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makari
Posted this on rpg.net first and found this forum afterwards, reposting here in hopes of get more and better detailed responses.

Ok, I have always loved shadowrun, and am trying 4th for the first time. I'm am reading through the rules and thinking about what kind of character I'm might play as I read through.

but as I'm reading the matrix section I have lots of questions that I'm not finding any easy answers for, now I'm aware that many people have problems with the canon matrix rules, and I'm aware of the "ends of the matrix" system that many people adopt / promote, and I've read that also, however, first off I would like to make sure I fully understand / have a problem with the canon system before i try to adopt and get the group to go with such a large alteration. and second I've read through it and most of my questions still remained as far as I could tell.

so, the questions:

1. I see where it outlines creating your own hardware, and how the parts cost half what the upgrade would, etc... so that's cool, if I take hardware I can custom build my own commlink at half price, that's awesome... however, if I'm building it myself at character creation, does it say if availability would apply or is that a house rule situation? ie could I start with signal / response 6 commlink if I had hardware 6.

2. As an extension of the previous question, I dont really see a place where it talks about coding your own software at character creation. it clearly outlines the costs and how to of creating your own hardware so I would assume you could do the same, but if I take software do I still need to "buy" all my programs, and like before does availability still matter if I'm coding them myself ( i dont really see how it could since that's entirely intellectual property ) but for the sake of balance could see it being house ruled.

3. about matrix security. obviously i'd like to not get my commlink hacked by every tom, dick, and dousche around, and from what I'm reading, it says a passkey is the most secure, with biometric type stuff second most... so why wouldn't I slave all my stuff to my commlink, and set my commlink to only accept commands from my admin account, requiring a passkey + my biometrics... and if I do this, am I missing something or am I right that short of finding a way to copy my biometrics and my hardcoded passkey I am secure?

4. again an extension of the previous question, but if I were to do rigging and drones could you do that same type of security, telling them only accept commands coming with my passkey + biometrics and how secure would that be?

5. I realize that without a subscription and only pushing out commands to drones is the least secure way to have / use them. but it does seem that if push came to shove a well equipped rigger could bring to bare a small army all unto himself. what would prevent this short of the opposition having deckers / riggers to compete with? (ie. if we're running into a corp storage warehouse, and I were a rigger, why wouldn't the plan always be, step 1: find a way to get to and kill the in house rigger, step 2: bring in the army of uncontested drones for the win?)

6. as I'm reading I'm trying to think of what "the big dog" in matrix actions would be... for example, the cybered street sam troll is generally the scariest physical threat you will see, able to whip out the big guns because he's strong enough to just carry them around, and having so much body and cyber that most small arms fire is little more than tickling him.. with some karma and money to fully beef himself out he can become a significant threat to entire combat units all by himself. but with all the rating limits and the way all the rules seem to work in matrix actions it just seems that any character with a 8 willpower and rating 6 commlink and programs still has something of a struggle with an average attribute 4 or 5, rating 4 hired decker or rigger. rarely ever being able to take out the opposition in a single turn and it would seem that for any type of security decker turn 1 in an intrusion like this would raise alarms for the rest of the facility.

7. about rating limits on programs, I've seen some place where it mentions rating 7+ programs as existing as military and prototype stuff... so does that mean if I get my software skills up I can code rating 7, 8, 9 + programs? or is there some place that specifically says players can't get above 6?

I realize that if some of these security situations are true then obviously many / most people would use them to secure their stuff... and I'm fine with that because if these things aren't true, then there's be no need for legwork like finding a way to steal a passkey, or secure matching biometrics, and no runs to steal passkey's for rival corps, because all of this could just be faked with a decker much easier than having a whole run to accomplish.

my biggest annoyance seems to be that at char creation my decker or rigger is effectively maxed, most future karma and money would be spent on making myself a face or sam because I've maxed all my program ratings and attributes dont help, and since the max rating is only 6 I'm also at the top tier of decking at creation, it looses it's luster to me because unlike the troll mentioned in #6 I will never be the uber decker equivalant, and I have no real decking goals because I've got everything I can get.

please correct me if / where I'm wrong because I'm still getting to know the new system.
Johnny B. Good
Well, there are a few things.

I see biometrics and such as good ways to protect yourself from attempts to access your commlink legitimately (Phishing, etc.), effectively giving the user a doorway through the firewall. However, they don't really mean anything compared to an exploit program which probes the firewall directly, looking for holes, cracks and crannies that it can squeeze it's way through and turn into an illegal account. As every Tom, Dick and Harry has an exploit program, your best bet would be a combination of a good firewall and a good analyze program to keep the baddies at bay, and to know they're inside if they've already gotten in. This can usually be done by having an agent with a script running analyze 24/7. Also, slaving does prevent access directly to the slaved device unless they have a hard connection. Alternatively you could be a Technomancer. What's this? My commlink is my brain, and it doesn't respond to non-resonance based hacking attempts? Wouldja lookit that.

