm, maybe in the next fiscal year...


Just to correct something here: The US soldier/body armor bit was only true during the very first months of the Iraq deployment. It was more the fact of the military getting caught with its pants down/not having purchased enough of the sparkly new armor for a wide scale mobilization yet. In fact a great number of soldiers DID have their armor, it was mostly the 'rear eschelon' units, that once again, no one expected to be fighting, that were shorted armor....

I say this because the latest news I've heard is that soldiers and marines are actually being issued TOO MUCH armor and are leaving parts off for mobility (something that makes me think most games don't penalize heavy duty armor enough.... everyone just straps completley up as much as they can and then sleeps in it....)
Whipstitch
Sixth World armor is way different though and doesn't particularly need nerfing. It's sprinkled with awesome and made of unobtainium. And no, that's not meant as a criticism of the setting. It's convenient and doesn't get in the way of doing my job as a GM. Anyway, Shadowrun's military fetishism was one of my longrunning least favorite facets of the setting, but that's no longer the case with SR4 mostly because you don't hear many tales of the military anyway. If the setting is going to make the military some big spooky operation that you don't even want to mess with, then they should just do us a favor and give us about as much rules and details on fighting the military as they currently give us about fighting dragons and immortal elves; ie, hardly any. And they've done that so far, thankfully. I feel much the same way about the perfectly locked down and well-scrubbed hardwired Matrix habits everyone believes they should use. Why have them in the setting at all or bother discussing them much if they're just going to be rolling around in vehicles that you A. Cannot have. B. Cannot be destroyed by things you can acquire and C. are piloted via hardwired systems you can't hope to circumvent? I don't really need the rules to help me come up with an invincible monstrosity to harrass my players with. I can just keep telling them "No, that's still not a high enough DV," and leave it at that. Honestly, if they're that much better than everyone, they really shouldn't be discussed much at all unless you're really interested in running a game that's vastly different in scope.
DocTaotsu
*shrugs*
I guess I stand corrected. But I have no idea what kind of vehicle is in that picture.

And let me be clear, when I say lock I mean something that has a key and exists primarily to keep people from getting into your vehicle. I've never been in a tank or an AAV but I assume they have some method for keeping the door closed once everyone is inside (especially the AAV, what with the whole amphibous thing). Of course that might just be a series of dogs or some variation on the water tight doors they use on ships.

Now... Vehicles that currently don't have "locks":
HMMWV, I haven't been in the uparmored ones but I've yet to see someone hunting for keys.
MTVR (7 Ton), including new uparmored version, although those come with a "firepole" so people can get out of them faster.
You can also add to the list every helo in the Marine Corps and Navy inventory.
They all have ways of keeping the door closed, some better than others (fun 2 hour drive while trying not to fall out onto the highway). But I still maintain they don't have "locks", like the kind you have on your car.

The too much armor thing is something I've been hearing about. One of the big issues on the Marine side of the house is the inclusion of SAPI plates that cover the sides (rather than the traditional front and back). It adds a bit of weight and it's pretty uncomfortable (makes you feel like a fat man). The new armor they've been issuing is currently under review as people have been making some very loud noises about how uncomfortable it is. I think the Army has started (or has the capability) to issue even more protective equipment. I've seen butt flaps, leg... flaps, and shoulder erm... pauldrons? Can only imagine how hard it is to move in all that, especially with the protectors that go around your legs.

DocTaotsu
@Whipstich= I agree, future armor=reasonably comfortable and easy to use. There's rules for wearing too much armor and they apply to those characters with such frail frames that it just doesn't make sense that they'd be able to wear it for long period of time (people with a body of 2). I can live with that.
Spike
I have balls of steel, when I was in Iraq, I never wore my groin protector. I couldn't imagine strapping on side plates or most of that other crap... despite feeling slightly vulnerable in the sides...

