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Aerospider
So I have a nytemare dissonant technomancer who's decided to pick on the street samurai and as a first assault will be sending a registered chaos sprite (Rating 4) into his commlink to mess him around a bit. He's not a very experienced player so he's not employed any special defenses (beyond a purge program) and his firewall's already been chewed up (Rating 1) by a virus so it should be pretty easy.

Here's how I think it might go:

First, the sprite probes the target rolling Hacking + Exploit = Rating + Rating = 8 at a threshold of System + Firewall + Admin account = 3 + 1 + 6 = 10. With the DP dropping at each interval that should take in the region of five hours (rather than days since sprites work in VR). The technomancer could do the probing herself, but let's say she has reasons not to.

When the sprite is ready to log on the commlink gets a single Analyse + Firewall (Sprite's Stealth) roll to flag the intrusion, which it automatically achieves because chaos sprites don't have the Stealth complex form.

The sprite has two more IPs that round. With one it starts up its Distortion power (-Rating to all Matrix tests in the node). With the last IP it maintains the distortion (simple action) and transfers the samurai's address book to the technomancer.

At the end of the turn the node issues a restricted alert, informing the samurai that someone's intruding on the node. If I'm feeling generous I would say that the commlink had a default ARC of terminate connection which would be System + Firewall + Alert bonus - Distortion = 3 + 1 + 4 - 4 = 4 against the sprite's Hacking + Exploit + Admin account - Distortion = 4 + 4 + 4 - 4 = 8. If I'm not feeling generous it does nothing against the sprite. Either way, assume the sprite is unaffected.

On the next turn the sprite goes first, maintaining its Distortion power and transferring the samurai's bank details. The samurai, in his AR display, sees his node being warped and the harrowing thing that's tearing it up. He initiates a reboot, correctly assuming that he is nothing but a sitting duck. He also gets to diminish the Distortion power (no action required) with System + Response = 3 + 3 = 6 so assume he gets the -4 down to -2.

The reboot is System + Response - Distortion = 3 + 3 - 2 = 4 dice per turn to achieve a threshold of 10 (no reduction in DP over time). That's 7 or 8 turns for the sprite to do whatever it likes, including reinitiating the Distortion power and prolonging the shutdown.

As the IPs go by the sprite would start really screwing things up, including deletion of programs (particularly Analyse so he can't get its access ID) and deletion of the access log.

How does that read?

Any thoughts and suggestions on my interpretation of RAW and the actions of the sprite and samurai would be much appreciated.

NB as the player is relatively new to SR4 and as the dissonant is part of a longer-running plot I won't really be doing very much to his 'link/PAN on this first encounter, but I do want to inspire a sense of threat and persecution.
Orcus Blackweather
I have always been of the impression that Agents and Sprites cannot go low and slow. Every hack they do must be on the fly. I do not have a reference for it, but this is how my group does it. That would make it where the firewall detects the sprite on the first try (assuming the firewall gets some hits, a critical glitch would suck). The firewall would then go on alert, and give the player some chance to defend.
Aerospider
QUOTE (Orcus Blackweather @ Feb 18 2010, 04:25 PM) *
I have always been of the impression that Agents and Sprites cannot go low and slow. Every hack they do must be on the fly. I do not have a reference for it, but this is how my group does it. That would make it where the firewall detects the sprite on the first try (assuming the firewall gets some hits, a critical glitch would suck). The firewall would then go on alert, and give the player some chance to defend.

I don't think I've read that anywhere. My instinctive approach would be to allow probing for sprites since their sapiency allows for decision-making on a metahuman level, but not for agents whose 'dogbrain' pilots are rather more limited when it comes to lateral thinking.

But here is where one of my uncertainties lies when does the node alert come into effect?
I.e. when do nodes get to 'act'? Does the +4 firewall bonus happen immediately? When does the samurai first hear about it?

In my description I had the node act at the end of the turn, using the interpretation that as an acting device without an initiative score it functions like other autonomous events, like a grenade. Is that right or should the node act at instantaneous speed?

EDIT: btw, the node still doesn't need to roll for detection as it's a threshold of 0. Also, I'm pretty sure RAW says somewhere that unstealthed icons are always 'visible'.
Orcus Blackweather
As soon as the firewall makes its analyze roll and gets enough hits to detect the intruder, it does whatever it's response plan says it should.

It immediately gets +4 to its rating (effective for it's next action). What it will do is based upon it's response plan. Normally it will attempt to sever the connection. Some people want to be notified of every hacking attempt (this would get old in a hurry in a congested area), in that case, it will generate an alert. Since there are no IC to send, it really won't do anything else. So every round there after, it will send an alert, and attempt to sever the connection. The next question is how closely does the street sam monitor his comm? If he does not pay a lot of attention, and if he is used to getting lots of spam and hack attempts, he might not notice.

