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Fatum
And yes, I am looking at you, you know who you are.


The following questions might seem obvious, but my group has run into trouble handling them, so I'd like some advice from GMs more experienced.
So, there are characters who are into sneaking: stealing things, setting explosives, whatever. That requires some infiltration and some teamwork on their side, and as long as only tech security with some human backup is involved, everything works fine.
Now, as soon as we throw the mages into the equation, everything gets a bit more complicated.

First, is there a way to fool detection spells like Detect Life? With the amount of detail it gives, everything a wagemage has to do is have it sustained at Extended range, and be aware of anyone entering the compound?

Second, how do you deal with spirits stealthily? With Watchers, you could at least try fooling them - say, with the team's mage placing a wall before them (but that still raises questions like "wouldn't it try to go around the wall" and "if I cover it with a dome-shaped barrier, won't the wagemage lose his connection to the watcher and feel that?"). But what about the full-fledged spirits?

Also in what comes to mages, rules state that a mage can cast as far as he can see - but a metahuman can see as far as several dozen kilometers, especially with cybereyes!

Third, sure SR4 makes hacking more streamlined, but is there a way to deal with tech security without a hacker on call and without telling everyone that you've been there? Do you just let your infiltrators roll Infiltration against the cams/guards monitoring the cams, whatever the circumstances, even with a shadowrunning traversing a typical empty office corridor under the electronic eyes?
Also, each hack means a chance to warn the security you're there - how do you handle failures when hacking on the fly?
Yerameyahu
Barriers don't stop the summoner connectionů it's not radio. smile.gif But, casting a barrier'd be something noticeable.

Yes, mages can cast far.

Infiltration works against cameras and sensors, when reasonably possible.

Hacking failures typically raise Alarms; alarm responses are in the book, including a little random table.
Fatum
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 15 2011, 08:12 AM) *
Infiltration works against cameras and sensors, when reasonably possible.
Neat answer that contains zero information, actually meaning "up to GM".
What is "reasonably possible"? Tech security descriptions don't have much on Infiltration usage - which sensors do you consider to be beatable?

QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 15 2011, 08:12 AM) *
Hacking failures typically raise Alarms; alarm responses are in the book, including a little random table.
Core book responses are ultra-retarded. "Come on boys, some script kiddie just scanned our host, let's reboot it and drop the thousands of our users! 99.99%! Here go our bonuses!"
Udoshi
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 14 2011, 09:12 PM) *
Infiltration works against cameras and sensors, when reasonably possible.


Considering that Vehicles roll Infiltration(+reaction+handling, infil capped by pilot skill) to sneak past sensors, and that metahumans may oppose sensor tests in the same way with agi+infiltration, and that specific sensors are example specializations of the Infiltration skill...

Yes, infiltration works against sensors.

And don't forget to account for the metahuman signature of -3.

Regarding the Spirit/Summoner link detailed in street magic: I don't believe a mana barrier will cut it off. watcher spirits are also absolutely terrible at noticing detail. two dice is begging to glitch each time they role. and they can't even buy a hit.
SpellBinder
Never had it come up in a game yet, but based on the numbers I always wondered why players were so keen on avoiding the patrol area of a watcher spirit. Limited to a Force of 1 means a DP of 2 for Perception (as Udoshi mentioned). Even a player experienced in playing a magician was leery about trying to sneak past a watcher when spotting one on a patrol. However, there are more creative ways to use watchers to guard places and/or things (taken from SM, the watcher sits inside the vault waiting for a safe cracker to open it).

As for hacking, the security response should be reflected on the type of node. Some nodes will reboot as an absolute last resort, having a patrolling IC or two instead to attack hackers on sight. Also, a node may not reboot at all, letting a spider or agent trace the hacker's physical location while said hacker thinks he/she is still in the clear. Super high security nodes may not even be connected to the matrix at all if there's no need for it (like a factory's security system node, while a separate marketing node is easily accessible online).

As for the Detect Life spell, it looks like an opposed Magic + Spellcasting vs. Willpower + Counterspelling as soon as one enters the area. Having the party magician protect the others with Counterspelling and score enough hits to at least tie the detecting magician's Spellcasting hits and the detecting magician gets nothing even though the spell is still up and running. Probably one of the few cases where a Detection Counterspelling focus is useful.
kzt
Security systems skills should be helpful to any sort of infiltration. It's very difficult to evade a sensor you don't understand or expect. It's much easier if you recognize the model and therefore know it's limitations. Or at least know that you don't want to go that route.
Dakka Dakka
Don't forget, cover and infiltration works against Assensing as ll. The Infiltrators won't get the bonuses from all the neat gimmicks (like Ruzthenium Polymers or Camouflage suits) but they can still remain out of sight. You may want to apply a negative modifier since they can't know where the observer will be.
TheOOB
In most facilities, a magicians detect life spell would return far too much information to be useful, the human mind is not a computer.

Patrolling spirits and the like are usually more on the look out for astral intruders. They have an easier time seeing astral forms that auras, and honestly spirits don't usually understand much about the human activity going on in the physical plane, and are not likely to care about a couple of auras unless they are doing something really suspicious.

So basically, unless a spirit is set to watch a specific area for a specific action, they are likely to get a penalty on their assessing check to notice intruders if they bother to make a check at all. There are guards, drones, cameras, and dogs to see the mundane intruders. The real danger spirits pose to mundane intruders is if an alarm gets triggered, and they come to fight them as part of their service. Of course, if there is a patrolling astral magician all bets are off, but most facilities can't afford to keep one of those around all the time.

Also note, that the skill isn't stealth, it's infiltration. It's not just silent movement and hiding behind cover, it's a wide range of techniques to avoid being detected, including bypassing sensors, and acting in a way as to not draw astral attention.
LurkerOutThere
As others have said magic is not any more fool proof when it comes to detecting intruders then cameras and drones. Assensing/Astral perception of the material world is not an exact science and it might be hard to spot a metahumans aura.

Now on your technical question the runners are going to have more difficulty. Certainly just avoiding the monitoring guards (and agents don't forget agents, their cheaper then real guards) is a matter of iniltration or disguise vs perception. The real issue your going to face however is if the run doesn't go completely unnoticed eventually the security logs are going to be scrtinized, and then it's almost guaranteed your noticed. What they can do with that information depends on other precations your players take, masks, disguises and other things to obscure who they are will help a lot. They do have options most obvious way if you don't care if the run goes unnoticed or not is just getting access to the backups and destroying them. Similarly cameras can be shot out, but there goes your stealth option.