SHoulder armor? Maybe. I didn't mind the gorget at all, thought it looked badass... but then I'm Caaaarrraaaaaazzzzeeee!

or something...
Fleming
QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Mar 25 2008, 04:42 PM) *
Why have them in the setting at all or bother discussing them much if they're just going to be rolling around in vehicles that you A. Cannot have. B. Cannot be destroyed by things you can acquire and C. are piloted via hardwired systems you can't hope to circumvent? I don't really need the rules to help me come up with an invincible monstrosity to harrass my players with. I can just keep telling them "No, that's still not a high enough DV," and leave it at that. Honestly, if they're that much better than everyone, they really shouldn't be discussed much at all unless you're really interested in running a game that's vastly different in scope.


Amen to that.

From the way SR feels to me, there's no need for the PCs to go up against the military as an organization. Bar brawls against off-duty soldiers, yes. Dealing with crooked supply officers, yes. Sneaking into a military base for a (stealthy) run, yes. But going up against a military unit? With armored vehicles, artillery and drone air support?

No, that's not what runners do in my little corner of the universe. When faced with that kind of resistance, clever runners should be trying hard to get away before getting caught, or killed. Although I'm more of the "quantitiy vs. quality" thought school: yes, you may hack that drone. Yes, the sammy may kill that squad. But there's three more drones and three more squads behind them, and more on the way, and you just wasted time killing their friends that you'd better spent running away...

Not every soldier is equipped with high-tech-one-man-army gear. But every soldier is part of a larger group. He has backup, training, tactics, Battle Tac, map softs of the area, aerial recon, and he knows that time is on his side, since time will bring more of his friends to box in that annoying runner team.

In the end, not that much different from any mega's private army.
DocTaotsu
Spike= The real question is, if you truly have balls of steel, would you use your aforementioned balls as a platform for firing your M4/M16?
Whipstitch
I should perhaps clarify; I'm all for having a military sourcebook once Unwired, bestiary and settings books are out of the way. I just don't think that the way they've handled the military in SR4 so far has been inappropriate from what I've seen, since they way they've handled it is by acknowledging that the heaviest thing shadowrunners are likely to head up against is maybe a Red Samurai or Firewatch team in milspec body armor and tooled up urban assault vehicles like modified Citymasters (and that's if they really pissed somebody off). The warform biodrones, artillery and main battle tanks all busy being prepped for Desert Wars.
kzt
The basic issue I see is that the devs go "Gunz iz Funz", then decide that all the players should have neat-keno stuff they saw out of the corner of their eye on TV while getting drunk at a bar. But since players are not supposed to have 4 million nuyen.gif they can't make it cost that much, so they lower the helicopter to 250K. And since players won't ever want to spend 80,000 nuyen.gif on a missile they make it cost 5k, because everyone needs an ATGM, right? Then they design the game based on their firm belief that there isn't any difference between a 120mm tank gun and a heavy rifle (aka assault cannon) and produce the various insanities that we see based on this chain....
DocTaotsu
God... I can hear the whining already. But the artillery doesn't penetrate enough armor! The tank doesn't go fast enough! The jets don't carry enough bombs! It's costs too much! It costs too little! But isn't REAL!!! etc etc.

I think I'd rather get almost any other source book before the designers released a military books and immediately got crucified for not providing "SR: Advanced Squad Leader". I'm content with the odd bits of milspec gear they toss our way, like the shipboard gauss gun. I consider the military something of fluff for my games, not something I really want to work on the fine details on. A detailed "accurate" military would result in a very different game than the one currently presented. Some might find that attractive, I do not.
CircuitBoyBlue
My thoughts about a hypothetical military sourcebook:

1) When the shadowrun scene in my town started getting their grubby hands on Fields of Fire (not sure if that was exactly when it came out, but it seems like everyone got it at the same time), everyone wanted to make mercenary characters, and find an excuse for them to be running in Seattle so they could show the street sams up. I would hate if everyone in my group decided they wanted to make new characters that were soldiers mysteriously running the shadows. It would just alter the feel of the game, in my opinion.