Edit:
Oops missed part of your question, it acts at the end of the turn, allowing a few phases to attempt to shut off the alerts and such.
Sengir
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Feb 18 2010, 02:52 PM) *
On the next turn the sprite goes first, maintaining its Distortion power and transferring the samurai's bank details.

I'd say finding the bank details requires as browse test or at least spending one complex action to buy a hit. And the sam would probably not wait patiently for the 'link to shut down but rip out the battery after some time...maybe have him do a Willpower test to determine if he proceeds to reformat the commlink with his boot ^^
Aerospider
QUOTE (Sengir @ Feb 18 2010, 08:50 PM) *
I'd say finding the bank details requires as browse test or at least spending one complex action to buy a hit. And the sam would probably not wait patiently for the 'link to shut down but rip out the battery after some time...maybe have him do a Willpower test to determine if he proceeds to reformat the commlink with his boot ^^

Ah, and you've hit on my hidden question - why wouldn't one turn off a node instead of waiting for a reboot? We all know it's bad for the device, but there isn't any mechanics for that, is there?
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Feb 18 2010, 04:48 PM) *
Ah, and you've hit on my hidden question - why wouldn't one turn off a node instead of waiting for a reboot? We all know it's bad for the device, but there isn't any mechanics for that, is there?


I think that all devices shutdown/reboot gracefully, given the opportunity to do so... but yanking the battery does accomplish the same thing in a much shorter time frame... though it might not be good for the device in question...

Though reducing its signal may indeed work as well, shut the send/receive down to Signal 0 and tehn the hacker is booted unless he is within 3 meters of you (of course, this may not work, depending upon your interpretation of the rules)...

Keep the Faith
Aerospider
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Feb 18 2010, 11:58 PM) *
Though reducing its signal may indeed work as well, shut the send/receive down to Signal 0 and tehn the hacker is booted unless he is within 3 meters of you (of course, this may not work, depending upon your interpretation of the rules)...

Good point, though wouldn't work against a sprite as the Resonance Realms don't rely on signal ratings.
Caadium
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Feb 18 2010, 03:58 PM) *
I think that all devices shutdown/reboot gracefully, given the opportunity to do so... but yanking the battery does accomplish the same thing in a much shorter time frame... though it might not be good for the device in question...

Though reducing its signal may indeed work as well, shut the send/receive down to Signal 0 and tehn the hacker is booted unless he is within 3 meters of you (of course, this may not work, depending upon your interpretation of the rules)...

Keep the Faith


Once a sprite has accessed the node it is already inside of it. Killing the Signal becomes a moot point then. Sure, the TM couldn't give it more orders, but if the sprite was on a "go cause carnage" type of order the damage is done. Sprites aren't like TM or Hackers by being in multiple nodes; for them the signal loss could kick them out.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Caadium @ Feb 18 2010, 05:37 PM) *
Once a sprite has accessed the node it is already inside of it. Killing the Signal becomes a moot point then. Sure, the TM couldn't give it more orders, but if the sprite was on a "go cause carnage" type of order the damage is done. Sprites aren't like TM or Hackers by being in multiple nodes; for them the signal loss could kick them out.



Sure... if the Node is still up, the sprite will remain, so reducing your signal is not going to work in that scenario (though it would probably still work for the Hacker infiltrating)... however, the shutdown would indeed kick out the Sprite, at least until the device comes back on line and the sprite re-accesses it...

Keep the Faith
Caadium
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Feb 18 2010, 05:25 PM) *
Sure... if the Node is still up, the sprite will remain, so reducing your signal is not going to work in that scenario (though it would probably still work for the Hacker infiltrating)... however, the shutdown would indeed kick out the Sprite, at least until the device comes back on line and the sprite re-accesses it...

Keep the Faith


Correct. I don't have books handy to look at what happens to a sprite and/or AI if the node they are in crashes.

However, as I think about, reducing the signal could be a way to mitigate the damage. If the sprite can't send info out, it also can't get out. Sure it could much up all the hard data you've got stored in there, but the damage to your bank account could be prevented if the sprite couldn't get itself or the data out of the node.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Caadium @ Feb 18 2010, 06:32 PM) *
Correct. I don't have books handy to look at what happens to a sprite and/or AI if the node they are in crashes.

However, as I think about, reducing the signal could be a way to mitigate the damage. If the sprite can't send info out, it also can't get out. Sure it could much up all the hard data you've got stored in there, but the damage to your bank account could be prevented if the sprite couldn't get itself or the data out of the node.