As for ruining the security rigger's day, most facilities and professional teams have a jammer handy. If the security rigger goes down, jammer goes on, he sets it to let all of his buddies' signals through and you are effectively locked out until you can figure out what channel they're broadcasting from.

Big scary matrix boogeyman can take a couple of forms: A dude with a rating 6 commlink and two rating 6 agents with blackhammer with the targeting and rust program options. Alternatively, a Technomancer. The rating of their complex forms are limited by their resonance scores, so a technomancer with a resonance of 7 can have a rating 7 program bought with karma, which (correct me if I'm wrong) can be made even higher with threading. Technomancers can also thread programs they don't have as well as program options, which make them true matrix boogeymen. Also, they can have sprites in addition to agents run off of a regular commlink.

But in my mind, the real nasty hackers have the ability to get into a system and do whatever they want without being noticed at all. It requires being bith tricky and exremely paranoid, as well as having a nasty stealth, exploit, and spoof program (I highly suggest spoof with an area option for screwing with multiple enemy agents and drones).
makari
Thanks for the info, any other suggestions or comments,

especially on long term goals for a decker / rigger,

and / or how to make myself and my team if I'm support decker, safe as possible
Malachi
1. There are no rules for building a Matrix device from scratch per se. Those rules are for modifying/upgrade existing hardware. Custom building a commlink from scratch, at character creation or otherwise, would be something you would have to work out with the GM. Also note that SR4A introduced a rule that the hardware attributes (Response, Signal) of a commlink can only be improved by +2 from its base rating.

2. Again, something to work out the with the GM. For game balance reasons, I would recommend that even if the hacker has "coded the programs himself" he would still need to "purchase" them with in-character money. This prevents some insanity with characters at chargen just "building all their own stuff" and getting everything for free. Basically if you let hacker code his own programs and get them at chargen for free or a fraction of the cost, then you have the rigger "building his own vehicles" and the street sam "building his own guns" and the mage "designing his own spells" and then you might as well throw away all costs for equipment at chargen.

3. Even with such a setup, an intruding hacker can still bypass the security checks and gain access to your commlink. That's the idea of hacking: getting into a system without the required credentials be they a password, passkey, biometrics or whatever. However, slaving everything to your commlink and setting it to Admin account only (you get into a GM discretion area on that last one), that's a real good start for security, but it does not make your commlink impregnable. Basically in SR4 you can never be "unhackable" any more than you can be "unshootable" or "unmagicable." You just need to make your system more trouble than it's worth. This is, not coincidentally, how real-world computer security generally works.

4. Same as above.

5. Yes, a Rigger can bring a small army of drones to bear. This is about a subtle as it seems. You could do the same thing by buying off a bunch of go-gangers to attack some warehouse you're supposed to invade. I don't see it as a "game break" it's just a strategy. Bear in mind that brining a small army of heavily armed drones into any sort of urban area is going to get a stiff response from the authorities.

6. Johnny answered this one well. The ideal to strive for in the Matrix is stealth: the ability to get into anywhere, get what you want, and get out without anyone knowing you where even there. This can be very difficult to do.

7. Theoretically a player could code a program above Rating 6. I certainly wouldn't allow this out of chargen, and it would take a great deal of in-character time (months and months and months of steady work).

Yes, out of chargen, hackers are quite strong. Bear in mind you can only have Response 5 out of chargen due to Availability limits, so that means your programs (though you can purchase Rating 6) would effectively run at rating 5. However, that's not much of a leap and it won't take much time, so you are right in the fact that hackers mostly improve by branching out into other areas. However, this is something that is not unique to hackers in SR. Characters in SR4, if you want them to, can start quite powerful and this is a design feature of the game. If you want your character to grow after chargen then it needs to be built that way.
Johnny B. Good
Thanks for the compliment Malachi. I did forget a couple things about my views on hacking - namely AR hacking vs. combat hacking vs. infohacking.

Your average mundane hacker is probably going to be better as what I like to call an AR hacker, a cybered hacker who uses their hacking abilities to suppliment their combat or infiltration. This usually involves brute-force hacking into enemy tacsofts and commlinks to screw with enemy cyber and vehicles. Important programs: Scan, Exploit, Browse, Attack, Armor, Corrupt, Blackout. The goal here is to scan for their pan (which will most likely be in hidden), crack open the commlink firewall, access a slaved device (Wired reflexes, etc.), and corrupt some sort of file necessary for its function. Bing, bang, boom, baddie's spinal cord is offline. Oh, then you shoot them in the face with your supplementary pistol skills. With this method you'll likely encounter some nasty IC including agents and a matrix oversight specialist, so it's useful to have some attack and armor programs to protect yourself. Any supplimentary money/karma will probably be used to upgrade your agents/programs up to military grade, and to purchase better general running gear.