2) On the other hand, it was kind of neat that Fields of Fire was deliberately supposed to be things that were supposed to be available to runners, but being in a different book kind of differentiated it, in a way. Our group generally said you needed to go to a fixer for stuff in the SSC, but an arms dealer for gear from FoF. Since not many people knew arms dealers (there's a shocker), when you saw a bunch of dudes equipped with stuff from FoF, you kind of knew that they weren't normal "street" types. That aspect of it actually helped the feel of the game, in my opinion.

But I guess the difference between FoF and a military sourcebook would be that FoF was stuff that player characters were supposed to be able to get, or at least encounter. The only military that ever rears its head in my games is the special forces, and they're basically the military's shadowrunners. Instead of going in with battalion strength and artillery support, they're usually 5-10 dudes with assault weapons and light enough armor to sneak around in, plus magic support and whatever drones can go in quietly. I can make all of that with what's in the main book, really. I usually just fudge the high-tech helicopters they come in on, or whatever.
Whipstitch
QUOTE (DocTaotsu @ Mar 25 2008, 11:52 AM) *
I think I'd rather get almost any other source book before the designers released a military books


Same here. I'm all for them making one... eventually. After the important stuff gets done. But I never said I'd buy it. wink.gif
Spike
Doc: I could, but it would make me very angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry......






Why yes, I DID see the new Hulk trailer last night, why do you ask?






More on topic: Cyberpunk 2020 provides an interesting illustration in that they did release a somewhat properly scaled supplement with all the military stuff in it. From my understanding (not being a forum rat back then... and forums being few and far between....) that most GMs wouldn't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole as it was 'game breakingly powerful' and most players alternated between drooling over the power armor/guns and running in terror from... well... just about anything that showed up in game.

Not because 'milspec automatically is better' but because true military hardware, and military mindsets, are anathema to small groups of people running around in urban environments being 'cool' for a living. The military can, and will, level city blocks if necessary to get you. Being sneaky doesn't help much when artillery is incoming.
DocTaotsu
Or some Azzie general order his Magical Service Corps to ritually summon a force 26 War Spirit to stomp all over you.

But yeah, exactly.
NativeRigger
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Mar 25 2008, 06:20 AM) *
Our tanks usually were locked up when not in use - all hatches but one barred from the inside (easily opened), and that hatch locked with a padlock. Of course, that's not stopping a dedicated thief, but that's what the guards are for.


If your tanks hatches are anything like a Bradley's, the locks can be externally removed in a few seconds with nothing more than a socket wrench.

-NR
GryMor
Given that the state of encryption is what it is in Shadowrun (I must assume that quantum computing or some other advance screwed encryption, as otherwise the rules just don't make sense), about the only way to really avoid being hacked is to go autistic, except then you can't coordinate. Running wired doesn't actually help as someone will splice into your network, and even autistic, your drones are vulnerable to a concealed micro drone slapping a wire into them.

The Megas are the ones with the equivalent of modern day mil spec gear, not the governments, and apparently they have a shrinkage problem, as it's turning up on the black market. As such, from a certain perspective, Shadowrunners are USING mil spec gear.
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (kzt @ Mar 25 2008, 12:51 PM) *
The basic issue I see is that the devs go "Gunz iz Funz", then decide that all the players should have neat-keno stuff they saw out of the corner of their eye on TV while getting drunk at a bar. But since players are not supposed to have 4 million nuyen.gif they can't make it cost that much, so they lower the helicopter to 250K. And since players won't ever want to spend 80,000 nuyen.gif on a missile they make it cost 5k, because everyone needs an ATGM, right?


Maybe stuff really is that much cheaper 60+ years from now -- it's no longer cutting-edge, the market's flooded from all the huge wars and depopulation of the 2020-2050s or so, that sort of thing.
Spike
Well, there is also the economies of scale to consider. I read an excellent review of the cost of the v-2 rocket online last month that illustrates this nicely.

Things cost alot because they are made in piddling amounts. The more of them you make, the cheaper, per unit, the cost. there is no reason for the stealth bomber to cost a billion a plane. To develop? certainly. To actually make? Not if they made the fucker out of solid gold.

