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I've only been in one game of Shadowrun where there was a decker involved. That is based on... a quote that I can't seem to find now that I'm looking for it. The quote, which was my introduction to deckers, had suggested that you have a separate night to do matrix runs with the decker. I'll post a reference later when I find it. Having read the threads where the matrix and magic are compared I got to extending the metaphor some. Accessing the "matrix" of a single computer, or even a LAN, would be the equivalent of a quick astral stroll through the building, with perhaps a few opponents tossed in. But a full on matrix run would better be compared to a full metaplanar quest, much like the initiate quests mentioned in Street Magic.

So far I've left Deckers out of the games I've run because I didn't want to deal with that. But with the new model for the Deckers activities, I can certainly justify the decker... provided we're dealing with no more than a LAN being searched. So, using the metaphor, how would you handle a single player going on a metaplanar quest, and by extension, how would you handle a lone decker making a run on a distant (I.E. Renraku Arcology or defense satelite) matrix run?

EDIT: For the record, this is in reference to SR2/3.
i'm getting a feeling this should have an SR3 tag on the thread... because this isn't really that big of a deal in SR4.
Depends. You can still do this in SR4. And if you do, then don't bore everyone else to tears. Things that take hours to resolve and have no way for other players to be involved are best done just 1:1.
Yeah, a guy doing a matrix run CAN be worked into a normal quest, but it is difficult for the GM.

Players in Firefight: "Hacker dude, deactivate these drones!"
Hacker: "As soon as I deal with this Black IC."

Running a Hacker's fight parallel to a meatworld fight is the equivalent of having two fights going on in different levels of the building, which can be done if everyone fits him into the normal initiative.

Now, you CAN have a runner who hacks into a security system and does some small manipulation, but you are going to have to keep it as simple as a mage going astral to give a building the once-over, and doing that wouldn't be too bad from a game point perspective. Just make sure that your Hacker understands that he isn't going to be doing "The Amazing cyber adventures of a hacker." that will take hours. He's in, disables a lock, and out.
When I first tried to post this I had the tag, but that one failed to go through, and I clearly forgot to add it the second time around.

Yeah, just got done reading through the 2E Matrix section and can't find it. I'll likely keep looking, but don't really know where I first saw it at. Only that the GM for that game pointed the section out to me when I created my Decker for the game, and that I've seen it since.

So then the answer, so far as there is one, is that larger Matrix runs can't be done during a normal session? But have to be handled on a separate night from the game?
And by extension that Metaplanar quests also should be handled separate from the game?

Hmm. That doesn't work for me. I've always been of a mind that if it doesn't happen at the table, during the game, then it shouldn't be of much consequence. If most of the players don't "see" it happen, then it isn't part of the story for them, and I'm disinclined to waste my time on something that only me and one other player will ever have notion of. Which has... interesting consequences for handling of the game (it just doesn't feel like shadowrun to me if the players don't have much access to the Matrix). Guess I'll have to think of something else then.
Deckers in sr3 can be brought into the group without a terrible hassle if:
1) everyone in the group is a decker. These can be fun games but are unlikely in most cases.
2) the systems being hacked aren't more than 1-2 nodes / systems are converted into 1-2 nodes to streamline the process. Usually this means going on site and decking the security console/databanks so there isn't much in his way. This will prevent matrix exploration and streamline most of the deckers operations so that his actions don't interfere with the pace of the game. Should you want to do a large network, that might be best 1 on 1.

At least that has helped our group in terms of making deckers useful without slowing down the pace of the game.
The best way I have seen solo type activities (decking, astral quests, etc.) done and kept the group involved was by breaking up the time spent on an individual player.

The GM gets the decker player started on his decking job. When a lull in the interaction arises, such as player indicision or rule look up, the GM switches to another player and asks them what they are doing. If it is downtime, they might be trying to find gear, upgrading skills, fixing/servicing gear, or astral questing. During a run, it might be during legwork, so everyone gets to say what they are doing to contribute to legwork. During the run, the other players get to declare what they are doing to defend their position and the bodies of the decker/magic types.

The GM just goes around the table giving everyone some play time, keeping everyone involved in the moment.

The decker/magician might be getting 5 mins. playing time versus the other players quick descriptions. It seems unfair until you think of all the combat time where the guys with 3 actions are getting the lions share of time versus the non-combat players with one or two actions.

Another option of keeping more people involved is to let non-involved players run the NPC opposition and/or be the rules guru. The rules guru simply mans the relevant rulebook ready to cite information for player and GM. Letting other players run the NPC usually results in nastier tactics as two players fight for their lives.
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