An alternative view of an AR hacker is an infiltration specialist who can hack into localized security systems and open doors/decrypt nodes and steal locally housed data. For this I'd add a stealth, decrypt, and disarm program for good measure.

Combat-focused VR hackers are silly unless you're doing pink mohawk or specialized matrix oversight. I say don't bother, as there are much better hacker countermeasures than an attack program.

Infohackers are really where the hacker shines. This is the hacker that hacks security systems, loops cameras, reroutes drone patrols and opens locked doors. They're "easy buttons" for the rest of the team, and basically make everything a lot more manageable. Important programs: Stealth, Exploit, Edit, Spoof, Armor, Disarm, Decrypt, Tacsoft. This usually relies on a lot of hacker tricks for effectiveness, as well as management of the team's network/tacsoft.

I find the best AR hackers are mundanes whereas the best dedicated infohackers are Technomancers. I'm my team's primary hacker and I've spent a lot of time reading the matrix rules and if you'd like to know some tricks to piss your GM off, just PM me.
Cain
QUOTE
4. again an extension of the previous question, but if I were to do rigging and drones could you do that same type of security, telling them only accept commands coming with my passkey + biometrics and how secure would that be?

We went over this on RPG.net, but it bears repeating. It's only as good as your Firewall.

Your firewall represents how difficult it is to spoof your signal. So, even with the best passkey and biometrics, if you have an unsecure signal, someone can hack it and convince all your drones that the signal is coming from you. There are ways to toughen this up, but in the core book, the only real solution is to increase your Firewall. And even with the advanced options, a good firewall is still key.

If you want your drones more hack-resistant, what you can do is order them in spurts. Give them commands to accomplish, have them shut off their wireless until a preset time or event, and them come back onto the network to receive new commands. This approach has its problems, however, since you can't direct your drones in real-time. You have to rely on their Pilot programs and tactical 'softs to come through for you.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (Johnny B. Good @ Mar 4 2010, 07:52 PM) *
... Alternatively, a Technomancer. The rating of their complex forms are limited by their resonance scores, so a technomancer with a resonance of 7 can have a rating 7 program bought with karma, which (correct me if I'm wrong) can be made even higher with threading. Technomancers can also thread programs they don't have as well as program options, which make them true matrix boogeymen. Also, they can have sprites in addition to agents run off of a regular commlink.

A technomancer can't start game play with a Resonance of 7, but through Submersion can get there. Even so, by threading a complex form, a technomancer can have a complex form rated up to twice their Resonance score (and a skull splitting migraine to go along with). Then there's also the program options a technomancer can thread into their complex forms pretty much at will (one threading hit equals one option of choice, limited same as software), the fact that all of their complex forms are considered operating no matter what (not limited by their Response rating), and nothing I've seen that says a technomancer can't re-thread a complex form again and again to reach high levels (aside from taking multiple tests to resist fading).

On top of that, sprites can augment the complex forms of a technomancer, and other nifty tricks (like being natural riggers and automatically spoofing an access ID; near impossible to trace short of their last node of contact). And yes, there's nothing against technomancers using commlinks and agent programs as well to really confuse things. Played a technomancer that also had half a dozen commlinks and all the wharze (trode net, AR gloves, goggles with image link, etc.); even had some of the players fooled that I was a purely mundane hacker, among other things.

As for making drones (even vehicles) more hack resistant, load them up with an agent or IC with analyze and some kind of attack program as well as making sure their firewalls are higher grade. It'd be expensive (or time consuming to edit each agent for a unique access ID), but it'd be possible to nearly have an "Agent Smith" scenario with each drone carrying an armed agent program. Also don't forget about Encrypt/Decrypt programs so your communications can't just be sniffed out with a cheap sniffer program. Should make it even harder to spoof commands, though I don't recall if there's any game rules for this.
makari
cool, I had been ignoring all the technomancer rules thus far because I wanted to get a good hold on the matrix as a whole before I got into their unique way with it

are they like mages were it's still best to take cyber? or does cyber not affect them the way it does magic?

what's their main way of getting increased Initiative passes? just take all the same cyber a decker would take? or do they have some adept-like system of buying matrix powers that up their Initiative?

how about the commlink addon that gives an extra init pass up to a max of I think 5... do they have something similar internally or would they just use that commlink?
Aerospider
QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Mar 5 2010, 06:47 AM) *
... nothing I've seen that says a technomancer can't re-thread a complex form again and again to reach high levels (aside from taking multiple tests to resist fading).

RAW doesn't say one way or another on the subject, but I consider it implied that a complex form can only be threaded once at a time, if for no other reason than game balance. Otherwise, since threading does not take an action you could thread whatever CFs you need one rating point/option at a time and make a full fading test for each one. That would mean no damage (or almost no damage) for anything at maximum rating in an instant. No, if you want to boost your Exploit from 7 to 14 you have to do it all in one go and get ready to Edge it. If you disagree then you should at least apply the -2 sustaining modifier over and over as well.

QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Mar 5 2010, 06:47 AM) *
On top of that, sprites can augment the complex forms of a technomancer

Are you referring to the registered sprite service of assist operation? They don't really augment the CFs as such, but add their rating to a Matrix test. I think this is a bit overpowered and makes sprites quite wild-card-ish so I like to impose the condition that the sprite has the CF itself in order to know how to help.

QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Mar 5 2010, 06:47 AM) *
automatically spoofing an access ID

Do you have a quote for this? Can't remember ever reading it.
Dahrken
Technomancers are to hackers what adepts are to street sam. They have a special attribute, Resonance, that rule-wise works a lot like Magic, and is adversely affected by Essence loss.

They can gain extra Matrix actions and other goodies through Submersion - it works a lot like Initiation. They can even get the equivalent of wired reflexes, boosting theier speed in the meat world.

Tsithlis
QUOTE
cool, I had been ignoring all the technomancer rules thus far because I wanted to get a good hold on the matrix as a whole before I got into their unique way with it

are they like mages were it's still best to take cyber? or does cyber not affect them the way it does magic?

what's their main way of getting increased Initiative passes? just take all the same cyber a decker would take? or do they have some adept-like system of buying matrix powers that up their Initiative?

how about the commlink addon that gives an extra init pass up to a max of I think 5... do they have something similar internally or would they just use that commlink?


Technomancers are essentially technomages. You do not want to cyber them at all because of their loss of resonance with cyberware. As far as getting initiative passes in the matrix they have some things they can take after submerging like Overclocking and Advanced Overclocking (indecently advanced overclocking gives them 5 matrix passes). They can also get extra initiative passes outside the matrix by taking the Acceleration Echo. This is akin to the adepts Improved Reflexes skill and they can select it three times. Also its not hard for a technomancer right out of character gen to get program ratings of 12-15. (A little threading with some sprite assistance). If you want your god in the machine so to speak these guys are where its at. I will warn you however that as far as Karma goes Technomancers are about the worst class to play. They suck down karma like its the newest BUZZ Cola! So while everyone else will progress at a good rate you will feel like you're always catching up.
Tsithlis
QUOTE
Do you have a quote for this? Can't remember ever reading it.


Page 135 Unwired... Under Connecting
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
1. I see where it outlines creating your own hardware, and how the parts cost half what the upgrade would, etc... so that's cool, if I take hardware I can custom build my own commlink at half price, that's awesome... however, if I'm building it myself at character creation, does it say if availability would apply or is that a house rule situation? ie could I start with signal / response 6 commlink if I had hardware 6.

Build Points (or Karma) spent on Nuyen in character generation is a representation of the total value of your equipment, regardless of how it was acquired, not a representation of how much money your character has/had. Price increases or reductions (such as from market conditions or self-assembly) never apply, unless it is a property inherit in the item itself (such as the used cyber/bioware in Augmentation). The same applies to Availability.
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
2. As an extension of the previous question, I dont really see a place where it talks about coding your own software at character creation. it clearly outlines the costs and how to of creating your own hardware so I would assume you could do the same, but if I take software do I still need to "buy" all my programs, and like before does availability still matter if I'm coding them myself ( i dont really see how it could since that's entirely intellectual property ) but for the sake of balance could see it being house ruled.

See above.
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
3. about matrix security. obviously i'd like to not get my commlink hacked by every tom, dick, and dousche around, and from what I'm reading, it says a passkey is the most secure, with biometric type stuff second most... so why wouldn't I slave all my stuff to my commlink, and set my commlink to only accept commands from my admin account, requiring a passkey + my biometrics... and if I do this, am I missing something or am I right that short of finding a way to copy my biometrics and my hardcoded passkey I am secure?

It would prevent Joe Average from picking up your commlink & gaining control. It does not assist vs. hackers, as hacking is specifically bypassing security measures. Spoofing works more or less like hacking as well & would also bypass such security, but is more limited (although faster), as it is essentially sending a command that comes from an 'authorized source', rather than simply gaining admin access.
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
4. again an extension of the previous question, but if I were to do rigging and drones could you do that same type of security, telling them only accept commands coming with my passkey + biometrics and how secure would that be?

See above.
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
5. I realize that without a subscription and only pushing out commands to drones is the least secure way to have / use them. but it does seem that if push came to shove a well equipped rigger could bring to bare a small army all unto himself. what would prevent this short of the opposition having deckers / riggers to compete with? (ie. if we're running into a corp storage warehouse, and I were a rigger, why wouldn't the plan always be, step 1: find a way to get to and kill the in house rigger, step 2: bring in the army of uncontested drones for the win?)