The final option the runners have if they don't want to sub contract for hacking services is agents, their not as good as having a real hacker at their disposable, but they are better then nothing and might be able to neutralize individual wireless enabled cameras or wireless ones you can get access to their wiring.
Makki
extensive Legwork to find out guard routes, security systems etc, should give them some bonus. If they invest time and money to bribe the guard on duty, this should be rewarded heavily.

A lot was said about spirits, who are still limited by walls and ceilings. And their limited understanding of how to identify intruders from personal. So are Mages. LOS is everything in SR.

There are a lot of sensors described in the core rule book. And cameras usually have blind spots and/or game watching sec guards on the other end. Agents have really weak dice pools for perception through sensor test. Not every facility has Rating 6 equipment, while runners usually do.
Yerameyahu
*shrug* I thought 'when reasonable' was pretty obvious. You can't hide from sensors with 100% coverage (empty room with overlapping cameras, or when walking through a cyberware scanner), but that's basically never the situation.

As for alarms, you don't *have* to use the random response. They're examples. Use your brain, GM. nyahnyah.gif
Fatum
QUOTE (SpellBinder @ May 15 2011, 11:51 AM) *
Never had it come up in a game yet, but based on the numbers I always wondered why players were so keen on avoiding the patrol area of a watcher spirit. Limited to a Force of 1 means a DP of 2 for Perception (as Udoshi mentioned). Even a player experienced in playing a magician was leery about trying to sneak past a watcher when spotting one on a patrol. However, there are more creative ways to use watchers to guard places and/or things (taken from SM, the watcher sits inside the vault waiting for a safe cracker to open it).
I always thought that you have to be aware of being watched to roll Infiltration against Perception. For mundane infiltrators and watchers on Astral watching for auras, this is not the case.

QUOTE (SpellBinder @ May 15 2011, 11:51 AM) *
As for the Detect Life spell, it looks like an opposed Magic + Spellcasting vs. Willpower + Counterspelling as soon as one enters the area. Having the party magician protect the others with Counterspelling and score enough hits to at least tie the detecting magician's Spellcasting hits and the detecting magician gets nothing even though the spell is still up and running. Probably one of the few cases where a Detection Counterspelling focus is useful.
So, for offline hosts, you have to tag a hacker along; for Detect spells which don't work beyond the fence, you have to bring your mage, too? That's some infiltration for you.

QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ May 15 2011, 12:38 PM) *
Don't forget, cover and infiltration works against Assensing as ll. The Infiltrators won't get the bonuses from all the neat gimmicks (like Ruzthenium Polymers or Camouflage suits) but they can still remain out of sight. You may want to apply a negative modifier since they can't know where the observer will be.
Yeah, we've discussed it before, I believe. However, see above - how can you try to avoid detection by something you're not aware about?

QUOTE (TheOOB @ May 15 2011, 01:42 PM) *
In most facilities, a magicians detect life spell would return far too much information to be useful, the human mind is not a computer.
Well, the rules put it like this:
QUOTE
In a crowded area, the spell is virtually useless, picking up a blurred mass of traces.
The thing is, for infiltrators and not faces, most infiltration attempts happen during the off hours, when the facilities aren't all that crowded.

QUOTE ( @ May 15 2011, 01:42 PM) *
Patrolling spirits and the like are usually more on the look out for astral intruders. They have an easier time seeing astral forms that auras, and honestly spirits don't usually understand much about the human activity going on in the physical plane, and are not likely to care about a couple of auras unless they are doing something really suspicious. So basically, unless a spirit is set to watch a specific area for a specific action, they are likely to get a penalty on their assessing check to notice intruders if they bother to make a check at all.
You can order a spirit to inform you about any auras in its patrol area not in a predetermined set. What in the rules is stopping it from executing that command successfully, without any kind of penalties?

QUOTE (TheOOB @ May 15 2011, 01:42 PM) *
Of course, if there is a patrolling astral magician all bets are off, but most facilities can't afford to keep one of those around all the time.
Well, those that are worth penetrating can. The only way to deal with one I see is spotting him before he spots you (say, with your own projecting mage), and then using Infiltration to avoid detection; am I missing something?

QUOTE (Makki @ May 15 2011, 04:44 PM) *
cameras usually have blind spots and/or game watching sec guards on the other end. Agents have really weak dice pools for perception through sensor test. Not every facility has Rating 6 equipment, while runners usually do.
Okay, I should have said earlier - we're talking facilities with competent personnel here, like zero zones, triple A black R&D centers, what have you.
In what comes to blind zones - have you ever been to places with actual cam-based security? Not shops, where cams monitor the shelves and can be fooled, but actual enterprises where cams are used for intrusion detection? Just hang a cam right over the door from the inside - and I can hardly imagine a way to enter without being spotted; same goes for corridors and most rooms.

QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 15 2011, 05:49 PM) *
*shrug* I thought 'when reasonable' was pretty obvious. You can't hide from sensors with 100% coverage (empty room with overlapping cameras, or when walking through a cyberware scanner), but that's basically never the situation.
As for alarms, you don't *have* to use the random response. They're examples. Use your brain, GM. nyahnyah.gif
"Use your own judgment" and "think for yourself" are hardly constructive answers; if I wanted to go with my current rulings I wouldn't be asking for your opinions.
Halflife
There is no reason I can think of that you need to be aware of being watched when you are attempting to be sneaky. Similar logic applied in reverse would indicate that you don't get a perception roll unless you know that someone is sneaking in and are going to look for them.

If you can be vigilante about looking around you can be vigilante about hiding from as many possible sensors/watchers as you can imagine, which includes pretty much everything for a reasonably intelligent infiltrator. If you have problems with astral people not being able to spot mundane infiltrators well enough then go ahead and slap some modifiers on astral perception or sneaking or what have you.
tagz
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ May 15 2011, 09:38 AM) *
Don't forget, cover and infiltration works against Assensing as ll. The Infiltrators won't get the bonuses from all the neat gimmicks (like Ruzthenium Polymers or Camouflage suits) but they can still remain out of sight. You may want to apply a negative modifier since they can't know where the observer will be.

