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StealthSigma
This is something that has explicitly bothered me after reading this thread. I'm looking for insightful feedback, not aggressive feedback, about the concerns that I have based on my perceptions.

From what I understand, in SR3 Riggers used to have their own rule set and could really only affect each other. They were safe from Deckers. In moving to SR4, rules were essentially condensed into one of three major categories, meat space, magical, and matrix. As such, Rigger then got lumped into the same rule set as dedicated Deckers. The comforting factor is that vehicle or drone which a Rigger is jumped into is immune to hacking. I've also been lead to believe there are two types of riggers, the drone rigger and the vehicle rigger. If you're of the vehicle rigger (who can drive anything on the planet), this thread isn't for you. You can already move into other roles easily enough. This is to express my concerns over a drone rigger.

First, I thought I should describe my definition of a Drone Rigger. A Drone Rigger fulfills other roles in the team through his drones. He provides combat ability through his drones. He provides first aid through his drones. A Drone Rigger can fulfill any role through which you can get an Activesoft. That is the basis for my definition of the Drone Rigger. Add onto this an ability to effectively drive vehicles.

Second, I consider a core competent character to be able to fulfill it's archetype without reliance on other PCs or NPCs and without positive or negative qualities. This is very important. If a character needs to take negative qualities to fulfill its core competency, something is wrong with the archetype. The negative qualities I view as a way to offset positive qualities as well as pull in some more BP to use on ancillary skills, contacts, or edge.

This leads to my first major concern. The Drone Rigger is extremely vulnerable to Deckers due to combining both Archetypes into the same rules and allowing them to affect each other. This means that unless the Drone Rigger only brings one drone into an area and is constantly jumped into it, his armada of drones is vulnerable to any individual with the ability to hack. This in turn leads to a Drone Rigger being required to actively defend his drones, or rely on the drones firewall which can eventually be breached by a Decker. Even worse, the Drone Rigger could be reliant on having a dedicated Decker in the team to deal with other Deckers so the Drone Rigger doesn't have to. Chances are the dedicated Decker is likely to be more skilled than the Drone Rigger and it will very likely be a losing battle for the Drone Rigger.

My second major concern with Drone Riggers compared to other archetypes is their overall cost. You already know that with so many drones, Activesofts, vehicles, and augmentations you will be running a high bill at character creation. I tend to assume that Drone Riggers will run very close to the 250,000:nuyen: limit on character creation. Can you fit a core competent rigger in 350 BP? All the appropriate stats, skills, contacts, and edge? Compare this to about any other archetype. So you spend 250,000:nuyen: on augments for your street sammy. Are you at risk of having large portions of that cost being nullified, stolen, or destroyed by one single archetype? Even if you spend 250,000:nuyen: on materials for your magician, do you have to ever worry about permanent losing those spells because of what another character does? Even so, you will probably find that you can easily fulfill the core competency of most other archetypes within 350BP.

My third major concern. Due to my second major concern, it causes using non-humans to be a detriment to fulfilling the Drone Rigger's core competency. Dwarf is the only metatype which provides any bonuses that are useful to rigging, which is just +1 willpower. The other meta-types do not provide any meaningful contribution to the archetype. So you're hurting yourself by limiting the BP which you have to fulfill your core competency. This leads to Trolls, Elves, and Orks being highly undesirable towards Drone Rigger, which humans being the best suited for the archetype. I tend to view races in an open ended character creation to be a style opportunity, where any race should be capable of performing the archetype good from character creation. Due to concern #2, I don't see a Drone Rigger as an archetype that is open to every race.

My fourth major concern. The juggling act you have to do between skills and gear in order to fulfill your core competency. If you want to repair your drones, you either have the mechanic skills yourself, get a skill wire with activesofts, get drones with the activesofts, or take the drones in to an NPC for repair. The 1st option is the most expensive, BP wise, but it doesn't eat into your resources. The 2nd and 3rd options eat into your resources, thus limiting your drone pool variety. The 4th option requires you to spend BP on a contact. Options 2-4 likely will cost similar in BP. Now to make sure I fully articulate why I see this as a problem. You have to juggle these options to meet your core competency. This isn't deciding how you want to deal with repairing your drones, this becomes a matter of fitting your core competency in 350BP + 250,000:nuyen: in resources. This is completely ignoring the detriment of my third concern.

My fifth major concern. To make a core competent Drone Rigger you should not need to take In Debt or Born Rich just to make sure you can cover your costs.

All of these concerns together lead me to a conclusion that the Drone Rigger is not a self-sufficient archetype within the constraints of a run as well has having huge weaknesses that make up for their versatility and power. In turn, when compared to other archetypes the Drone Rigger requires a much higher upfront investment, both in BP and nuyen than other mundane archetypes, and is at best on comparable BP/nuyen investments as awakened characters, which are considerably less vulnerable than the Drone Rigger. The rules changes to lump everything into one of a few categories has lead to opening up the Drone Rigger to considerable weakness without adequately providing some compensation to mitigate that weakness, or make the build cheaper. The only way for a Rigger to mitigate the risk from hackers or other riggers is to utilize one drone and constantly be jumped into it.
Karoline
I don't have my books on me, so I can't find the exact page to reference you to, but if you read very closely under the command program, it mentions that in order for it to work, you first have to copy the original user's signature or something along those lines, which I believe can only be gotten from the original commlink that the drone accepts commands from.

I believe this rule is generally ignored, because it would make using the command program virtually impossible for most hacking circumstances, but it is one you might want to force into the open when playing a drone rigger because it means that the hacker first has to hack into your own private commlink, get that signature, hack into the drone, and then be able to command it. At any of these points, you can rely on a simple reboot of your commlink or drone to get the hacker out, and give him/her dumpshock.

Things like running in silent mode (Which you should be doing anyway... or whatever it is called, don't remember off hand) and ENCRYPTING YOUR SIGNAL make it much more difficult for the hacker to even figure out that you are there, and then more difficult to actually do anything to you. Fighting off a hacker is all about making them burn as much time as possible getting to you, and then hitting them with dumpshock once they are there. It takes an amazing hacker to get into a good system quickly without being noticed.

Your other concerns are all fairly similar, and basically amount to the high cost of making an effective Rigger (Both in nuyen.gif and BP). To this I counter that Riggers also have the highest survivability of any Archetype. If they are truly acting as Drone Riggers, they need not even be in the field of combat, and if they are in the field, they tend to be near the edge. This makes them near impossible to kill or track down. So yeah, maybe you lose a 30k drone, but the sammy is dead.

Combat drones can be as tough or tougher than most sammies, so the risk of them being destroyed is somewhat on par with the risk of a sammy ending up near dead.

I admit I've never played a dedicated Rigger before, so I'm not 100% certain about all of the combat things, but as I usually run a hacker, I'm fairly certain about the countermeasures for hackers.

As for the cost requirement in nuyen.gif... like I said, not played a rigger myself, but many other Archetypes can be very expensive to be properly effective. I almost always seem to be knocking on that 250k limit... Then again, I'm greedy and like my running toys.
The Monk
Is a vehicle that a rigger is jumped into immune from being hacked because you can just turn off the wireless signal or is there some other rule that says this?
Dashifen
QUOTE (Karoline @ Sep 21 2009, 11:05 AM) *
I don't have my books on me, so I can't find the exact page to reference you to, but if you read very closely under the command program, it mentions that in order for it to work, you first have to copy the original user's signature or something along those lines, which I believe can only be gotten from the original commlink that the drone accepts commands from.