Nothing, specifically. There are numerous limiting factors typically overlooked for controlling drones though. For example, each drone requires a subscription, drones can easily become quite expensive in large quantities, and it is often very difficult to 'bring along' multiple combat drones. Drones are also particularly vulnerable to jamming.
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
6. as I'm reading I'm trying to think of what "the big dog" in matrix actions would be... for example, the cybered street sam troll is generally the scariest physical threat you will see, able to whip out the big guns because he's strong enough to just carry them around, and having so much body and cyber that most small arms fire is little more than tickling him.. with some karma and money to fully beef himself out he can become a significant threat to entire combat units all by himself. but with all the rating limits and the way all the rules seem to work in matrix actions it just seems that any character with a 8 willpower and rating 6 commlink and programs still has something of a struggle with an average attribute 4 or 5, rating 4 hired decker or rigger. rarely ever being able to take out the opposition in a single turn and it would seem that for any type of security decker turn 1 in an intrusion like this would raise alarms for the rest of the facility.

Everything has a fixed limit, based on the 1-6 scale. Matrix dice pools are usually a little less, but comparable to physical dice pools. A Rating 5 Attack program is roughly equivalent to a Heavy Pistol. I fail to see the issue.

Exception: For some retarded reason, Magic is effectively "unlimited". This will almost never come up in actual gameplay, but I suggest limiting the natural Magic attribute to 7, Initiate Grade to 5, and apply augmented maximums as normal. The same applies to technomancer equivalents. Even when never reached, it greatly improves gameplay.
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
7. about rating limits on programs, I've seen some place where it mentions rating 7+ programs as existing as military and prototype stuff... so does that mean if I get my software skills up I can code rating 7, 8, 9 + programs? or is there some place that specifically says players can't get above 6?

Yes.
Tsithlis
QUOTE
Exception: For some retarded reason, Magic is effectively "unlimited". This will almost never come up in actual gameplay, but I suggest limiting the natural Magic attribute to 7, Initiate Grade to 5, and apply augmented maximums as normal. The same applies to technomancer equivalents.


I am not sure where you are reading this but according to page 68 SR4 book "the maximum rating of Magic is 6 + Initiation grad and the maximum rating for Resonance is 6 + Submersion grade. Under Submersion page 243 "a technomancer's grade cannot exceed his resonance attribute" This limits Resonance to 12 and I'm pretty sure magic is the same.

Edit... Nevermind I see under Increased resonance that you can buy resonance up a point once you submerge... I never noticed that before. I do believe though that this would be self limiting in the sheer amount of Karma required. Think about it. You Initiate 13 Karma, Then you buy Resonance to 7 21 Karma, Then you have to buy all your complex forms to 7 which is 7 karma per complex form. Then you start over again. That's Karma in levels that are not seen in normal games.
Johnny B. Good
QUOTE (Dahrken @ Mar 5 2010, 01:22 PM) *
Technomancers are to hackers what adepts are to street sam. They have a special attribute, Resonance, that rule-wise works a lot like Magic, and is adversely affected by Essence loss.

They can gain extra Matrix actions and other goodies through Submersion - it works a lot like Initiation. They can even get the equivalent of wired reflexes, boosting theier speed in the meat world.


Well technomancers are like what an adept is to a street sam in flavor only. If Adepts were superior in almost every way imaginable to Street Sams, then this would be an accurate comparison. Basically anything on the matrix that a hacker can do a technomancer can almost always do better.

I did hear somebody say once "If you're a technomancer, don't expect to win in a fight with a one-armed baby or anything," And this is very much true. They suck up karma like no tomorrow and it's very hard to make one that's also good at physical stuff.
Tsithlis
QUOTE
I did hear somebody say once "If you're a technomancer, don't expect to win in a fight with a one-armed baby or anything," And this is very much true. They suck up karma like no tomorrow and it's very hard to make one that's also good at physical stuff.


This is really close to the truth my chargen technomancer build looks like this... I mainly interact with the group through drones and rarely go into an actual firefight. Usually I stage some distance away and use Chameleon coated micro drones to bridge the wireless gap to the facility. I obviously use sprites for almost everything inside the matrix and usually have 7 bonded to me at a time with around 5-10 average services. I have rarely ever encounter a system that can handle what I can bring to bear in an average game. The only time things get really hairy is when I have to physically enter the facility but that's a lot of the fun of playing the character. I used most of my first karma to increase body and electronics at the beginning and ended up doing well since then.

Elf
B A R S C I L W E R
2 2 1 1 7 5 3 5 1 6

Skills
Compiling (Machine) 5(7)
Registering (Machine) 5(7)
Cracking 3
Electronics 1
Aerospider
QUOTE (Tsithlis @ Mar 5 2010, 12:40 PM) *
Also its not hard for a technomancer right out of character gen to get program ratings of 12-15. (A little threading with some sprite assistance).