I mostly agree, but I'd recommend a positive bonus to the astral observer rather then a dice pool penalty to the infiltrator. His sneaking ability isn't reduced from an unknown observer, he isn't more likely to glitch, etc. But the observer is more likely to observe if it has excellent positioning.

If the observer has regular positioning then it should only get bonuses from aura contrast and low background count, etc, and the infiltrator doesn't get a perception test to spot the guy that might see him. Which might mean as he walks closer and closer the observer gets more chances to spot with better positioning circumstance bonuses, assuming the infiltrator moves towards the observer.

Just my take.
CanadianWolverine
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 15 2011, 06:49 AM) *
*shrug* I thought 'when reasonable' was pretty obvious. You can't hide from sensors with 100% coverage (empty room with overlapping cameras, or when walking through a cyberware scanner), but that's basically never the situation.

As for alarms, you don't *have* to use the random response. They're examples. Use your brain, GM. nyahnyah.gif


I would just like to say as someone who helps build rooms and security, sensors never have 100% coverage, at least IRL anyways. There are always crawl spaces and if there isn't one, you can make one - interior walls are mostly for looks and even exterior walls unless specifically designed are ridiculously easy to find or make an opening in for anyone familiar with the tools and the layouts of walls. We don't build many log cabins these days and even insulated concrete forms rarely go all the way to the roof and only a bit harder to make an opening in then metal, wood, plastic, and glass. And don't think there is a crawl space? How do they maintain the security sensor system anyways?

Here come the con-artistry, disguises and sheet/box made of material of whatever the sensors are blind to...

Oh, and for the astral, if its really a big worry, I suggest vermin or flash crowds for false positives and omni-directional cover like a box or ... holy crap, why hasn't anyone tried some sort of ball before, like meta-human gerbil ball or something? biggrin.gif

Its like you've never watched The Hunted, Burn Notice, The Saint, Bourne (series) etc before, for a GM willing to see the possibilities, everything should have a chance to be Infiltrated, IMHO. Remember, Shadow is part of Shadowrunner, too many focus only on the Running part.
Fatum
QUOTE (Halflife @ May 15 2011, 09:42 PM) *
There is no reason I can think of that you need to be aware of being watched when you are attempting to be sneaky. Similar logic applied in reverse would indicate that you don't get a perception roll unless you know that someone is sneaking in and are going to look for them.
Uh, imagine that you're in a room with some good cover in it - say, a cubicle wall running its length, along the way you need to go. Somewhere in this room is a cam, but you can't see it. Which side of the wall should you sneak along not to be spotted by the cam? You don't know.
Infiltration is mostly built around avoiding the sensors' fields of vision - if you don't know where those are, what good are your techniques?

QUOTE (tagz @ May 15 2011, 09:52 PM) *
I mostly agree, but I'd recommend a positive bonus to the astral observer rather then a dice pool penalty to the infiltrator. His sneaking ability isn't reduced from an unknown observer, he isn't more likely to glitch, etc. But the observer is more likely to observe if it has excellent positioning.
I believe Dakka Dakka noted that the runner is not getting the bonuses from his tech toys against astral observers - and it's obviously true, since your ruthenium suit is not hiding your aura at all.

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 15 2011, 09:55 PM) *
I would just like to say as someone who helps build rooms and security, sensors never have 100% coverage, at least IRL anyways. There are always crawl spaces and if there isn't one, you can make one - interior walls are mostly for looks and even exterior walls unless specifically designed are ridiculously easy to find or make an opening in for anyone familiar with the tools and the layouts of walls.
Uh, why would you need 100% coverage, when you just have to reliably cover the choke points?
And yeah, you can blast through walls, but that's hardly "leave-no-trace" infiltration then, is it?

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 15 2011, 09:55 PM) *
And don't think there is a crawl space? How do they maintain the security sensor system anyways?
I got the impression that when the system is being serviced, noone cares about the alarms, since they're forewarned, and a guard watches over the temporarily blind spot. That's how they did it where I worked, at least.

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 15 2011, 09:55 PM) *
Oh, and for the astral, if its really a big worry, I suggest vermin or flash crowds for false positives and omni-directional cover like a box or ... holy crap, why hasn't anyone tried some sort of ball before, like meta-human gerbil ball or something? biggrin.gif
Reading Detect Life spell description, I don't see anything about walls or much less boxes blocking it. Or anything less than a crowd making it useless, so that'll have to be a lot of vermin.
longbowrocks
QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 15 2011, 09:55 AM) *
I would just like to say as someone who helps build rooms and security, sensors never have 100% coverage, at least IRL anyways.

Thank you. This is one place where an RL example helps since the books don't specify whether you can get 100% coverage on security.
Halflife
QUOTE (Fatum @ May 15 2011, 02:11 PM) *
Infiltration is mostly built around avoiding the sensors' fields of vision - if you don't know where those are, what good are your techniques?


That's not actually true because if you were avoiding the field of vision then you aren't making a test now are you, you just don't get observed. Unless you are using very abstract sorts of rolls where someone is breaking through an entire facility with one roll.

Infiltration is things like, making yourself a small target, moving in a way that doesn't attract attention, blending in with your surroundings via camo/ruthenium, making little noise etc. Those things assume that you are being observed but don't require it. There is a large degree of psychological engineering to it as well. If you know what sensors in general look for to say HEY PERSON, whether it is movement, heat signature, or outline, you can confuse it.
longbowrocks
QUOTE (Fatum @ May 15 2011, 10:11 AM) *
Reading Detect Life spell description, I don't see anything about walls or much less boxes blocking it. Or anything less than a crowd making it useless, so that'll have to be a lot of vermin.

I think it's pretty simple how the basic detect life spell works. It's like you can see the location of every living thing within a certain radius, but you can't tag or color code or other wise attain additional information. It would be odd to "see" life forms coming through the front gate at midnight, but if they keep up a normal pace, it might seem more plausible. Once the runners are inside the building, There shouldn't be much danger from detect life as long as they act like patrolling guards (regardless of what they look like).
longbowrocks
QUOTE (Halflife @ May 15 2011, 10:21 AM) *
That's not actually true because if you were avoiding the field of vision then you aren't making a test now are you, you just don't get observed. Unless you are using very abstract sorts of rolls where someone is breaking through an entire facility with one roll.