Though the Sprite could possibly just leave via the resonance (I would think), but tehn again, maybe not...

Keep the Faith
Udoshi
This brooks an interesting question, though. Since sprites don't take up program loads like agents do with their payload(the bbb mentions something about resources from nowhere), wouldn't it be theoretically possible to trap a sprite on a device by cutting off its signal, therefore its connection to the resonance?

Since the Sprite is actually loaded into the commlink, dialing the signal down won't get rid of it. It will prevent information from being sent back to the hacker, though, at least until the sprite can dial it back up again.

I have to say, though, I have this great mental image of turning the commlink back on, and the sprite is still trapped inside. I mean, it hasn't left or been decompiled, or cyberfragged. So it'd still be there, right? Even worse, the party has to deal with an angry, pissed dissonant sprite that wants to get out and go home.
Caadium
QUOTE (Udoshi @ Feb 18 2010, 05:59 PM) *
I have to say, though, I have this great mental image of turning the commlink back on, and the sprite is still trapped inside. I mean, it hasn't left or been decompiled, or cyberfragged. So it'd still be there, right? Even worse, the party has to deal with an angry, pissed dissonant sprite that wants to get out and go home.


If this is actually how it works then I'd recommend NOT turning your link on for a day or so and hope it wasn't Registered.
Udoshi
I was thinking more along the lines of talking to the sprite and convincing it to leave without it trashing ALL your shit on the commlink just because it can. Find out just where the point it stops caring about the TM who summoned it and its own survival lays.
Aerospider
QUOTE (Udoshi @ Feb 19 2010, 01:59 AM) *
This brooks an interesting question, though. Since sprites don't take up program loads like agents do with their payload(the bbb mentions something about resources from nowhere), wouldn't it be theoretically possible to trap a sprite on a device by cutting off its signal, therefore its connection to the resonance?

Since the Sprite is actually loaded into the commlink, dialing the signal down won't get rid of it. It will prevent information from being sent back to the hacker, though, at least until the sprite can dial it back up again.

I have to say, though, I have this great mental image of turning the commlink back on, and the sprite is still trapped inside. I mean, it hasn't left or been decompiled, or cyberfragged. So it'd still be there, right? Even worse, the party has to deal with an angry, pissed dissonant sprite that wants to get out and go home.

The sprite can most definitely get out. As I said previously, the Resonance really doesn't rely on signal ratings at all.

SPRITES AND NODE ACCESS, Unwired p.154
"As creatures of resonance, sprites may travel to and from the resonance realms as they please. This allows them a kind of shortcut, taking a path from one node to another via the resonance realms, rather than through the Matrix."

It's true that it couldn't get the data out, because that DOES rely on non-resonant connections to it's destination and sprites have no data storage of their own. But when you talk about cutting off it's connection to the Resonance, where do you imagine the Resonance to 'be' exactly? More than 3 metres (signal 0) and less than 400 metres (signal 3, "average commlink") of each and every node...?
Aerospider
QUOTE (Caadium @ Feb 19 2010, 03:32 AM) *
If this is actually how it works then I'd recommend NOT turning your link on for a day or so and hope it wasn't Registered.

Since without the technomancer present an unregistered sprite would lose all it's owed tasks (being on a remote service) the TM is quite likely to have registered it. Also entropic sprites have to be mutated from normal sprites, so including the original compiling they take more work to create so the TM is even more likely to have it registered.

In any case, a sprite can't get trapped on a device that gets ungracefully shutdown any more than a metahuman Matrix-user can, and I'm pretty sure that's only supposed to happen when there are unusual and apocalyptic conditions in effect, like the two crashes.
rumanchu
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Feb 18 2010, 05:52 AM) *
When the sprite is ready to log on the commlink gets a single Analyse + Firewall (Sprite's Stealth) roll to flag the intrusion, which it automatically achieves because chaos sprites don't have the Stealth complex form.


I wouldn't play it as an automatic success in my game; I would make it a simple success test (which, arguably, is automatic, depending on the die pool involved). As far as I'm concerned, there's always a *chance* that the system doesn't notice the login. It's an imperfect world, and machines still make mistakes (even in 2072).
Aerospider
QUOTE (rumanchu @ Feb 19 2010, 06:21 PM) *
I wouldn't play it as an automatic success in my game; I would make it a simple success test (which, arguably, is automatic, depending on the die pool involved). As far as I'm concerned, there's always a *chance* that the system doesn't notice the login. It's an imperfect world, and machines still make mistakes (even in 2072).