I believe this rule is generally ignored, because it would make using the command program virtually impossible for most hacking circumstances, but it is one you might want to force into the open when playing a drone rigger because it means that the hacker first has to hack into your own private commlink, get that signature, hack into the drone, and then be able to command it. At any of these points, you can rely on a simple reboot of your commlink or drone to get the hacker out, and give him/her dumpshock.


You are correct, though I don't ignore the rules. It makes spoofing too easy and too powerful if you can do it willy-nilly without any effort. You must have the Access ID of an authorized user in order to Spoof a command. The Command program actually only works if you actually ARE and authorized user. Otherwise, you must spoof. In order to gain the Access ID you must use a Matrix Perception test on the authorized user which is most often found using a Capture Wireless Traffic action and then Tracing the communication back to its source. You may need to decrypt the traffic, as well, prior to capturing it. The trick is doing all of this before combat turns begin because it's going to take some time to perform if you need to do it during combat. Usually, my riggers have actually attempted to do this during Legwork portions of the run in an effort to try and identify the Access IDs of one or more security spiders which they hope to use during the run to spoof commands.

The upside to Spoofing is that an alert is never thrown. If a Spoofed command is not appropriate, the drone or device simply discards the information after ignoring it. Sure, you could hack the building just to open a door (or hack the door to do so as well) but if you set off an alert while doing so, the full might of the security might come down on you. If you get the right information during Legwork and then restrict yourself to spoofing (at least until spoofing fails to work) instead of hacking, you can get away with a lot more before problems begin.

The next question, might be, how do those problems begin and that depends on the attention level and perception capabilities of who ever might be monitoring the system. If it's a security rigger dedicated to doing nothing but watch the network for odd occurrences, I would not reduce their matrix perception in anyway. A spider sitting in AR who's job is not system security until after an alert is thrown is likely to be facing -2 to -6 (he's at least distracted, might be not paying attention at all) to his matrix perception to notice things going strangely.
Dashifen
QUOTE (The Monk @ Sep 21 2009, 11:18 AM) *
Is a vehicle that a rigger is jumped into immune from being hacked because you can just turn off the wireless signal or is there some other rule that says this?


Not sure. It's nothing I've ever come across and I think the original poster might be mistaken. Otherwise, rigged security systems couldn't be hacked (since the security rigger can jump into them) and that would be quite problematic for the game, IMO.
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Dashifen @ Sep 21 2009, 01:21 PM) *
Not sure. It's nothing I've ever come across and I think the original poster might be mistaken. Otherwise, rigged security systems couldn't be hacked (since the security rigger can jump into them) and that would be quite problematic for the game, IMO.


When a rigger is jumped in, the drone's pilot is disabled and the drone only responds only to the rigger. Perhaps I misread, but at best that would mean an attacker against the drone would have to somehow kick the rigger out of the drone in order to hijack it and give it other commands.
McCummhail
QUOTE (The Monk @ Sep 21 2009, 01:18 PM) *
Is a vehicle that a rigger is jumped into immune from being hacked because you can just turn off the wireless signal or is there some other rule that says this?

You cannot spoof a device being actively controlled by a jumped in rigger.
You can exploit and hack a device being actively controlled by a jumped in rigger.

It is a subtle difference that makes a big difference in play.
rob
In order to make your drone rigger effective vs. a hacker, you have to spend most of your time in your programs and autosofts coming up with a good communications architecture. Making drone riggers is hard at character generation, because they have a lot of moving pieces.

The following habits should prevent utter takeover:
1. Carefully circumscribed network. Run your drones only on communications directly within signal range of the main commlink, and turn off every bit of it from the wider matrix (including the main commlink). if possible, try not to use retrans units.
2. Use a lot of encryption.
3. Have some agents with analyze, the electronic warfare autosoft, and drones with the RF signal scanner sensor at rating 6. Look for him while he's after you.
4. Have scripts for what to do if you detect that you're under attack.
5. Use nonstandard wireless links.
6. Most of the time, I use sensor software and issue instructions to my drones about when to talk, so there's relatively little to capture, as well.

This will mean that an enemy hacker cannot use scan to find you, rather has to use sniffer. He will have to intercept and decrypt your traffic, and then attempt to hack your drones. If he's trying a brute-force hack, you have the drones turn off its wireless link and go home. If he's attempting an exploit, well, you're listening for him on sniffer, too, so he had better beat you before you figure out where he is.

You're still vulnerable, but you will have invested heavily in making your network invisible and elusive, and your drones slow to hack. He has invested in hacking your drones, but he can't do that if you spend effort denying him anything to hack.

One of the other advantages of drone riggers is that they can get VERY good over time and money. They are almost infinitely scalable.
Dashifen
QUOTE (McCummhail @ Sep 21 2009, 12:36 PM) *
You cannot spoof a device being actively controlled by a jumped in rigger.
You can exploit and hack a device being actively controlled by a jumped in rigger.

It is a subtle difference that makes a big difference in play.


Can you provide a page reference? I can't find that in the neither the Spoofing nor Rigging sections of SR4A. It's likely that you're correct and I'm just not looking in the correct place.
The Monk
A tactic I have been batting around to make a drone fleet unhackable is the use of scripts and beam links. The idea is to give each drone a set of scripts that the drone will run for a given amount of time at which point it will await for the next command to run another script (since the drone and rigger has to be stationary to use the beam link).

Examples of scripts are:
always stay within line of sight and 6 meters of rigger
scan for hostiles
if hostiles are detected engage for 12 seconds and then await for instructions

always stay within line of sight and 6 meters of rigger
engage targets that rigger is attacking for 12 seconds or until target is eliminated
await further instructions

name these scripts attack pattern alpha and beta for style points.
d1ng0d0g
The cheapest option for Drone security is to give the Pilot a list of unacceptable commands.

As some said before, scripting is also useful.

Slave them to a master node with massive protection. This will return all connections an opposing hacker makes to the Master node where you can put down some massive security. The only thing the opposing hacker can then do is Spoof commands as if they were coming from the master node or attempt to hack that Master Node.

Equipping drones with facial and voice recognition software is an interesting option as well. Then turn of the wireless until a very specific password protected command is given to them by someone in person.

***

And I'm not entirely certain if this trick would work, but you could set all your drones to an alternating access ID from which they accept their commands. This can be done by having several devices on hand which function as a proxy server. That way the opposing hacker will only get one access ID from you, which at the time he can use it, won't work anymore.
deek
Nothing is unhackable.

The sooner we all can cope with that fact, the sooner we can always just play the game and have some fun.

I can just see some of these tactics used in a real game and the player getting quite angry when the GM says the drone was hacked. While these are all good theories, remember the GM is driving a story, so if he needs to hack your drone for some important reason, he's going to make it happen. The other 99% of the time, you will probably be safe running you drones with little to no security, cause the GM isn't really wanting or needing to hack your drones.

Unless your GM is a dick and he's constantly hacking your comms, stealing your drones, ripping out your ware and blowing up your apartment, I think some of this is a bit excessive...
Karoline
QUOTE (deek @ Sep 21 2009, 02:17 PM) *
Nothing is unhackable.

The sooner we all can cope with that fact, the sooner we can always just play the game and have some fun.

I can just see some of these tactics used in a real game and the player getting quite angry when the GM says the drone was hacked. While these are all good theories, remember the GM is driving a story, so if he needs to hack your drone for some important reason, he's going to make it happen. The other 99% of the time, you will probably be safe running you drones with little to no security, cause the GM isn't really wanting or needing to hack your drones.