Kinda house ruling there. It's vague, since our GM does that, but there's a grey area covering this whole concept. If you describe your actions carefully enough, then you can use this play style to skip out on a large number of rolls. That's no fun for the guys who are being marginalized because they invested in relevant skills, but can't keep up with your meta-knowledge on the subject.
I think a better way to do it is like this:
If I play a street sammy/infiltrator who wants admin access to a facility that runs on Windows, I'll aid my hacker buddy by infiltrating the facility for him and maybe take a small drone with me so he can work his magic on the computers "in person". I won't just burn OphCrack to a CD and do the whole thing myself (I'd reconsider if the hacker does it). It's all about separation of duties to make sure everyone gets to play.
Halflife
I agree it can be annoying to let meta-knowledge sideline certain character archetypes and I try to avoid it wherever possible. However, if you have to decide between laying out a camera network with 100% coverage and telling an infiltrator that they can't get through it and laying down a single camera with a blind spot and having them walk through the blindspot with no check, I find the second option much less painful. I find the best way to deal with carefully described actions is to award modifiers, so in the case of the camera blind spot you can say "well here is a +1-4 bonus for being so smart, now roll infiltration".
longbowrocks
QUOTE (Halflife @ May 15 2011, 11:13 AM) *
so in the case of the camera blind spot you can say "well here is a +1-4 bonus for being so smart, now roll infiltration".

I can agree with that.
Yerameyahu
Fatum, the fact that you can criticize the random alarm table as 'ultra-retarded' shows you must know what good is. biggrin.gif Therefore, you have the tools necessary to use the table's suggestions effectively. I wasn't blowing you off, I was pointing you to a resource that you apparently know how to use already. If you didn't, you couldn't judge it, right? wink.gif

As for the other, again, I answered a direct question you asked: "Do you just let your infiltrators roll Infiltration against the cams/guards monitoring the cams" … Answer: yes. I'm sorry if that wasn't helpful enough, but *I* certainly wasn't being unhelpful. It's important to keep things simple.
Fatum
QUOTE (Halflife @ May 15 2011, 10:21 PM) *
That's not actually true because if you were avoiding the field of vision then you aren't making a test now are you, you just don't get observed. Unless you are using very abstract sorts of rolls where someone is breaking through an entire facility with one roll.

Infiltration is things like, making yourself a small target, moving in a way that doesn't attract attention, blending in with your surroundings via camo/ruthenium, making little noise etc. Those things assume that you are being observed but don't require it. There is a large degree of psychological engineering to it as well. If you know what sensors in general look for to say HEY PERSON, whether it is movement, heat signature, or outline, you can confuse it.
Well, I just take Infiltration a little broader - not just sneaking through the cam's field of vision, but sneaking through its blind spot, knowing where it is. And yet still, if you're not aware what kind of sensors are present, how are you countering them?

QUOTE (longbowrocks @ May 15 2011, 10:22 PM) *
I think it's pretty simple how the basic detect life spell works. It's like you can see the location of every living thing within a certain radius, but you can't tag or color code or other wise attain additional information. It would be odd to "see" life forms coming through the front gate at midnight, but if they keep up a normal pace, it might seem more plausible. Once the runners are inside the building, There shouldn't be much danger from detect life as long as they act like patrolling guards (regardless of what they look like).
Please read the table on page 206, "Detection spell results". On a good roll, it's showing "Completely detailed information", up to personalities, health states, activities and what have you.

QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 15 2011, 11:39 PM) *
As for the other, again, I answered a direct question you asked: "Do you just let your infiltrators roll Infiltration against the cams/guards monitoring the cams" … Answer: yes. I'm sorry if that wasn't helpful enough, but *I* certainly wasn't being unhelpful.
There's a difference between "Yes" and "Yes, when reasonably possible; so sometimes no, use your own judgment".

QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 15 2011, 11:39 PM) *
It's important to keep things simple.
Indeed it is.
Yerameyahu
smile.gif I'm sorry my 'reasonable' caveat was unclear. *I* knew I meant 'basically always', but of course you didn't know I meant that. I didn't want to say '100% yes' and be misleading in the other direction.
Fatum
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ May 16 2011, 12:05 AM) *
smile.gif I'm sorry my 'reasonable' caveat was unclear. *I* knew I meant 'basically always', but of course you didn't know I meant that. I didn't want to say '100% yes' and be misleading in the other direction.
Oh. Thank you for your opinion, then; sorry for my grumpiness :3
Ascalaphus
I think you can certainly attempt Infiltration against an observer you can't see, because otherwise you might get an impossible situation:

A and B are both sneaking around and trying to avoid being seen by the other. They haven't yet spotted each other.

Now if the GM wants to resolve A's stealth first, it turns out A can't hide from B because he hasn't found B yet, so A fails to hide from B. Now B knows where A is, and he can attempt Infiltration against A's Perception.

Or if the GM wants to resolve B first, then B can't hide from A, but A can hide from B.

Or if the GM says he'll administer them simultaneously, then A and B both fail to hide because they haven't yet found the other, so it turns out it's impossible to miss someone if you're both trying to get missed.

---

In the game, it's a contest between the security team and the infiltrator; if the team is good, they have a lot of dice to prevent infiltration. If the infiltrator is good, he has a lot of dice to infiltrate. All those dice represent lots and lots of tricks of the trade that we as armchair generals on Dumpshock may not even know about.

If cameras are set at really clever places, then bypassing them is hard (high threshold). But it's hubris to think that we on Dumpshock know quite as much about stealth as someone with an Infiltration score of 6, so things we think are impossible may not actually be impossible.

Actually, I think most of us know more about organizing security than we know about how to get around it, but that's just a guess.
LurkerOutThere
For what it's worth in a lot of situations, especially wilderness stealth, your not trying to remain unobserved against a specific target but one that might potentially be there, that person being an astrally percieving spirit or a deer or a sentry doesn't really change that basic abstract equation. Some of your techniques might change and refine but that's what the stealth group skills represent a working knowledge of how to apply those techniques.