So, you'd have them roll against a threshold of 1 then? I really don't like making a rating 1 program no better than nothing at all. It might not seem particularly important at that level, but you are effectively wiping out the effectiveness of 1/6 of all Stealth programs (more if you assume higher ratings are rarer).

Maybe the node should roll just to check for glitching though.
Malachi
There is a "gray area" where the rules are unclear if the Resonance Realms can be accessed if one does not have a connection to The Matrix. I am of the mind that the Resonance Realms are a result of the gestalt of code that is the "entire Matrix" itself, and thus cutting access to the world-wide Matrix also removes access to the Resonance Realms. The Sprite still exists on the node, but cannot leave it.
Sengir
Unwired, P. 174:
Each resonance realm search takes
the technomancer by a different path. Some technomancers claim to
have accessed the resonance realms merely by immersing themselves
in the VR of a single, isolated node that was disconnected from the
rest of the Matrix.


And a friend told me that somewhere in Dawn of the Artifacts (did't ask which one excactly) the players are in a high-class restaurant which is completely warded, shielded and everything, but it explicitly says that TMs can still send a sprite to do matrix searches.

The BBB, on the other hand says explicitly that "If a technomancer loses his connection to the Matrix, he loses contact with his sprites."


So I guess the answer is "do what the GM says"
rumanchu
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Feb 19 2010, 10:33 AM) *
So, you'd have them roll against a threshold of 1 then? I really don't like making a rating 1 program no better than nothing at all. It might not seem particularly important at that level, but you are effectively wiping out the effectiveness of 1/6 of all Stealth programs (more if you assume higher ratings are rarer).


It's only wiping out the "effectiveness" of rating 1 Stealth in this particular situation (I suppose that it eliminates it in Hacking on the Fly scenarios, too, since it's basically the same roll), but it has a RAW justification: "Use Success Tests when the character is exercising a skill or ability for immediate effect and is not directly opposed by another person or force" (SR4A, p.63). While the net effect (simple success for Stealth (0) vs. Threshold 1 for Stealth (1)), the person running a Stealth program is going to be able to actually roll opposed tests in Matrix Perception situations.

Honestly, I don't see this as being much different than any other situation that might reduce the Threshold of a test to 0; would you allow a character landing a plane while connected though VR to do so automatically without rolling dice (or having a die pool big enough to buy a success)?


QUOTE
Maybe the node should roll just to check for glitching though.


I suppose that that's a perfectly valid middle-ground.
Aerospider
QUOTE (rumanchu @ Feb 19 2010, 11:39 PM) *
Honestly, I don't see this as being much different than any other situation that might reduce the Threshold of a test to 0; would you allow a character landing a plane while connected though VR to do so automatically without rolling dice (or having a die pool big enough to buy a success)?

Don't have the handling stats or maneuvering threshold tables to hand, but if he really did get it down to threshold 0 then yeah. Jumping into a vehicle makes the really easy stuff (threshold 1) equivalent to walking down the street without tripping over, which I almost never make my players roll for. In fact, throughout every game you are ignoring threshold 0 tests every time a character does something trivial.

He would, however, have to have the pilot aircraft skill at at least rating 1 because it cannot be used untrained - he might not be using it to roll dice but he's still using it.
Aerospider
QUOTE (Sengir @ Feb 19 2010, 07:49 PM) *
The BBB, on the other hand says explicitly that "If a technomancer loses his connection to the Matrix, he loses contact with his sprites."

Ooh, forgot about that ...

I think it's still ok, though, since technomancers are not creatures of resonance themselves and don't share the sprite's teleportation-by-proxy ability whether connected to the Matrix or not. I'd still allow sprites to leave an isolated node.

Out of curiosity, anybody fancy having a stab at where to draw the line between being isolated and being connected to the Matrix?
Seems very much like deciding on when an island becomes a continent ...
Orcus Blackweather
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Feb 19 2010, 11:33 AM) *
So, you'd have them roll against a threshold of 1 then? I really don't like making a rating 1 program no better than nothing at all. It might not seem particularly important at that level, but you are effectively wiping out the effectiveness of 1/6 of all Stealth programs (more if you assume higher ratings are rarer).

Maybe the node should roll just to check for glitching though.

My understanding is that you must beat the stealth, a tie goes to the stealth. So stealth 0 means you need greater than 0 hits to spot it.
Aerospider
QUOTE (Orcus Blackweather @ Feb 20 2010, 11:32 PM) *
My understanding is that you must beat the stealth, a tie goes to the stealth. So stealth 0 means you need greater than 0 hits to spot it.

That's only for opposed tests, in which you must exceed the hits rolled by the opponent.
For success/threshold tests, including extended tests, the threshold only needs to be met.
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