Unless your GM is a dick and he's constantly hacking your comms, stealing your drones, ripping out your ware and blowing up your apartment, I think some of this is a bit excessive...


Very good points.
StealthSigma
So far, I really haven't seen many people address whether the cost of a Drone Rigger is in line with their effectiveness and vulnerability compared to other archetypes. The only person that has even touched this is rob stating that Drone Riggers are hard to make because of a number of moving pieces.

So far all I have seen is gimmicks to mitigate the vulnerability.

The point is that a Rigger's effectiveness from 100k in drones is lost if those drones no longer respond to the Rigger or are acting on the Rigger's commands. If that Rigger spend 250k on resources, he now has the resources of a 150k character. That 250k street sammy or magicians very likely will always have their 250k of resources available to them. My concern is how much of the versatility Rigger's have via autosofts and drones is offset by the inherent vulnerability of drones, and if this vulnerability does indeed offset the versatility benefit does the average BP cost of Riggers compared to other archetypes is appropriate. I've also not seen anyone state whether they do feel like they need negative qualities in order to make a good human Drone Rigger. I would like someone to validate that perception of mine, since as I said that is a huge flaw in an archetype if you have to take negative qualities to make it good.

Like I previously said, one of my concerns lies with using other metatypes beyond Human and Dwarf. Dwarf at least partially offsets its cost with the bonus Willpower, however each other metatype does not contribute towards the archetype, so you're pissing away points, potentially a lot of points depending on the metatype. Taking negative qualities to support a less effective metatype seems fine to me.
d1ng0d0g
As for cost. You could always steal drones.

Just make sure that all tags are removed from them, and you have yourself a new drone.
Karoline
I actually addressed it to some extent, in that any case in which you are likely to lose a drone, you are likely to lose a sammy. So yes, the rigger loses some resources (Very very unlikely to lose 100k unless you've really really screwed something up), but the sammy loses the character. Now, given the limited repercussions of losing a character in SR, maybe you'd -rather- have your character die than lose a big chunk of their resources, but I think in the most part, people are willing to trade resources for the continued existence of your character.

So the tradeoff is resources for enhanced survivability. A rigger is more likely to make less on a run due to losing equipment than a sammy, but a rigger is also more likely to survive the run. This is similar to a hacker. A hacker stands to lose his commlink if he gets in over his head, but he isn't very likely to die because of it.

Also, if your GM is being really picky about hackers going after your drones, don't forget that cyberware can be hacked as well. Most people will fall back on the 'My character keeps all his ware off when on runs.' but ask the GM to enforce people keeping track of this sort of thing. Not every runner knows to do that, it isn't inate knowledge. Also keep in mind that most people wouldn't have a means to turn their cyberware wireless back -on- if they ever turned it off. And if a hacker really wants, there is some nanotech fun that invades a body and not only forces all cyberware into wireless on mode, it automatically slaves the cyberware to a spesific commlink... oh the fun of controling the sammy's cyber arm that holds his pistol.

Personally I think your reading way too much into the concern of being hacked. Unless your GM is just really being a pisser about it, your not going to run into an elite hacker every time you walk outside who wants nothing more than to steal your drones, and a moderate level of defense should be enough to keep yourself safe.

As for metatypes.... well, that is just how things go. Not every metatype makes a good everything. Not many troll/orc hackers, or elves for that matter. In the same line your not going to see many troll/ork infiltrators or faces. You won't see many elf tanks, and an elf melee fighter tends to be rarer than an orc/troll one thanks to the strength benefit. Mages can benifit from the high con of a troll/ork, but I think they are somewhat less common than other races thanks to limited mental stats.

Part of your problem is that you've looked at rigger and said "Here is every bad point about them... and no other archetype has anything bad about them." Each archetype has advantages and disadvantages. I could look at mages and say "How can I make an effective mage character when I have to burn all these BP on magician quality and raising my magic and bonding my foci and all my karma goes to initiation and I'm expected to be physically competent on top of having to buy a half dozen specialized magic skills and I need mental stats to be good at my magic and ........?"
McCummhail
QUOTE (Dashifen @ Sep 21 2009, 01:52 PM) *
Can you provide a page reference? I can't find that in the neither the Spoofing nor Rigging sections of SR4A. It's likely that you're correct and I'm just not looking in the correct place.
Search-fu!
QUOTE
Hacking and Spoofing
Another way to fight a rigger is to take control of her drones. Hacking
a drone can give you full control over it. The drawback to hacking is
that it takes time. Spoofing is faster, but limited in what you can do.
Spoofing also requires that you have the rigger’s access ID, which may
necessitate the Track program if she is in a remote location. Still, a
single command, such as “unload your weapon? or “reboot? can take
a drone out of a fight.
Such hijacking attempts against your drones can be foiled by
jumping into a device. A jumped-in rigger overrides any other control
of the drone, including by its Pilot.
There is this.

Also, even if a rigger is jumped-in there is the old kick-in-the-door style involving hacking-on-the-fly, cybercombat and various other things that are a lot of work and fairly involved.
But I view this as an even trade. That is a lot of work for someone for potentialy minimal pay-off.
If I can keep the Hacker tied up for 10+ passes this way then tracing, dumping, resetting, etc are possible.
Also, the course of a firefight is often decided in less.

EDIT: avoiding double-post
QUOTE ( @ Sep 21 2009, 03:34 PM) *
...snip...
I've also not seen anyone state whether they do feel like they need negative qualities in order to make a good human Drone Rigger. I would like someone to validate that perception of mine, since as I said that is a huge flaw in an archetype if you have to take negative qualities to make it good.
I am curious what standards you are using to define 'good'.
At a previous table I played at, the GM discouraged negative qualities due to experiences with min/max'ers.
We had several drone riggers deployed at the table over time. The only one I would say was a bad character was the one that tried to tackle all that entailed rigging in one fell swoop as a starting character.
This was the same issue we saw with a first time magician character that tried to do everything possible magically in one fell swoop as a starting character.

Are you asking too much of a rigger character at character creation?
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Karoline @ Sep 21 2009, 03:54 PM) *
I actually addressed it to some extent, in that any case in which you are likely to lose a drone, you are likely to lose a sammy. So yes, the rigger loses some resources (Very very unlikely to lose 100k unless you've really really screwed something up), but the sammy loses the character. Now, given the limited repercussions of losing a character in SR, maybe you'd -rather- have your character die than lose a big chunk of their resources, but I think in the most part, people are willing to trade resources for the continued existence of your character.

So the tradeoff is resources for enhanced survivability. A rigger is more likely to make less on a run due to losing equipment than a sammy, but a rigger is also more likely to survive the run. This is similar to a hacker. A hacker stands to lose his commlink if he gets in over his head, but he isn't very likely to die because of it.


Actually yes, losing resources, for a Drone Rigger, would be a reason to scrub the character and make a new one. If the Rigger is constantly having to replace his drones without contribution from the rest of the team, meaning that the Rigger is barely making any profit if not taking a loss every run, why in the world would the Rigger continue on with that team? It would be like you having to supply your own laptop for my job, and it getting constantly destroyed thanks to the ineptitude of other employees. Would you stay at that job if they company didn't bother to compensate you for the destroyed laptops? A drone may be disposable, but it is in no way a consumable.

QUOTE
As for metatypes.... well, that is just how things go. Not every metatype makes a good everything. Not many troll/orc hackers, or elves for that matter. In the same line your not going to see many troll/ork infiltrators or faces. You won't see many elf tanks, and an elf melee fighter tends to be rarer than an orc/troll one thanks to the strength benefit. Mages can benifit from the high con of a troll/ork, but I think they are somewhat less common than other races thanks to limited mental stats


Okay, thanks for bringing in the min-maxer perspective. Yes, some races will be better than others at an archetype, and others will be the best. Stereotypes are meant to be broken, but if breaking the stereotype means the character is exceedingly underpowered there's something wrong.