I do feel it would be very hard to pull off a sixth world infiltration specialisti without a working knowledge of both tech and magic. If your players don't want to break their skills out of their comfort zone i think it's perfectly reasonable to punish that, but I think auto failures or it's impossible should be rather sparing.
Makki
QUOTE (Fatum @ May 15 2011, 03:02 PM) *
Well, I just take Infiltration a little broader - not just sneaking through the cam's field of vision, but sneaking through its blind spot, knowing where it is. And yet still, if you're not aware what kind of sensors are present, how are you countering them?


at the moment the player says "I wanna roll Infiltration", he's stating, that his char will assume any detection sensors he can think of and the skill includes any counteraction necessary. If he's just running into it blindly ignoring the possible threat of detection equipment, he's not really a shadowrunner, is he?
Yerameyahu
Agreed: Infiltration means 'taking any relevant precautions'. It's based on a broad understanding of potential threats.
kzt
QUOTE (Halflife @ May 15 2011, 10:42 AM) *
There is no reason I can think of that you need to be aware of being watched when you are attempting to be sneaky. Similar logic applied in reverse would indicate that you don't get a perception roll unless you know that someone is sneaking in and are going to look for them.

For example, if you are not aware that they are using FLIR you are not likely planning on how to not leave warm trails as you slowly crawl through the motion sensors.
Falconer
Astral lighting and such is almost 100% opposite from real world.

Someone hiding in a dark corner is going to shine like a lantern on the astral against a mundane drab backrop. Remember life shines out on the astral... while you can try to hide your aura. Even worse... if you 'hide' in a dark corner where normal cameras and such are unlikely to see you, you stand out more.

Sneaking in astral is more a matter of hiding your own aura among others or completely out of sight.

Logic + Infiltration would be used by a mage infiltrating while astrally projecting. Which in a way makes sense as astral infiltration is less about moving quickly and quietly and more about outthinking any potential observers who could be almost anywhere at anytime.



How to put this... if you're dressed like a janitor walking around the building like you belong there. You won't stand out to an astral observer just another mundane about his business about the joint. On the other hand if you're very obviously acting like a ninja.... that should stand out to an astral observer. Then again.. in a small facility the spirit might be trained to recognize a list of 'approved' auras... in which case you'd need masking to imitate one of them. Or the spirit might be detailed to guard a specific area of a larger facility where only a few people are cleared for entry.

Astral security makes infiltration MUCH harder... but it doesn't make it impossible.
TheOOB
QUOTE (Falconer @ May 15 2011, 06:57 PM) *
Astral lighting and such is almost 100% opposite from real world.

Someone hiding in a dark corner is going to shine like a lantern on the astral against a mundane drab backrop. Remember life shines out on the astral... while you can try to hide your aura. Even worse... if you 'hide' in a dark corner where normal cameras and such are unlikely to see you, you stand out more.

Sneaking in astral is more a matter of hiding your own aura among others or completely out of sight.

Logic + Infiltration would be used by a mage infiltrating while astrally projecting. Which in a way makes sense as astral infiltration is less about moving quickly and quietly and more about outthinking any potential observers who could be almost anywhere at anytime.



How to put this... if you're dressed like a janitor walking around the building like you belong there. You won't stand out to an astral observer just another mundane about his business about the joint. On the other hand if you're very obviously acting like a ninja.... that should stand out to an astral observer. Then again.. in a small facility the spirit might be trained to recognize a list of 'approved' auras... in which case you'd need masking to imitate one of them. Or the spirit might be detailed to guard a specific area of a larger facility where only a few people are cleared for entry.

Astral security makes infiltration MUCH harder... but it doesn't make it impossible.


Honestly, sneaking about suspiciously is usually bad inside a corp facility anyways. It's remarkably hard to sneak past a guard or camera in a hallway, but no one notices an extra wage slave or janitor. What you didn't take the disguise skill?
Fatum
QUOTE (Makki @ May 16 2011, 02:16 AM) *
at the moment the player says "I wanna roll Infiltration", he's stating, that his char will assume any detection sensors he can think of and the skill includes any counteraction necessary. If he's just running into it blindly ignoring the possible threat of detection equipment, he's not really a shadowrunner, is he?
You see, the problem here is that different sensors require different kinds of actions, and you can't possibly be doing everything at the same time. Say, ultrasound motion sensors require you to move very slowly to traverse them, while it'd make sense to move very quickly past a low-FPS cam. You can't do both at the same time. A bunch of sensors, like trip beams or proximity wires, just work as soon as you get close/past them - if you don't know they are there, how's high Infiltration roll helping?

I agree with Ascalaphus that this ruling makes for some rather strange situations, but at least it's not against the common sense (and you can always make an exception for a case like the one described).
Fatum
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ May 16 2011, 02:12 AM) *
I do feel it would be very hard to pull off a sixth world infiltration specialisti without a working knowledge of both tech and magic. If your players don't want to break their skills out of their comfort zone i think it's perfectly reasonable to punish that, but I think auto failures or it's impossible should be rather sparing.
So, you necessarily need to be Awakened to be a successful infiltrator? Is that what you're saying? biggrin.gif

QUOTE (TheOOB @ May 16 2011, 04:01 AM) *
Honestly, sneaking about suspiciously is usually bad inside a corp facility anyways. It's remarkably hard to sneak past a guard or camera in a hallway, but no one notices an extra wage slave or janitor. What you didn't take the disguise skill?
Even in relatively large facilities, with about a hundred employees, there are guards who know every employee by sight; when you see them each day, it's not that difficult.
Sure you could disguise as some actual employee, but that's far into the face territory.
Yerameyahu
Don't forget about technology. Facial recognition, biometrics, radio trackers, etc.
Falconer
Yeah, I still don't see how any half-decent security setup doesn't put biomonitors on everyone on the facility and use them to track people... When you see guards getting knocked/out killed you know you have a problem...

That was one of the things I didn't like about one of a recent series of very high magic games... drones and cyber-security were pretty much non-existent even in major corp facilities.
Makki
QUOTE (TheOOB @ May 15 2011, 07:01 PM) *
What you didn't take the disguise skill?

The topic is called "... stealth". Disguise is in the Stealth group, isn't it? wink.gif
CanadianWolverine
QUOTE (Fatum @ May 15 2011, 11:11 AM) *
Uh, why would you need 100% coverage, when you just have to reliably cover the choke points?
And yeah, you can blast through walls, but that's hardly "leave-no-trace" infiltration then, is it?