If we assume a standardized production line of Yellowjackets, sold to corporations and third world tin pot dictators, it becomes feasable that the cost per unit did, in fact, drop to a quarter mil per unit. Ditto missiles.

Shrike30
QUOTE (Spike @ Mar 25 2008, 10:54 AM) *
More on topic: Cyberpunk 2020 provides an interesting illustration in that they did release a somewhat properly scaled supplement with all the military stuff in it. From my understanding (not being a forum rat back then... and forums being few and far between....) that most GMs wouldn't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole as it was 'game breakingly powerful' and most players alternated between drooling over the power armor/guns and running in terror from... well... just about anything that showed up in game.


Maximum Metal fucking rocked. Having some way of demonstrating to players exactly why they didn't belong screwing around with an MBT ("Look, guys... your ETC Rifle just ain't gonna do it") was entertaining, and every once in a while something took a potshot at them and they all got to run like hell. Powered armor was also entertaining.

I didn't have a problem with the stuff being in the game. Nobody really went for getting any of their own (kind of hard to justify having an IFV when you're cruising for girls in Night City, and you get a ticket for double parking even when you're up against the curb) but when it showed up, it was entertaining. And every once in a while, someone got hold of an ATGM, a Vulcan gun on a mount, or something else huge, and had a great time.
Heath Robinson
QUOTE (GryMor @ Mar 25 2008, 07:33 PM) *
Given that the state of encryption is what it is in Shadowrun (I must assume that quantum computing or some other advance screwed encryption, as otherwise the rules just don't make sense)

Rational reasoning; arms races don't advance until one side realises the other side has defeated their arms/armour and so your decryption techniques are going to be very advanced because they were developed for militaries during massive wars and the military would consider these techniques a top level secret. Whilst in the real world encryption development is spurred onwards by open academic criticism, the situations in wars would stifle this kind of thing and centralise all the encryption specialists into well protected, almost totally closed off development groups with their agendas dictated by military necessity.

Encryption development would be put on the back burner whilst these development groups focussed on cracking the enemy ecryption schemes unless they learned that the enemy had cracked their encryptions, at which point they'd develop better defenses. A lot of bodges that have only statistical reliability will be developed to speed the process of cracking keys, which explains the larger than normal variation in the cracking time.
Earlydawn
QUOTE (kzt @ Mar 25 2008, 01:06 AM) *
The whole "we don't have a clue what encryption really does, we'll make it useless" from the developers is largely to blame. Plus the fact that the developers don't seem to understand how to use google and hence have not the foggiest idea how much cool crap really costs. The little Javelin costs $80,000 per.

I've seen this before, in a space game. A bunch of the players wanted to be able to have their merchant ships fight warships. They didn't seem to like that a single antiship missile costs more than they will make in several trips, and you need to fire them in volleys to have a decent chance of damaging a small warship, while the warship's loadout of ordinance is worth several times what your entire ship cost new. The developer had a battle squadron as a plot device and some of the players insisted on getting stats, so they could fight them. For a pair of battleships + escorts capable of devastating an entire hostile star system. Right....
What game system is that? Sounds interesting.
kzt
QUOTE (Earlydawn @ Mar 25 2008, 03:29 PM) *
What game system is that? Sounds interesting.

Deep Night of Space, but Scott lost interest in that when he got the Honor Harrington space game deal. So not too much ever got done on it.
Lyonheart
One time pad encryption is unbreakable unless someone Fraks up.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad
The rigger in my game is a real life programmer he has a system for generating Pads using a radio and power line to pull down random snips of traffic, these are loaded into data chips inserted into his drones, commands or attempts to dive the drone are not accepted unless they use the pad.

Unhackable drones, period. Works both ways too. Heck, if you miss the old school data steal mission, there you go, steal the Pad.

The fact that this is missing in the core rules is simple, the nice people at Catalyst are game designers not computer programmers or cryptographers.
Malicant
The one-time pad is quite silly in SR since computing power is way higher than today so this thing can be actually broken by trial and error.

There is no such thing as unhackable. Swallow your pride and accept it. smile.gif
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