QUOTE
Part of your problem is that you've looked at rigger and said "Here is every bad point about them... and no other archetype has anything bad about them." Each archetype has advantages and disadvantages. I could look at mages and say "How can I make an effective mage character when I have to burn all these BP on magician quality and raising my magic and bonding my foci and all my karma goes to initiation and I'm expected to be physically competent on top of having to buy a half dozen specialized magic skills and I need mental stats to be good at my magic and ........?"


No my problem is that I've looked at the cost of creating various archetypes, and wondered "Why is a Rigger so much more expensive, and is that expense justified?" The Rigger, as far as I can tell, has one of the larger sets of required attributes. They have one of the largest skill sets among archetypes. You've brought up one reason, survivability, which is tenuous at best since it entirely depends on how frequently you encounter large numbers in combat. A Decker also doesn't need to go on the run physically. You're basing your entire argument of survivability on an aspect that a cheaper archetype also shares. An archetype that also has a lot of BP to fling around on whatever he wants to build whatever versatility he may want.

Even if the costs for Drone Riggers are appropriate it all leads to a situation where attribute and skill wise, all Drone Riggers will look alike. Their uniqueness between Drone Riggers will solely be in the domain of their chosen qualities and drone armada. That is an outcome I utterly despise. I want to see differences in skills and attributes beyond +1 here, -1 there. I want to see Drone Riggers that can have differing skills and still be effective. Your street sammy can choose blades, he can choose unarmed, or he can choose clubs. You can probably make each style of melee equally as effective.
The Monk
The variety in the drone fleet rigger is that a sammy can do it, a hacker can do it, a magician can do it, an adept can do it, anyone can do it, and if you have a deck optimized for defense, then you are almost as protected as a dedicated drone rigger against a hacker.
StealthSigma
QUOTE (McCummhail @ Sep 21 2009, 03:58 PM) *
EDIT: avoiding double-post
I am curious what standards you are using to define 'good'.
At a previous table I played at, the GM discouraged negative qualities due to experiences with min/max'ers.
We had several drone riggers deployed at the table over time. The only one I would say was a bad character was the one that tried to tackle all that entailed rigging in one fell swoop as a starting character.
This was the same issue we saw with a first time magician character that tried to do everything possible magically in one fell swoop as a starting character.

Are you asking too much of a rigger character at character creation?


I'm wondering if perhaps by having multiple riggers, it makes it a lot easier to cover up weaknesses by focusing each rigger on "class" of drones as defined by the piloting skill it uses. That definitely relaxes the requirements as opposed to having a single rigger where the party may need naval or air drones to supplement them for whatever reason. As is there are benefits to designating both anthroform and groundcraft style drones as your "primary" jump in drone. The ability for each Rigger to draw on each other for aid is something a lone rigger does not get.

My basic definition of good is that the Drone Rigger is capable of fulfilling its core competency without requiring other characters. What I consider the core competency of a Drone Rigger is that "a Drone Rigger can fulfill any role through which you can get an Activesoft. That is the basis for my definition of the Drone Rigger. Add onto this an ability to effectively drive vehicles." The most obvious example I can think of is that a Rigger should not be reliant on an NPC or other PC to fix, upgrade, and service his drones. This requires you to spend BP on skills, get a skillwire and activesofts, or just equip one of your drones to to perform the maintenance. The second example I can think of is being able to defend a drone that is being hijacked.

Also, the other thread brought up the question of why even have the Drone Rigger archetype anymore? There's nothing preventing a sammy, a mage, or any other character from running drones. All it does is keeps them from effectively jumping in.
Paul
QUOTE (deek @ Sep 21 2009, 03:17 PM) *
Nothing is unhackable.


I think that's exactly the point. Why would anyone use a wireless connection with anything they value? The answer is of course, they wouldn't. So while the wireless world is okay for John and Jane Q Public, I don't think it'd see nearly the same kind of usage in the "Shadows".

For those of you who watch modern pop culture TV look at the first season of Battlestar Galactica. Watch how fast, in the pilot, the machines hacked through anything on the network,and what the results were. I think it has bearing on this conversation.
Sponge
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 03:34 PM) *
The point is that a Rigger's effectiveness from 100k in drones is lost if those drones no longer respond to the Rigger or are acting on the Rigger's commands. If that Rigger spend 250k on resources, he now has the resources of a 150k character. That 250k street sammy or magicians very likely will always have their 250k of resources available to them.


Mages can lose fetishes, foci, and summoning materials. Sams can have their cyberware damaged in combat. And both of those archetypes are more likely to be in the direct line of fire than the rigger - as someone said, the rigger may lose their drones, but the sam ends up dead....
McCummhail
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 04:41 PM) *
I'm wondering if perhaps by having multiple riggers, it makes it a lot easier to cover up weaknesses by focusing each rigger on "class" of drones as defined by the piloting skill it uses. That definitely relaxes the requirements as opposed to having a single rigger where the party may need naval or air drones to supplement them for whatever reason. As is there are benefits to designating both anthroform and groundcraft style drones as your "primary" jump in drone. The ability for each Rigger to draw on each other for aid is something a lone rigger does not get.

My basic definition of good is that the Drone Rigger is capable of fulfilling its core competency without requiring other characters. What I consider the core competency of a Drone Rigger is that "a Drone Rigger can fulfill any role through which you can get an Activesoft. That is the basis for my definition of the Drone Rigger. Add onto this an ability to effectively drive vehicles." The most obvious example I can think of is that a Rigger should not be reliant on an NPC or other PC to fix, upgrade, and service his drones. This requires you to spend BP on skills, get a skillwire and activesofts, or just equip one of your drones to to perform the maintenance. The second example I can think of is being able to defend a drone that is being hijacked.

Also, the other thread brought up the question of why even have the Drone Rigger archetype anymore? There's nothing preventing a sammy, a mage, or any other character from running drones. All it does is keeps them from effectively jumping in.
I would equally question the validity of "Street Samurai", "Hacker" and the other non-exclusive archetypes. The beauty of the open ended archetypes is their fluidity. Only "magic" is an exclusive club these days (and for this discussion I am including technomancers). The technical and 'mundane' side of things is open and interconnected, much like the wireless of the 2070's. As archetypes they are a starting point and can all be thrown out the window. I prefer to have the drone rigger archetype around to plant the seed in players minds as to what is possible.

I think that your notion of what a drone rigger is, is actually one step too large for me. I see a vehicle rigger as someone who can drive vehicles effectively, can provide vehicular support, and can maintain/protect their vehicles. A drone rigger is someone who can effectively command their drones, provide surveillance/firepower/technical support, and who can maintain/protect their drones.

Coincidentally, the most fun I have had with drones was with a team that had one dedicated drone rigger and the rest dabbled in drones. It was better than a tacnet for intel and more vicious than HRT team in combat, all because of the fluid inter-connectivity that seems to be threatening "the niche".
Paul
QUOTE (Sponge @ Sep 21 2009, 05:00 PM) *
Mages can lose fetishes, foci, and summoning materials.


Which they don't need to cast spells.

QUOTE
Sams can have their cyberware damaged in combat.


Which they don't need to kick your ass, or shoot you.

QUOTE
And both of those archetypes are more likely to be in the direct line of fire than the rigger...