Look, if you are trying to find a reason as GM for your GM fiat ruling, just do it ok? You really are coming across as trying to find anyway to just go "Infiltration is impossible, that karma you spent on that skill was a waste."

Take careful note here, I said nothing about blasting through walls, yet in my experience and interest in construction (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, iron work, HVAC, etc) has informed me that it is dreadfully easy to enter most homes and buildings these days by a number of means than the front door for one simple reason: utilities and air must enter and exit a building on a constant basis or that building is tomb. Even safes need their enviroments controlled to protect the things we seal in them, so things like electricity, air, water, and so forth must flow or people have to wear suits that allow them to continue living for any significant amount of time as they work or pass through a air tight sealed enviroment.

Your choke points aren't really choke points, they are check points, the camera doesn't actually stop anyone, it just informs who ever is watching the sensor at that time or watching the recording later. Think of infiltration not just as the sniper in a ghilli suit moving through a forest, covering their tracks, picking the least noticeable route, and setting up their hide for the hunt by the water source but as the person who moves through a crowd unnoticed, or looks indistinguishable from a wage slave, corp sec, or corp big wig with their body language and gait. Did you know that when you are walking through a crowd, you can effectively disappear by bending your knees, slouching, and thus lowering your head below the sea of heads, for instance? And infiltration is not just being unseen, but being seen and being beneath regard, blending in with the regular ebb and flow.

And if it has to be unseen, then Infiltration is also the use of Knowledge skills to Actively and skillfully place oneself where there is least likely to be observation, choke points should be easily spotted by a infiltrator and bypassed by any number of means that are required by maintenance and the preservation of the lives of those who work there, including meta-human corp sec. And even if there is a sensor, what type of sensor is it? All sensors have different blind spots, infiltrators make it a point to be aware of these (see: specializations of Infiltration ... which a GM has the freedom to add more to). What wavelength your sensors are on makes a big difference in what kinds of shadows/blind spots they end up having and a skilled infiltrator can account for that. Check out this lil'tid bit from a Burn Notice episode for instance: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1082942/goofs
QUOTE
Factual errors: Infrared cameras, contrary to the narration and imagery shown, cannot see through walls or windows to see where "heat spots" are. In fact, the infrared camera being pointed out of the windshield, as in this scene, would see the reflective thermal energy from the camera operator only. Building walls and glass dissipate thermal energy.
That goof is actually used in another episode where the lead character uses a sheet to be invisible to a sensor as he infiltrates a server room ... twice, just before someone not as skilled as him at infiltration screws it up and is detected.

There sure is a lot of synergy between Disguise, Infiltration, and Shadowing IMHO. There is a reason there is a Stealth group, surely. I think there is some definite value in looking to other entertainment that features the Stealth Skill Group highly, seeing as this is fantasy/fictional entertainment we are engaged in as well and just might expand your GM imagination a bit so you aren't ruling Infiltration as being useless so much unless they don't roll enough successes.
Falconer
I know what you mean... I couldn't ever see not buying the stealth group as a whole.
Disguise, shadowing, infiltration, and palming are all usefull skills.


While some people go nuts on infiltration... almost every skill in the group is critical. An it's one of the few groups w/ 4 skills instead of 3 making it an unmitigated bargain.
Fatum
QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 16 2011, 05:47 AM) *
Look, if you are trying to find a reason as GM for your GM fiat ruling, just do it ok? You really are coming across as trying to find anyway to just go "Infiltration is impossible, that karma you spent on that skill was a waste."
In no way I am saying that infiltration is impossible by design; but I've run into several problems when GMing said infiltration episodes, and I'm asking for advice, because I feel that my rulings kinda ruin the whole suspension of disbelief thing. If you read the topic carefully, you'll notice at least two (arguably, three) ways for any mundane infiltration attempt to fail regardless of the infiltrator's skill. I see it as a problem, because players like to infiltrate (and mine make for some surprisingly bad faces, as far as actual roleplaying and not dicepools is concerned).

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 16 2011, 05:47 AM) *
Take careful note here, I said nothing about blasting through walls, yet in my experience and interest in construction (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, iron work, HVAC, etc) has informed me that it is dreadfully easy to enter most homes and buildings these days by a number of means than the front door for one simple reason: utilities and air must enter and exit a building on a constant basis or that building is tomb. Even safes need their enviroments controlled to protect the things we seal in them, so things like electricity, air, water, and so forth must flow or people have to wear suits that allow them to continue living for any significant amount of time as they work or pass through a air tight sealed enviroment.
I must have misinterpreted that "ridiculously easy to [...] make an opening in for anyone familiar with the tools" bit in your original post in this topic.
However, while I can't claim to be a real specialist, I've been doing some cabling work for my workplace - Ethernet mostly, of course. I've seen enough of both the air ducts and cable channels running through walls. None of those require human-sized openings. Okay, maybe building-wide cabling channels, but you can't get much further than the floor-wide service room through those, anyway.
Besides, any decent security force have those monitored, as well, and often better than the obvious approaches - since the chance that any given signature there is an intruder and not an employee is that much higher.

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 16 2011, 05:47 AM) *
Your choke points aren't really choke points, they are check points, the camera doesn't actually stop anyone, it just informs who ever is watching the sensor at that time or watching the recording later.
Turrets can make it into a chokepoint; but are we really arguing terminology here?

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 16 2011, 05:47 AM) *
Think of infiltration not just as the sniper in a ghilli suit moving through a forest, covering their tracks, picking the least noticeable route, and setting up their hide for the hunt by the water source but as the person who moves through a crowd unnoticed, or looks indistinguishable from a wage slave, corp sec, or corp big wig with their body language and gait. Did you know that when you are walking through a crowd, you can effectively disappear by bending your knees, slouching, and thus lowering your head below the sea of heads, for instance? And infiltration is not just being unseen, but being seen and being beneath regard, blending in with the regular ebb and flow.
See above for my problems with that - basically, while this take on infiltration surely is possible (although magical security can ruin it, too), it's for faces, not infiltrators - and it's just not what infiltrator players want to do.