Sprites can't help with threading besides sustaining them for you. They can help with the use of the CF if that's what you mean...?

As threaded CFs are limited to double Resonance I assume your quote of 15 is incorporationg the optimisation option at rating 3, yes? Throw a rating 6 sprite on top and that's a DP of 21. It's no wonder people had a tough time accepting the Emerged into society!
Tsithlis
QUOTE
Sprites can't help with threading besides sustaining them for you. They can help with the use of the CF if that's what you mean...?


Yeah I was just saying it simply. What I was referring to specifically was taking say a complex form 6, threading it by 4 points (low drain) and then applying the sprites resonance of 6 and coming out with a complex form of rating 16. Of course then you add your skill of 5-6 and your now in the low 20's. And that's not even talking about how easy it is to hack a system with a stealth program rating 16.
makari
.... .... .... .... right....


so it looks like I may go technomancer....

gotta start reading, this is all good stuff, keep it coming smile.gif

are they like mages in that taking 1 pt of ess loss is worthwhile for cybereyes or something similarly simple but infinately useful? cerebral boosters maybe?
Cwell
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Mar 5 2010, 02:03 PM) *
Exception: For some retarded reason, Magic is effectively "unlimited". This will almost never come up in actual gameplay, but I suggest limiting the natural Magic attribute to 7, Initiate Grade to 5, and apply augmented maximums as normal. The same applies to technomancer equivalents. Even when never reached, it greatly improves gameplay.

I'd rather house rule the following (applies to Resonance as well) :
- natural Magic limited by Essence,
- Initiation Grade limited by Essence. (rounded down of course, can't have 6 natural Magic on a 5.5 Essence char)
- Each Augmented Magic point (above Essence) requires another Initiation Grade.
Initiate Grade 1 & Magic 5(6) for the 5.5 Essence char above; max beeing Magic 6(12) for a Grade 6 Initiate char with 6 Essence.
(DM free to use scenarii / campaign stuff to go beyond or get Essence bonus)

The Essence limitation is quite easy to pick. By definition, Technology & Magic are not compatible, they simply co-exist, but one is impeding the other (Essence Loss & Magic loss of 'ware). Mundane characters are limited by Essence for augmentations (and money, where Awakened need Karma), but you don't want the Awakened to have both the full tech potential & the full magic potential, ruining the Mundane's life ... for 5 BPs.
That would provide a "maximum power pool transfer" for an awakened char if he wants 'ware (choosing between Magic only or Magic + 'ware). It also avoids the awakened abuse of Essence 2, Initiate 6, Magic 7 characters (take turn between +Initiation then +Magic then Essence loss, and simply the numerical possibility of 0.01 Essence Awakened char with Magic 12 & Initiate 12).
Finaly, simply by looking at "Char starts with Essence 6" & "maximum Magic is 6 + Grade" stuff you may decide 6 can be replaced by Essence (ok, ok, it's a d6 system nyahnyah.gif )

That way, you take out the non-sense loop, keep the Mundane & Awakened chars in relative balance, which in turn does not make mundane chars a sub-par type to play in medium/long-term campaigns (150+ Karma).
Tsithlis
I myself would never cyber my techo its just not worth it. According to the book you can learn Smartlink as a level 1 complex form and you already have an image link and sound link as part of your biological pan so what would be the point after that. If your worried about image magnification and image enhancement get you some contacts that are wireless capable. Besides all of that remember you are a technomancer which means that physical fights are probably going to be excessively dangerous for you.

As far as where to focus as a techno, start out focusing on sprites with a decent rating in the Cracking tree. Then build into the Electronics tree. (sprites can completely cover the electronic tree better than you can at the start anyway with sprite powers). I also prefer to start with a 6 Resonance and all my Cf's at 6 since buying up 8-10 cf's to 6 after charactergen can cost 50-60 karma as opposed to the 8-10 build points.
Never forget that all IC functions as Blackout IC for you (except Black Hammer of course) and all matrix damage is done to your stun box and you cant use the medic program on yourself.
A couple of cool things. You get a +2 to all matrix perception checks since you can feel the resonance (think Neo in the matrix with the scrolling characters). You are always Hot Simmed and can never become addicted to hot sim. Since you are always hot sim you have +2 dice to all actions you take in VR (including summoning sprites, threading programs, hacking a firewall, etc).
Johnny B. Good
I could see taking one point of essence loss for some combat 'ware, but see the one-armed baby argument above. Another altearnative is the Rigger thing that gives you +2 while jumped in if you're a dronomancer (I'm not sure if this stacks with the +1 for submersion). But if you're going infohacker I'd suggest not cybering up at all, as there's not a whole lot of 'ware that will benefit you as a hacker. While mental attribute boosts will be nice, there's not a whole lot that you can't cover out of chargen statwise. Since your biological pan's stats are based on your mental attributes, I suggest putting a lot of points in Charisma (biofeedback filter), and whatever attribute gives you firewall.