That is subjective, and depends on how you play the game.

QUOTE
...as someone said, the rigger may lose their drones, but the sam ends up dead....


True enough-to a point, but there's dead and then there's dead! smile.gif Depending on how you're doing it this may never even be a factor in the game. With the right strategy and tactics your street samurai may never even fire a shot. On the other hand, of course, the game can be a brutally simple gun fest!
Kerrang
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 03:30 PM) *
Actually yes, losing resources, for a Drone Rigger, would be a reason to scrub the character and make a new one. If the Rigger is constantly having to replace his drones without contribution from the rest of the team, meaning that the Rigger is barely making any profit if not taking a loss every run, why in the world would the Rigger continue on with that team? It would be like you having to supply your own laptop for my job, and it getting constantly destroyed thanks to the ineptitude of other employees. Would you stay at that job if they company didn't bother to compensate you for the destroyed laptops? A drone may be disposable, but it is in no way a consumable.


If your Drone Rigger is constantly having to replace his drones without contribution from the rest of the team, then your team has not quite grokked the meaning of the word 'team'. At my table, the Rigger (she is less of a drone rigger than a general rigger, but she still uses plenty of drones), is quite often the beneficiary of the ill-gotten gains of the rest of the team. They steal a vehicle, drone, or just random gear that no one wants, she ends up with it. If the Mages or the TM are wallowing in unused Nuyen (and they quite often are), they are never unwilling to slide some her way to pay for whatever she needs. They know the Rigger is watching over them, and has the ability to pull their irons out of the fire when things go really wrong, so they keep her happy.

Maybe you need to have words with your 'team'.
Karoline
QUOTE (Paul @ Sep 21 2009, 05:08 PM) *
True enough-to a point, but there's dead and then there's dead! smile.gif Depending on how you're doing it this may never even be a factor in the game. With the right strategy and tactics your street samurai may never even fire a shot. On the other hand, of course, the game can be a brutally simple gun fest!


If the sammy never fires a shot, the rigger should never lose a drone.

As to the OP, I think your problem is that you define the Rigger as being able to do anything and everything at any and all times. Rigger does not equal jack-of-all-trades. A rigger needs to specialize just like any other archetype does. A sammy doesn't use pistols, rifles, blades, clubs, and assault weapons while planning on being an infiltrator and face. A sammy specializes in one or two weapon types and maybe one side ability.

Sure, a mage doesn't -need- foci and summoning materials, but they help. A rigger doesn't need a dozen drones, but they help. And a sammy that looses their reflexes is likely in even more trouble than a rigger that loses a single drone.

Also, I'm not sure how Riggers are the most demanding class in stats, they don't really need str, bod, or cha. They don't get dumpshock that often, so willpower isn't that nessicary. Don't remember if they need Agi or not to be able to fire weapons through their drones... seems odd that they would, who cares how agile their meat body is? The main ones they need are reaction for piloting, and logic for mechanic type skills, everything else is of limited importance.

I have a request of you. Would you mind throwing us a character sheet of a Rigger for you? Point out why you have what you have, and where you desperately need more points so that you can function properly. I'll do the same, and see what I come up with, though it'll take a while as I've not done a rigger before, just a bit of dabbling as a hacker (Usually some spy drones only)
Dashifen
QUOTE (McCummhail @ Sep 21 2009, 02:58 PM) *
Search-fu! There is this.


Silly me ... I looked for that information under "Jumping In" not "Hacking and Spoofing." Thanks!
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Karoline @ Sep 21 2009, 05:38 PM) *
If the sammy never fires a shot, the rigger should never lose a drone.

As to the OP, I think your problem is that you define the Rigger as being able to do anything and everything at any and all times. Rigger does not equal jack-of-all-trades. A rigger needs to specialize just like any other archetype does. A sammy doesn't use pistols, rifles, blades, clubs, and assault weapons while planning on being an infiltrator and face. A sammy specializes in one or two weapon types and maybe one side ability.

Sure, a mage doesn't -need- foci and summoning materials, but they help. A rigger doesn't need a dozen drones, but they help. And a sammy that looses their reflexes is likely in even more trouble than a rigger that loses a single drone.

Also, I'm not sure how Riggers are the most demanding class in stats, they don't really need str, bod, or cha. They don't get dumpshock that often, so willpower isn't that nessicary. Don't remember if they need Agi or not to be able to fire weapons through their drones... seems odd that they would, who cares how agile their meat body is? The main ones they need are reaction for piloting, and logic for mechanic type skills, everything else is of limited importance.

I have a request of you. Would you mind throwing us a character sheet of a Rigger for you? Point out why you have what you have, and where you desperately need more points so that you can function properly. I'll do the same, and see what I come up with, though it'll take a while as I've not done a rigger before, just a bit of dabbling as a hacker (Usually some spy drones only)


It's not that you can't do it, it's that it requires almost all your BP to do it. You compare that to the required BP for other archetypes to fill their roles and it's stupidly expensive in comparison. With the exception of jumping into drones and vehicles, the drone pool isn't an advantage since any character can now utilize it. There's nothing preventing a sammy from getting a pair of doberman's that have standing orders to follow and defend the sammy. Best part is that sammy can even entirely shut down their wireless link. So he doesn't even have to worry about a hacker. So not only can other archetypes utilize drones, they can use them more effectively since they will more frequently have LoS to their drones and thus mitigate most of the issue with the drone being hijacked. Any character that goes in on the meat can have drones with him to supplement him in combat or otherwise. There's no innate benefit to an armchair rigger aside from the withdrawal from combat, and that benefit comes at the price of his drones now being far easier to crack than anyone who goes in with their drones.

A drone rigger is an extension of the vehicle rigger. The skills necessary to operate drones essentially make the character the most adept at driving vehicles. The trick is that once you jump in to a drone you substitute its pilot and autosoft with YOUR skill ratings. That further pushes home the whole fact that the skill versatility of a drone armada is nothing unique to a rigger since anyone can have drones with any activesoft. If I jump into my demo drone and I don't have the demolitions skill, I'm wasting time. The drone is far more capable of doing demolitions than the rigger.

What it boils down to is that you're either a PC that requires and is dependent on another character and can be three dimensional, or you're not dependent on another character to function properly and you're two dimensional. The drone rigger is a stupidly tight build. There's not a lot of wiggle-room for the build. That is unless you are blatantly min-maxing by putting any attribute you won't use at 1, in which case you deserve to be slapped upside the head. Using blatant min-maxing I sit at about 356BP including 50BP on resources. That's just attributes, skills, and resources. If I put each of those min-maxed stats at 2, that's 396BP. That leaves you possibly 39BP to use on contacts, edge, and positive qualities IF you take the full 35 worth of negative BP.

A new drone rigger under the standard 400BP system cries out "You have to min-max me!" and that is what bothers me. I just now realize that describes exactly how I feel about Drone Riggers. You don't choose to min-max drone riggers, you have to min-max drone riggers.
Karoline
Well, give me some time and see what I can come up with. You say that any archetype can get drones and use them... then why is it that a drone rigger magically requires an extra 100 BP or so to pull off the same thing? Like I said, give me some time, quite likely tomorrow.
X-Kalibur
I don't know... have you tried building a good hacker recently? I don't know about you, but mine cost me 60 BP of Nuyen and I wasn't even close to being done yet. frown.gif
StealthSigma
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Sep 21 2009, 06:41 PM) *
I don't know... have you tried building a good hacker recently? I don't know about you, but mine cost me 60 BP of Nuyen and I wasn't even close to being done yet. frown.gif


Yeah.... you realize that you're pushing 60BP in resources, and a lot of the augmentations between a drone rigger and hacker will be similar? Add onto that the number of activesofts and pilots a rigger has to buy (hopefully just 1 pilot agent for each class of drone). On top of that the Rigger probably needs a vehicle to haul those drones.
Karoline
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 06:50 PM) *
Yeah.... you realize that you're pushing 60BP in resources, and a lot of the augmentations between a drone rigger and hacker will be similar? Add onto that the number of activesofts and pilots a rigger has to buy (hopefully just 1 pilot agent for each class of drone). On top of that the Rigger probably needs a vehicle to haul those drones.