QUOTE (CanadianWolverine @ May 16 2011, 05:47 AM) *
And if it has to be unseen, then Infiltration is also the use of Knowledge skills to Actively and skillfully place oneself where there is least likely to be observation, choke points should be easily spotted by a infiltrator and bypassed by any number of means that are required by maintenance and the preservation of the lives of those who work there, including meta-human corp sec. And even if there is a sensor, what type of sensor is it? All sensors have different blind spots, infiltrators make it a point to be aware of these (see: specializations of Infiltration ... which a GM has the freedom to add more to).
Fine, what are the blind spots for proximity wires or pressure pads? As far as I am aware, the core book lists none. So in the best case, the infiltration burns down to "wait for the hacker to hack the security host and turn all those toys off, then do your job". And even that requires a good deal of GM fiat, since what kind of secure compound has its host accessible from the outside?


QUOTE (Falconer @ May 16 2011, 05:59 AM) *
I know what you mean... I couldn't ever see not buying the stealth group as a whole.
Disguise, shadowing, infiltration, and palming are all usefull skills.
What's the use for Palming? Or Shadowing on the same level as Infiltration or Disguise, for that matter, too - how often do you really need it?
Yerameyahu
You have to suspend disbelief. smile.gif Infiltration works against *all* sensors because the book says it does. It's an abstract skill that includes all kinds of Mission Impossible stuff. It's on par with dodging a grenade.
longbowrocks
How does this sound? make 1 infiltration check for the entire operation, and compare your hits to the rating of each device you come across. Or make one check per device you come across, or something of that nature. You fill in the blanks.
Halflife
If you are really worried about them being able to sneak past defenses that they don't know about why not just substitute the Infiltration result for the Perception result or make them roll that in addition and limit the Infiltration hits to the perception hits or something along those lines. That way they notice measures and defeat them through the mad skill they have. Individual traps like pressure plates and proximity wires can be noticed before they go off if you feel like they have no reasonable way to pass them. However, there are rules in the Corebook for avoiding setting them off after you have stepped on them so it is conceivable that you can move in such a way that you can just walk through them if you are fast/agile enough, so even that stuff isn't unbeatable.

The more abstract your Infiltration roll the more actions it covers at once, but if you break it down into specifics sensors and arenas you still roll effectively the same dice for the action, you just have the possibility of more dice pool modifiers on both sides. If you are interested in making a hard spot to get through you can Infiltrate through the generic parts of the facility and make it a challenge to get over a particularly dense sensor net, or over a set of pressure plates, or something like that and make it a particular puzzle/obstacle.

No system is impenetrable, maybe there are some that you cannot infiltrate entirely by stealth, maybe you do need social engineering/disguise/hacking to get through, probably a combination of all three. There is a place for sensors and traps that the PCs do not know about as a way to catch them off guard. HOWEVER, the end result is that it has to be beatable, detectable, or avoidable in some fashion or you are just dicking them over/the Johnson is dicking them over. It's not really fun at that point, but if you are going to rule a particular system unbeatable just do it so your characters can invest their time/energy elsewhere.
Falconer
Palming is used when you're trying to hide things like pistols. It's the skill which directly opposes perception. As well as the skill which allows you to do things like pickpocketing and the like. (you really didn't need that keycard did you?)

If you're trying to sneak a gun past a guard... So with palming can be the difference between a holdout and a real weapon (or someone sounding an alarm).


Shadowing is useful for doing legwork such as figuring out whose identity you need to borrow (or blackmail into aiding you). It's also important for knowing when people are doing legwork on you.

Shadowing + Intuition is used to notice when YOU"RE being tailed, not perception (when the hunter becomes the hunted).



Rather than worrying too much... give them the oppurtunity to actually do some legwork before their run and figure out what kind of security they're going to have to worry about. One thing a hacker can do is break in beforehand and download the buildings security plan. Similarly... they might try kidnapping a guard... interogating him then erasing his memory w/ something like laes.

toturi
QUOTE (Falconer @ May 16 2011, 11:52 AM) *
Shadowing + Intuition is used to notice when YOU"RE being tailed, not perception (when the hunter becomes the hunted).

I remember that Shadowing + Intuition can be used to notice being tailed in place of Perception, not that Perception is not the skill that should be used but Shadowing allows for someone with better Shadowing than Perception to have a better chance of spotting his tail.
Falconer
You're right, I just double checked that... any stealth skill can be used in place of perception at the GM's option on an appropriate check.

So from that aspect... palming is the skill used to hide a gun on your body... but that same skill can also be used to frisk someone.
CanadianWolverine
QUOTE (Halflife @ May 15 2011, 08:49 PM) *
If you are really worried about them being able to sneak past defenses that they don't know about why not just substitute the Infiltration result for the Perception result or make them roll that in addition and limit the Infiltration hits to the perception hits or something along those lines. That way they notice measures and defeat them through the mad skill they have. Individual traps like pressure plates and proximity wires can be noticed before they go off if you feel like they have no reasonable way to pass them. However, there are rules in the Corebook for avoiding setting them off after you have stepped on them so it is conceivable that you can move in such a way that you can just walk through them if you are fast/agile enough, so even that stuff isn't unbeatable.

The more abstract your Infiltration roll the more actions it covers at once, but if you break it down into specifics sensors and arenas you still roll effectively the same dice for the action, you just have the possibility of more dice pool modifiers on both sides. If you are interested in making a hard spot to get through you can Infiltrate through the generic parts of the facility and make it a challenge to get over a particularly dense sensor net, or over a set of pressure plates, or something like that and make it a particular puzzle/obstacle.

No system is impenetrable, maybe there are some that you cannot infiltrate entirely by stealth, maybe you do need social engineering/disguise/hacking to get through, probably a combination of all three. There is a place for sensors and traps that the PCs do not know about as a way to catch them off guard. HOWEVER, the end result is that it has to be beatable, detectable, or avoidable in some fashion or you are just dicking them over/the Johnson is dicking them over. It's not really fun at that point, but if you are going to rule a particular system unbeatable just do it so your characters can invest their time/energy elsewhere.


This, so much this. Yerameyahu, longbowrocks, and Falconer plainly get it as well.

Divide your dice rolls up about the On-site Legwork and/or Stealth as you, as GM, see fit in accordance with how much dice rolling aka time you want to spend on this particular activity.

