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Getting ready to start a Shadowrun campaign and I've been giving a lot of thought to hacking.

My last campaign was bogged down whenever there was the need for a lot of hacking. So I'm trying to decide if I should streamline it, or get rid of PC hacking altogether, or try to figure out how to pick up the pace a little bit with it.


It shouldn't bog things down too much. Couple of exploit rolls to get in. If they don't get caught, they just go around doing whatever and make a few rolls every now and then. If they do, then they fight a few IC as they try to do their stuff, which gets a little more complex, but shouldn't be too bad as long as everyone knows what they're doing.

I suggest making yourself a scream sheet with all the important hacking things on it. Example:
Getting into a system:
Hacker's Hacking + exploit vs system's Firewall (or whatever, not going to look it up)
Fighting an IC:
Hacker's cybercombat + attack vs IC's system + rating
IC's rating + attack vs Hacker's cybercombat + whatever.

I'm sure I got all the rolls wrong, but I think you get the idea. Having that on hand (maybe including what the numbers are if you only have one hacker and one (or a few) kind of IC.
I handle the hacker just like I handle the Face:

Face: "I ask people in bars what they know about [x]"
GM: "Roll an extended Charisma+Etiquette (or whatever is appropriate), 1h interval"
[after rolling]
GM: "You finally learn that [y]"
Hacker: "I search the Matrix for information about [x]"
GM: "Roll an extended Datasearch+Browse, 1min interval"
[after rolling]
GM: "You finally learn that [y]"

Face: "I'll try to cut a deal with [important NPC]"
[roleplay the scene]
Hacker: "I'll hack this important system"
[roleplay the scene]

GM: "You see a security guard who ask for your badge."
Face: "I yell that it's an emergency and I don't have time for this"
GM: "Roll charisma+leadership"
GM: "He let you pass"
GM: "You see a wireless security camera."
Hacker: "I hack the feed."
GM: "Roll electronic warfare+spoof"
GM: "You hack the feed"

I've never seen people complain that the Face is bogging down the game so you shouldn't have any problem this way.
The simplest answer is: don't let the Hacker take over the game. Put a limit on what can be learned through Data Search, streamline the hacks (as Karoline said, a couple rolls to get in, a roll or two to do what they want to do, get out), and don't be afraid to just put a stop to it and let someone else in the group do something. "Technically" it is possible that the Hacker could do most (if not all) of the group's legwork for a run through Data Searches and Hacks of key systems: just don't let them. Let your Hacker do a search, follow up a lead from that search by hacking a system, then put that player "on hold" and move on to someone else, eg. the Face as he does "social research."

Keep the Matrix stuff moving and don't be afraid to "abstract" things, the new Matrix system is great for that. When in doubt about what to roll for a particular Matrix action, don't bother to stop and look it up: just pick a skill and a program for the PC, then pick a couple stats to appose it from the Node's end (Rating x 2, or Firewall + Analyze are my defaults), make the roll and move on.
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