Yeah... you realize that riggers -don't- need a whole stack of high grade hacking software? Hackers need basically every one in the book, and in another book, if they want to be able to do what they are supposed to do. Each one that a Hacker needs that a rigger doesn't is 6,000 nuyen.gif which is over a BP. That's about 8 programs, so a good 9 BP, just from the basic book. And what is so wrong with Hackers and Riggers having similar augmentation? I mean sammies all tend to have similar augmentation, mages that use augmentation tend to stick to a particular few, faces -really- tend to have the same augs.

Sure, Hackers and Riggers overlap some, but so do alot of other archetypes.

Edit: Oh, and you also don't need nearly as high grade of a commlink, and quite a number of other things.
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Karoline @ Sep 21 2009, 07:09 PM) *
Yeah... you realize that riggers -don't- need a whole stack of high grade hacking software? Hackers need basically every one in the book, and in another book, if they want to be able to do what they are supposed to do. Each one that a Hacker needs that a rigger doesn't is 6,000 nuyen.gif which is over a BP. That's about 8 programs, so a good 9 BP, just from the basic book. And what is so wrong with Hackers and Riggers having similar augmentation? I mean sammies all tend to have similar augmentation, mages that use augmentation tend to stick to a particular few, faces -really- tend to have the same augs.

Sure, Hackers and Riggers overlap some, but so do alot of other archetypes.

Edit: Oh, and you also don't need nearly as high grade of a commlink, and quite a number of other things.


AI style software is more expensive than the hacking software, and that's what Riggers require more of. There is nothing within the rules of SR4A that indicates a default pilot rating which means that each drone requires a pilot software. The pilot software is used in a lot of checks so it is the most valuable piece of software on the drone. Further, piloting software is specific to a type of drone. That means that each drone model requires you to purchase piloting software for it. Hopefully the GM allows you to buy the software once and than copy it to multiple drones of the same model.

The important drones should see a Pilot 4, Autosoft 4 for their primary role (max possible at character creation). That's an extra 14,000 on top of the cost of the drone, which is rarely below 2,000. If you go with a Pilot 3, Autosoft 3 for drones, it'll cost you 4,500 on top of the drone cost. You can also run multiple autosofts on one drone. Each hacking program you purchase, if you purchase them all at rating 6, is only 6,000. Can you purchase every possible hacking software at rating 6? Sure. Are you going to need every hacking software at 6? Probably not. Go with rating 3 on the uncommon to rare use hacking programs and it costs you 1/4 as much.

Hacking Programs have the same costs as autosofts, Rating x 500 for 1-3, Rating x 1000 for 4-6.
The Monk
But drones already come with a pilot of 3. And an autosoft of 3 is 1500. Why even upgrade your drone's software and hardware at character creation?
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 11:29 AM) *
When a rigger is jumped in, the drone's pilot is disabled and the drone only responds only to the rigger. Perhaps I misread, but at best that would mean an attacker against the drone would have to somehow kick the rigger out of the drone in order to hijack it and give it other commands.



Pretty Simple actually... throw a high rating jamming signal at the drone... if the drone/rigger cannot compensate, well, dumpshock is definitely a bitch... problem solved, log on/hack yourself some access...

A rigger should invest in the most powerful ECCM and Signal COuntermeasures that he can afford...
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (McCummhail @ Sep 21 2009, 11:36 AM) *
You cannot spoof a device being actively controlled by a jumped in rigger.
You can exploit and hack a device being actively controlled by a jumped in rigger.

It is a subtle difference that makes a big difference in play.



This is very true indeed...
StealthSigma
QUOTE (The Monk @ Sep 21 2009, 07:50 PM) *
But drones already come with a pilot of 3. And an autosoft of 3 is 1500. Why even upgrade your drone's software and hardware at character creation?


Where does it say that? I didn't see anything in the rules that indicated that. As for why? You'll probably want your primary combat drone to function at a 4 autosoft instead of a 2 or 3 that comes stock.
The Monk
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 07:05 PM) *
Where does it say that? I didn't see anything in the rules that indicated that. As for why? You'll probably want your primary combat drone to function at a 4 autosoft instead of a 2 or 3 that comes stock.

Every drone/vehicle in the book lists its pilot along with what autosofts it comes with.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Kerrang @ Sep 21 2009, 03:35 PM) *
If your Drone Rigger is constantly having to replace his drones without contribution from the rest of the team, then your team has not quite grokked the meaning of the word 'team'. At my table, the Rigger (she is less of a drone rigger than a general rigger, but she still uses plenty of drones), is quite often the beneficiary of the ill-gotten gains of the rest of the team. They steal a vehicle, drone, or just random gear that no one wants, she ends up with it. If the Mages or the TM are wallowing in unused Nuyen (and they quite often are), they are never unwilling to slide some her way to pay for whatever she needs. They know the Rigger is watching over them, and has the ability to pull their irons out of the fire when things go really wrong, so they keep her happy.

Maybe you need to have words with your 'team'.



This is a very valid point here... I cannot tell you how often orur team has pitched in to augment/repair/replace the Rigger's inventory (Mine)... we generally used any number fo small drones, medium drones, and various vehicles that are rigged in any given scenario... hell, they are even used to augment our tactical network for more over-all coverage...

I think that you are asking too much of a starting character myself...
StealthSigma
QUOTE (The Monk @ Sep 21 2009, 08:09 PM) *
Every drone/vehicle in the book lists its pilot along with what autosofts it comes with.


Fancy that, I managed to miss that little fact, mostly due to the info being embedded in a chart. However, since the pilot rating acts as a limit on the rating for the autosoft, you need a Pilot 4 for any drone on which you want to use a rating 4 autosoft. Chances are there will be one or two drones that you want that rating of autosoft.

--

QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Sep 21 2009, 08:11 PM) *
This is a very valid point here... I cannot tell you how often orur team has pitched in to augment/repair/replace the Rigger's inventory (Mine)... we generally used any number fo small drones, medium drones, and various vehicles that are rigged in any given scenario... hell, they are even used to augment our tactical network for more over-all coverage...

I think that you are asking too much of a starting character myself...


Consider the counter of it. There is nothing -requiring- the rest of the team to pitch in to replace drones. If that is the situation you are in, how do you rectify it? You harden each and every drone to increase its survivability, and you certainly don't sacrifice them haphazardly. That directly increases the cost of the drone via all the modifications and time you have to put into it. What says a rigger need to have a bunch of disposable drones? Why not harden a smaller number to have survivability on par with PCs?
Paul
QUOTE (Karoline @ Sep 21 2009, 05:38 PM) *
If the sammy never fires a shot, the rigger should never lose a drone.


Why?
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 06:22 PM) *
Consider the counter of it. There is nothing -requiring- the rest of the team to pitch in to replace drones. If that is the situation you are in, how do you rectify it? You harden each and every drone to increase its survivability, and you certainly don't sacrifice them haphazardly. That directly increases the cost of the drone via all the modifications and time you have to put into it. What says a rigger need to have a bunch of disposable drones? Why not harden a smaller number to have survivability on par with PCs?