Personally, I like the idea of Legwork and Knowledge Skills acting as a Teamwork Test (pg 65 SR4A) that can be used only for that particular mission to abstractly show its tangible benefit where just playing the role of a character isn't enough, due either to Player inability as an actor/writer or time constraints on over all play time. Yes, I am aware that is a house rule and YMMV.

This is some Mission: Impossible stuff, we need the abstraction of the dice because we the players aren't Shadowrunners, if we were we would have a lot more money and probably doing something like cliff diving with super models after a party with our favourite money launderer after a big score for entertainment if we weren't content with being a international criminal for the thrills and home life was the mask.

If the pretend security system that the characters are facing off against are really impossible aka GM fiat rather than just a threshold they could possibly have enough successes to get around unnoticed or unseen, then you really should be pretending that your Fixer sucks at his task of setting the Shadowrunners up with jobs from Mr J's that are more in line with there skill set, since apparently that Mr J is really looking for a group that doesn't give a shit if they are seen because they are ready for that with some masks, big guns, big mojo, bigger explosions, and fast get away vehicle(s) - which is fun too, it just may not be what your group of player characters is suited for if they plunked karma in the stealth group skills and expected it to be useful.

And I appreciate you did some wiring, then you are familiar with crawl spaces and maintenance access, even if that means a screw driver, a drill, and some method of making minor repairs ... just because they didn't realize they wanted a secret, hidden access panel there doesn't mean they can't have one now and bingo, bypassed that impossible chokepoint which now apparently includes a turret, which oddly enough works in the infiltrator's favour: just how do they get power and ammo to the turret? How big is the recess its hidden in? If not hidden, what is it anchored to? It can't shoot at what it doesn't detect with sensors, it would be rather odd if the thing was programmed to randomly shoot at the air ... and what is down range from that turret? I guess it is dystopia, a few "accidents" of a turret shooting corp sec and wage slaves is no biggie, right?

Hmm, how to imaginitively defeat sensor pads and proximity sensors ... well, they have a pretty hefty blind spot IMHO, anything not touching or near them is blind to it, so... Surely you see where this is going considering my thoughts on crawl spaces. Did they pressure pad the walls and ceiling too? Did they pressure pad the other side of the pressure pad? Proximity sensor, which kind? Those come in all different kinds of methods of finding range.

"But the character didn't see it!" Did you let them roll do legwork, knowledge skills, perception, disguise, and inflitration if detection is that vital? Did you give the character a chance to use their skills or just the player?

Really, all that should be a consideration here game mechanically is how high a threshold you want and the rest is just the use of your imagination to explain it however you want that is the most fun for the session with people who are presumably friendly and civil with you. If their characters come up with a out of this world, hair brained, once in a life time, lucky bastard scheme abstractly because their character rolled more dice than your extreme threshold (but not impossible because there is a threshold), what's the big deal?

And I am absolutely sure astral does not equal instant fail for infiltration, magic is even more abstract than pretending masters of stealth are possible.

Did that cover the 2 or 3 ways stealth insta fails apparently? I get it, you are wondering what your limits are within the setting and remaining true to Shadowrun, but lets be clear, the setting is all in the GM's head irregardless of what they write in the books, every game session is on some unique due to the vagaries of differences in how we all imagine things. The limits are only what you set them to be, if in your mind it is impossible, it will be - I am only trying to help open your mind up a bit to entertainment possibilities for your players sake, since they apparently have images in their minds of stealth being fun since they made their characters with those skills: meaningful, powerful, and entertaining.
Makki
QUOTE (Fatum @ May 15 2011, 10:20 PM) *
What's the use for Palming? Or Shadowing on the same level as Infiltration or Disguise, for that matter, too - how often do you really need it?


you wouldn't believe what my stealth based dwarf can pickpocket from suits.
Falanin
Fatum, I agree with part of your point. Solo infiltration is one of the most demanding and painfully difficult activities a shadowrunner can attempt. Cameras and other sensors can be placed so that your infiltrator MUST appear on them at some point. Hell, for the sufficiently paranoid, they can bug the bloody crawlspaces, HVAC, and wiring accesses, either with microdrones or with tiny fixed sensors. Then you have astral security, which has entirely different requirements for evading it. Honestly, with enough preparation from the security system's designers, a solo infiltration a la ninja can be pretty much impossible.

This is why you have a TEAM of shadowrunners.

Yeremayahu et al have already covered the fact that you CAN infiltrate past sensors (or really, past the agent/sprite/drone/sec guard/spirit/wagemage doing the monitoring). Some of these rolls are harder than others. Some of these rolls you as the GM may determine are pretty much impossible without edge. So you have your team help out.

A competent hacker can loop the cameras, cause random glitches in the sensors, make sure the HVAC ducts are unlocked, and cause the most aggravating distractions imaginable (short of a running gunfight). Many of these actions can negate the need for your infiltrator to make some of those impossible rolls. Yes, the hacker runs the risk of being detected as well. Yes this is a second chance to blow the mission. However, a facility will generally not have the same care put toward all aspects of its security. A place with top-notch matrix security may have sensor blind-spots you can exploit. A place with impenetrable physical security may be far more vulnerable when softened up by a preliminary hack or two.

Next, there is the problem of Astral security. It's generally invisible, and it can walk through walls. Unless the area you're infiltrating is warded. Then Astral security has to play by the same rules they set for the intruders... unless the mage who set up the wards is also the same guy who happens to be on shift at the time, so he can let himself and his spirits through the wards. How many hours a day does he work?

To deal with most any astral security setup, I recommend the Astrally-projecting Magician, with a few spirits that know the "Conceal" power. Conceal can be your very best friend, since the power explicitly works against astral detection. Anything that conceal won't help with (the aforementioned warded area, for example), the projecting mage can deal with, in one fashion or another. Have a watcher on hand to run messages back and forth between the overwatch hacker and the Astral mage.

So, yeah. I can see how you have a valid point about security systems being hard to beat as just a guy making an infiltration roll. The solo sneak-thief or ninja isn't an amazingly viable archetype unless you want to spend a LOT of points on being amazing at stealth/hacking/con...AND being at least an adept with Astral Perception. Honestly, even a full team will have a lot of trouble staying completely undetected with a top-tier zero zone security system... which is why you only give that kind of run to a top-notch team.
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