See if your GM lets you take non-standard complex forms, such as Smartlink and Tacsoft. Man it is so cool to have a tacsoft running from my character's brain.

I also highly suggest the Shield program from Unwired. Much more bang for your buck in that one.
makari
ok, I'm thinking I'm going to go complete support matrix char

I'm loving the tacsoft idea, and like the idea of having drones to assist in building that network out.

so drone techno focused entirely on support, tacsofts... I was about to type lots of knowledge skills and languages but I suppose if I'm in the matrix there's no need right? I can syphen any incoming audio through a translator and most any knowledge skill could be handled by a data search pretty safely correct?
Ryu
If you want scary power, you almost have to augment your technomancer. Trauma Damper, Cerebral Booster, Suprathyroid Gland... an effective Resonance of 4 can be enough, which is sweet for karmagen users.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Mar 5 2010, 05:19 AM) *
Are you referring to the registered sprite service of assist operation? They don't really augment the CFs as such, but add their rating to a Matrix test. I think this is a bit overpowered and makes sprites quite wild-card-ish so I like to impose the condition that the sprite has the CF itself in order to know how to help.

Yes, but the way it works it is an augmentation in the way my mind works, even though it is only temporary. RAI it's probably a good idea to enforce that the sprite have the complex form you're boosting, but RAW doesn't specify that at all. In my gameplay and fiction, I'm lining up the sprites and their complex forms to what the technomancer is boosting.
QUOTE
Do you have a quote for this? Can't remember ever reading it.

Yup.
QUOTE (Unwired, page 135)
Connecting
When a technomancer goes online, his living persona acts as a biological commlink and routes his connection requests, data transfers, and other traffic through the nearest wireless node within his signal range to the rest of the Matrix. Since technomancers donít have hardwired access IDs, they automatically spoof one (see Spoofing the Datatrail, p. 224, SR4) without needing to perform any tests.

Though I presume this is in trying to identify a technomancer at all after a hack. Since you can't change your access ID while you're logged into a node, technomancers are still vulnerable to being traced and potentially identified while they're hacking like any other hacker, so the Spoof complex form to redirect a trace (and the other things it can do) is still very valuable. Once a technomancer has logged off the node, at best you'll get the last known location to within signal range of the device.

And if you're gonna make a technomancer that's gonna focus on stuff like skillsofts, you have to take the Biowire echo (Unwired, page 145 & 149) to do so; you cannot thread and use any kind of skillsoft otherwise. The advanced echo Acceleration is a good one to follow up with if you're going to make a scarier real-world technomancer (with the above bioware suggestions; might wanna consider the Biocompatibility or Type O System qualities in Augmentation to cut the essence loss), and for deeper submergence to make your Biowire echo more effective. Acceleration is effectively a Wired Reflexes implant with a rating equal to the number of times you take the Acceleration echo.
makari
not going so much for any significant physical strength, want to focus entirely on being party support, drones, information, tacsoft, etc...

if I go cyber rigger I'm pretty clearly not going to be the best in the matrix, however I do like having all the mental boosts and skill bonus's from the cyber and bio, being able to have like 20 skills that I can roll 10+ die for, from lonestar tactics, to corp procedures, to safehouse locations, to gang territories, I like being the party know it all, and also love tacsoft


if I go techno I rock the matrix like the fist of an angry god but it seems like you loose some of the versatility, you really have to focus on attributes cutting deep into the bp for skill points, you cant really cyber out for all the hefty knowledge and attribute bonus's but still have enough to buy that it seems you still need significant resources plus anything you save you'll end up using to buy technomancer and resonance, I like the awesomeness of their matrix power but how much skillwise do they sacrifice?

also a couple more questions, it mentions that technomancer skills are more intuitive and use resonance whereas a hackers skill is technical skill... and a technomancer has to buy the skill again as the mundane version to learn to do it the physical way... would this affect things like drone repair? would I have to buy hardware twice, once as techno once as hacker, can someone clarify what skills I may have to get twice in this regard?

makari
thought of another quick question, it mentions that technomancer "bionodes" are unhackable, unspoofable by non-technomancers... does this mean if I have a secondary comlink (for data storage and to look norm), and slave it to my bionode, that that commlink would essentially be unhackable and unspoofable also, because it's slaved to the resonance awesomeness that is me...



same goes for drones, if a technomancer has drones and they are a slaved subscription, does that make them unspoofable except by other technomancers? (obviously they could still be jammed)

which brings up another question, technomancer signal is pretty low, is jamming going to be a severe issue whereas a signal 5 or 6 cyber hacker wouldn't have that many jamming problems?
makari
edit: also just finished reading the sidebar about "the exchange" VPN and the random requests... any place have more information on it and has anyone used it in their campaign, seems fun
SpellBinder
Starting techonomancers that are really good at hacking and such tend to lose out for the other skills. Last one I played couldn't fight to save his life; no ranks in firearms or close combat, only had Dodge at 1. Physical abilities were average or less, but the mental abilities were above average (human).