You are right, of course, that there is nothing that requires the other team members to assist in the replacement of lost drones... however, when this is the case, you should tend to not support those characters with drone support. they will eventually get the idea and begin to pitch in...

Also, your other reasoning is also sound... hardened drones are great, if you can keep them... ever had a Drone take 16 point of damage from a Power bolt? I have... it is kind of hard to harden them against everything out there, you WILL lose drones if you use them enough... A Drone is never as survivable as a character... That is the reason that you use drones when you have the opportunity... it is generally cheaper to replace a drone than it is a person...

Drones can be crazy expensive... this is no joke... but with judicious use, and the acquisition of drones on the fly when you have the opportunity to do so, you will do okay... and if your team actually pitches in, then you will have the best of both worlds...

Also a side note... most jurisdictions will almost totally ignore unarmed drones, while an armed drone draws all kinds of unwanted scrutiny... if you can use these unarmed drones for your legwork/surveillance you will not probably tend to lose very many, and if you can install concealed weapon mounts, you will be able to disguise your drones for greater survivability... only place a combat drone in harms way if the option of losing a character is unacceptable, as you will probably lose (or sustain a great deal of damage to) the drone in question...

I have played a rigger (more a communications specialist) for a while now and he rarely lost a drone, and never when it was unexpected... proper precautions and decent security on your network will eliminate most problems... and as a side note, I rarely purchased anything rated higher than a 3 for drone autosofts, and rarely, if ever, increased a Dron'e Pilot rating... if your augments to the drone are equal to or greater than the cost of the drone itself, you probably have a problem... as replacement has now become an obstacle...

For the record, I had 8 ground vehicles, 8 fly-spy drones, 2 Optic-x Drones, 1 plane, 1 boat, 4 crawler drones, 2 rotodrones with concealed weapons mounts, 4 Dragonfly anti-drone drones, 3 dragonfly anti-vehicle drones, 5 independant surveillance platform drones, and an uncounted number fo micro-sized camera drones for surveillance...

Yes, I lost one or two of these over the course of the campaign, and spent a great deal of monetary resources maintaining my drone fleet, but that is the price you pay for playing a character that is so extremely versatile...

Keep the Faith...
Jaid
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 03:41 PM) *
My basic definition of good is that the Drone Rigger is capable of fulfilling its core competency without requiring other characters. What I consider the core competency of a Drone Rigger is that "a Drone Rigger can fulfill any role through which you can get an Activesoft. That is the basis for my definition of the Drone Rigger. Add onto this an ability to effectively drive vehicles." The most obvious example I can think of is that a Rigger should not be reliant on an NPC or other PC to fix, upgrade, and service his drones. This requires you to spend BP on skills, get a skillwire and activesofts, or just equip one of your drones to to perform the maintenance. The second example I can think of is being able to defend a drone that is being hijacked.

do you punish street samurai for not implanting their own 'ware into themselves, also? do they have to build their own guns? how about magicians? are you not a proper magician unless you produce all your own supplies from scratch, including personally gathering the materials, refinining them, etc? do your hackers take penalties for buying software instead of taking the several months required to code their own? do you punish them for buying patches for their cracked software instead of repairing their own? do all the characters in your game have to take up knitting and become a shepherd (and own a spinning wheel) to avoid being naked 24/7 since *gasp* we can't have them relying on anyone else for anything!

seriously, this is a bogus argument. no archetype is an island.

stealthsigma: with pilot 3, autosoft 3, the drone is already matching most security guards. throw in a smarlink, and it's got 8 dice. not amazing, but when you have half a dozen, it's quite respectable.

also, security drones are device rating 4. this negates the only substantial cost to upgrading to 4 anyways; otherwise, you just buy pirated software (or get open source for free). which means that for under 5k, you can have a passable throwaway (if required) combat drone. for under 10k, you can have a pretty respectable combat drone that hurts to throw away, but isn't crippling. and if you're losing 10 of those (to get the described 100k loss), well... let's just say that i'll be surprised if the samurai didn't just gain the "bullet in the brainpan" flaw while the hacker flops around chanting his new allegiance to aztechnology (all hail aztechnology!), and the magician is learning about negative modifiers to spellcasting caused by being lit on fire. heck, i'm not even sure what could possess you to *deploy* 10 of these things into a situation where you could use them... if that isn't overwhelming force, the run is already toast. people are going to be burning IDs and safehouses... let's just say that if you need 100k worth of these combat drones, then your rigger should be counting their blessings that they're even alive.
Paul
QUOTE (Jaid @ Sep 21 2009, 08:03 PM) *
No archetype is an island.


Nor should they have to be, but in the case of the Rigger someone rolled up the welcome mat and took the island out. Where the island used to be there's a small rock with gull shit on it. That doesn't preclude fun, or game-it just means we have to be a little more clever. And I'm all for clever.
3278
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 04:39 PM) *
From what I understand, in SR3 Riggers used to have their own rule set and could really only affect each other. They were safe from Deckers.

Give or take. In Corporate Security, hardware was introduced that would allow deckers some measure of rigging ability, also, but you're almost entirely correct. This was a major divide, based on the differing protocols used by riggers and deckers, and based on the differing portions of the brain used to perform the tasks. I don't think this makes any more or any less sense than SR4's combination of the two; ultimately, both meta-explanations are just justifications of the desired rules.

QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 04:39 PM) *
I've also been lead to believe there are two types of riggers, the drone rigger and the vehicle rigger. If you're of the vehicle rigger (who can drive anything on the planet), this thread isn't for you.

Huh. It wasn't until just now I realized that there's almost no benefit to being a rigger when it comes to being jacked into a vehicle. I'd only tried making drone - which is to say, remote-controlled - riggers thus far in SR4, and hadn't considered how somewhat pathetic the SR4 vehicle rigger is. Am I missing something?

QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 04:39 PM) *
This leads to my first major concern. The Drone Rigger is extremely vulnerable to Deckers due to combining both Archetypes into the same rules and allowing them to affect each other. This means that unless the Drone Rigger only brings one drone into an area and is constantly jumped into it, his armada of drones is vulnerable to any individual with the ability to hack.

Yes, within the limits of the signals involved. And if the drone rigger is, for whatever reason, controlling his drones within range of a wireless mesh connected to the matrix, the decker doesn't even need to be physically near the drones. Of course, neither does the rigger, which is nice.

QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Sep 21 2009, 04:39 PM) *
My second major concern with Drone Riggers compared to other archetypes is their overall cost.

Yeah. This has always been true. Just as in SR3, magickers were karma-starved, riggers have always been cash-starved. There are various solutions, but you're right that it's a consideration.

QUOTE (Dashifen @ Sep 21 2009, 05:19 PM) *
You must have the Access ID of an authorized user in order to Spoof a command. The Command program actually only works if you actually ARE and authorized user. Otherwise, you must spoof. In order to gain the Access ID you must use a Matrix Perception test on the authorized user which is most often found using a Capture Wireless Traffic action and then Tracing the communication back to its source. You may need to decrypt the traffic, as well, prior to capturing it.

Someone please explain to me how this could be considered "simplified" or "streamlined." Good lord. This is why we never allowed PC deckers in SR1-3.

QUOTE (The Monk @ Sep 21 2009, 06:10 PM) *
A tactic I have been batting around to make a drone fleet unhackable is the use of scripts and beam links. The idea is to give each drone a set of scripts that the drone will run for a given amount of time at which point it will await for the next command to run another script (since the drone and rigger has to be stationary to use the beam link).