Regarding skills, this could be up to your GM. Last one I had, and I myself would follow the same, the technomancer would just have to be able to access the device wirelessly for any kind of software access and script the code by their "mental gymnastics". Of course, this will result in code that non-technomancers will not understand despite the fact that it works; it'll be obvious that the device was tampered with or altered by a technomancer. Learning the mundane versions of the same skills would really be for a technomancer who wants to "go retro"; a.k.a., use a commlink and other gear to do the hacking. This would apply to hardware as well, I think. Think of it as an intuitive user's manual you somehow know when you use the skill (based on the skill rating), but you don't actually have the PDF file of it. Best to check with your GM to see how they'll rule this.

As for the "unhackable commlink", I'd think you'd have to skinlink it and cut its WiFi for that to work, if it'll work at all; better if you have the Skinlink echo. Drones, as you can't use this skinlink trick, will be vulnerable to hacking and spoofing as even a technomancer's ID (as random as it may be) must conform to hardware standards and can be identified. Only sprites are nearly unspoofable to non-technomancers, as all technomancer commands carry a trace of resonance (something mundane hardware and software cannot identify); there's an echo that'll let a technomancer spoof the resonance signature of another, but it's useless against drones and agents.

Jamming can be handled by a few ways. One is to run your signal through a commlink that has a more powerful signal rating, and step stone this as far as necessary. There's also an ECCM complex form technomancers can thread if it's not known, depending on the situation. Having a satellite link of some kind can help in this regard, as long as time and speed aren't important.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 5 2010, 08:06 PM) *
edit: also just finished reading the sidebar about "the exchange" VPN and the random requests... any place have more information on it and has anyone used it in their campaign, seems fun


QUOTE (SRM17, Patient Zero)
The Exchange Ė [blocked]. The Exchange does not follow the rules for a normal contact. Instead, use the following. At the start of each adventure, the GM makes a secret Opposed Test between the character and the Exchange, using a dice pool of 3 for each. If there are no net hits on either side, the Exchange remains quiet for the adventure. If the player receives more hits, the Exchange will at some point in the adventure quietly provide a benefit equivalent to Favor Rating equal to the net hits. If the Exchange wins, the Exchange will ask for a favor with a Favor Rating equal to the net hits at some point in the adventure; if the character fails to perform the favor, the Exchange tags him or her as unreliable and no longer gives the character access to the Exchange network. For more information on Favor Ratings, see SR4, p. 280-281.

I edited it just a little, but that little only applies to the adventure itself so as to not ruin it too much.
SleepIncarnate
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 5 2010, 08:51 PM) *
also a couple more questions, it mentions that technomancer skills are more intuitive and use resonance whereas a hackers skill is technical skill... and a technomancer has to buy the skill again as the mundane version to learn to do it the physical way... would this affect things like drone repair? would I have to buy hardware twice, once as techno once as hacker, can someone clarify what skills I may have to get twice in this regard?


No, the TM would still be able to repair or modify a drone via hardware, but any non-TM watching them would have no clue what he's doing, because the TM works off just knowing how things work together, diving into the wiring and the like and having an intuitive feel for what goes where, whereas non-TMs have to be trained to understand the schematics and so on. Think of it as the difference between a native speaker of a language, and someone who learned it later in life. The native speaker won't even have to think about what they're doing, but the second language speaker will often make mistakes or have to stop and think. It's an oversimplified example that doesn't do it justice, but it gives a basic idea.
Sengir
QUOTE (makari @ Mar 6 2010, 03:56 AM) *
thought of another quick question, it mentions that technomancer "bionodes" are unhackable, unspoofable by non-technomancers... does this mean if I have a secondary comlink (for data storage and to look norm), and slave it to my bionode, that that commlink would essentially be unhackable and unspoofable also, because it's slaved to the resonance awesomeness that is me...

It does smile.gif
There are three ways to penetrate slaved devices:
- Gain wired access to the slave. As if that was not hard enough, the attacker gets +2 to his thresholds for the intrusion.
- Hack the master node (harrr, harrr).
- Spoof commands to the slave. "You are no longer slaved to any node" would be possible, but a technomancer will certainly notice if one of his devices stops talking to him.

QUOTE
which brings up another question, technomancer signal is pretty low, is jamming going to be a severe issue whereas a signal 5 or 6 cyber hacker wouldn't have that many jamming problems?

There is nothing to stop you from bringing along your own S 5 commlink. In fact it makes perfect sense, because technomancers get quite edgy when losing their connection to the matrix and wireless coverage can always be a bit spotty.
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