In theory, the drone and rigger wouldn't have to be stationary; the drone and rigger [his vehicle, more likely] could just use directional antennae on a swivel mount with targeting autosofts pointed at each other. This would allow at least line-of-sight unhackable[ish] communications.

QUOTE (The Monk @ Sep 21 2009, 06:10 PM) *
Examples of scripts are:
always stay within line of sight and 6 meters of rigger

I remember the good old days, when I used my drones from kilometers away. In an RV. Submerged under a nearby lake. A little harder to do that, now, with the low signal ranges. [Waaah! Sorry.]
3278
QUOTE (Paul @ Sep 21 2009, 08:59 PM) *
I think that's exactly the point. Why would anyone use a wireless connection with anything they value? The answer is of course, they wouldn't. So while the wireless world is okay for John and Jane Q Public, I don't think it'd see nearly the same kind of usage in the "Shadows".

QF-effing-T. Just as no one today with mindbogglingly sensitive data and a criminal mentality would be foolish enough to transact their business on a wireless connection, no one in Shadowrun should be taking the same chance, unless there's an incredibly compelling reason to do so. C'mon, think TEMPEST.

Wireless computers should and would exist in Shadowrun, because their convenience outweighs the risks for the average person's average information, but penetration should be commercial, and not corporate, military, governmental, or criminal.
Red-ROM
The Rigger reminds me of a Thief or Bard character in D&D. They are the skill monkey. And sure, They'll never cast Fireballs (without a lot of extra work) or take the punishment of a fighter, but some of us enjoy playing them. A bard is nearly worthless in a munchkin type way, and a thief can do most of the same stuff. but It's fun to play a bard sometimes.

I have a Rigger right now, he is definitely not set up for hacking(at least not as good as the hacker) But our Hacker doesn't have the gunnery skill that lets me shoot anything I mount to the truck/roto drone/doberman etc. He can't drive like me, which I would argue can be very important. he can't hack the van when I go to manual steering. Plus the Hardware skill has 101 uses if you're creative.

If all you want is the best bang for your Build points, be a Bioware Adept or something. I concede your point about the changes from SR3 making life for a rigger hard, but it just makes sense. Its all computers and radio signals. Splitting the two is just weird
Tachi
Ok, a few others have mentioned this, but I want to elaborate on it.

There is no I in team. <<<<See? Look at it. There is no "I" in that word. Bare with me, this is not criticism of you.

Team is paid (G) amount. This is your gross product.

Team deducts (E) amount for expenses. This includes: Ammo, bribes, information purchase, disguises, necessary explosives, any and ALL specialized equipment necessary for the run, including new drones that you may get to keep.

Team deducts (L) amount as losses. This includes: Personal gear belonging to any member of the party which is lost or destroyed during the normal course of the run including YOUR DESTROYED OR LOST DRONES! If they lose it by being an idiot, the team is not liable.

The end result is profit, which is divided evenly by the # of runners into (S)shares for the survivors (and dependants of the deceased if it's part of the deal.)

So, lets recap.

[G+(-E-L)]/#=S

If S is not, both, a positive and lucrative number, there is no reason for ANY member fo the team to go on the run.

I read that this is not how your team has been handling it. Well, I'd say it's time to renegotiate. No need to be rude to them, but you have to make them understand that it is not fair for you to absorb so much of what should be TEAM expenses and losses. If the rigger was getting screwed each run, and the team would not use the above formula, odds are that the rigger would find himself a new team.

As to the rest, well... You're pretty much right, though somewhat dramatically overstating it. Riggers are money and BP intensive. You have to micromanage the whole chargen process and specialize in just a few things. Later you can branch out into more skills. You gotta do what you gotta do. Start small, work your way up to having your own shop and doing your own build/repairs. More than most other archetypes, riggers need time as "small-time" runners in order to build up to the big stuff. Personally, I love riggers. I love building them up from small time drone hijackers into a one-man-army+death-in-a-can.

But hey, these are just my opinions, and nobody really cares what I think.

And here I thought I'd never use algebra outside of school.
Karoline
The only real problem with your algebra is that (likely) many teams don't consider things like ammo to be part of group expenses. Bribes are certainly group expenses, as would basically anything that falls under legwork expenses.

I can see two arguments about taking ammo/drones out of group vs personal profit.

On the one hand, if the ammo/drones come out of group expenses, then it encourages people to be reckless with their resources. Why should the Rigger be particularly careful with his shiny new drone when he knows that he only has to fit 1/# of the bill? Why doesn't the sammy just run his gun on full auto all the time when he knows he is only paying for ever # bullet? This punishes those who try and be conservative with their resources. A melee fighter doesn't need bullets, but he is still paying for them.

On the other hand, making everyone foot every personal ammo/drone bill means that people might be overly hesitant to use their gear. As great as that new drone is, it may never see real use due to the rigger being afraid of losing it, and the sammy may not want to spend a big chunk of his profit on laying down cover fire for others, especially not when his gun is filled with that really expensive ammo.

Personally I'm a bit more of a fan of the latter method, as the desire to win overall generally overrides the desire to save a few nuyen.gif. I look at things like ammo as operating costs. I mean, I -really- don't see anyone forking over nuyen.gif to a mage each time he calls up his bound spirit to help out (Which actually costs quite a bit) They don't get refunded disposable foci that they burned to save everyone. No one pitches in for the sammy's new chrome armor, even though the expense of getting it is no less an investment in a mission's success than anything else.

I've got the better part of a character sheet written out, but I want to add reasons as to why I picked the things I did. I think I may have stumbled on a rather interesting new breed of rigger... we'll see.
Tachi
Now you're just picking nits.

Resources expended in the course of a run, fall on the whole team.

They won't be reckless with thier resources because it will cut into their own profit. However, not firing that "really expensive ammo" gets people wounded or dead, which would be more expensive in the long run as you either have to pay medical espenses or lose a valuable asset. If the expenses are spread across everyone, and the runners aren't idiots, they'll use only what is necessary in order to maintain the largest share possible. Waste will create negative backlash from the rest of the team. However, they will understand that each and every expense is about the TEAM, and keeping it fit to fight/run.

The melee fighter in your example is paying for the ammo that the sam uses to keep him alive while he is closing to melee range. Any melee specialist with more than two brain cells to rub together will recognize the value of that investment. The same with the mage's "disposable foci". After all, you wouldn't want him to skimp on the mojo when your ass in the one on the line would you? Besides, replacing it out of team funds guarantees that he has it the next time you need him to keep you alive. As for your sam's "chrome armor", well, buying it is his problem, just like the mage's foci, replacing it (without chrome, if he wants the flash, he can pay for that himself) after the run if it's been damaged is a team expense.

My point...
Everyone has their own personal gear, paid for out of their own pocket, and augmented with special gear needed for this run that is provided at team expense. Any personal gear expended should be replaced out of team funds. Any special gear that survives the run becomes personal gear. Any team member that wastes gear, or otherwise selfishly sells that gear for his own profit after the run when someone in the team may have had use for it, is an idiot and should not be tolerated. (Exceptions being that sometimes you HAVE to get rid of gear thst is to hot to keep, like the gun you just used to murder that security guard.)

Our differences are mostly a matter of opinion. You see the team as a collection of individuals. I see it as a TEAM.

It doesn't really matter, you'll run in your game the way you want, and I'll run in my game the way I want. I was just trying to help StealthSigma defray some of his per run costs in a logical and fair manner.
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