Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Houseruling Tac Nets
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Method
I've been thinking for a long time about houseruling Tac Nets because I don't like the current rules and wanted to come up with something more dynamic and fun that adds to a tactical combat scene. I've been racking my brain for years and I think I finally came up with something I like. I thought I'd post it here and see what you all thought. Feedback welcome!

QUOTE
Tac Nets:
1.) A Network consists of a Hub, Member Nodes and Channels and has an overall Network Rating.  All nodes in the network (Hub and Members) must run Tac Net software with rating equal to or higher than the Network Rating

2.) a single node is designated as the network Hub. All Member nodes must be within MSR of the Hub (or repeater) and have an active subscription to the Hub.  The Network Rating cannot exceed the System rating of the Hub.

3.) Member nodes must have a minimum number of Channels equal to the Network Rating to join. This represents the quality and detail of information the Member can contribute. A Channel is any sensory-based feed a Member can contribute to the Network.

4.) Every combat turn the Network generates a Dice Pool equal to the total number of active Channels from all members.   Any Member can add dice from this pool to any applicable combat test during that turn including initiative, individual attacks, defense, info-guided gunnery, etc (all subject to GM discretion).  The maximum number of dice a Member can use for any single test is equal to the Network Rating. The Pool is depleted by each action until gone and any unused dice are lost at the end of the turn. Bonus dice from a Tac Net replace any bonus dice from AR (SR4A page Xx).

5.) Leechers (Non-member nodes that lac sufficient Channels to join) can subscribe to the Hub and draw dice from the Pool equal to the rating of their Tac Net software or the Network Rating (whichever is lower) but do not contribute dice.
 
6.) Any character interacting with a Member node can boost the Network's effective rating with a successful Leadership+Logic test.  This requires a Complex Action. The number of hits on this test are added to the Network Rating up to a limit of [Network Rating x 2] for the purpose of determining how many dice Members can draw from the pool only.  The bonus lasts until that character's next action or the end of the turn (whichever is longer).  The Small Unit Tactics specialization applies to this test. 

7.) Hackers who infiltrate an enemy Tac Net by hacking a Member Node or the Hub can act as Leechers and supplement their own combat actions.  Alternately leeched dice equal to the hacker's Tac Net software or the infiltrated Network's Rating (whichever is lower) can be transferred to the any other Tac Net the hacker has joined with a Complex Action.  Crashing a Member Node immediately reduces the Network's Dice Pool by the number of Channels lost.  If the Hub is crashed the network is disrupted until the Hub can be restarted and individual Member Nodes must spend an action to Log On to the Hub.  An enemy hacker can also feed misinformation into the Tac Net with a successful Edit+EW or Spoof+EW test.  These tests are resisted by the Hub's Analyze+Firewall and the hacker's net hits are deducted from the Network's dice pool.  Spoofing requires the Hubs AccessID.  If the Hub is not easily identified, a hacker can do so with a successful Matrix Perception test while accessing any Member Node (this is separate from the Analyze test needed to obtain the Hub's AccessID). 
JanessaVR
Cool. Saving this for import into our game. Thanks. smile.gif
K1ll5w1tch
I like the leecher concept, but I think the Dice pool change creates a lot of book keeping on how many points the group has to deal with. As a GM and a gamer the last thing I want to do is keep track of yet another constantly changing group of dice pools. But that's just my preference.
Ryu
QUOTE (Method @ Dec 7 2011, 11:47 PM) *
I've been thinking for a long time about houseruling Tac Nets because I don't like the current rules and wanted to come up with something more dynamic and fun that adds to a tactical combat scene. I've been racking my brain for years and I think I finally came up with something I like. I thought I'd post it here and see what you all thought. Feedback welcome!


If I get the principle:
1-4: You generate (Active Channels) TacNet dice per turn, usable by other members, too.
5: Anyone hooked up to the network can draw on those dice.
6: A controlled TacNet can offer many more dice.
7: Yes, a proper use for Combat Hacking


I like that anyone can benefit from access to the TacNet, and that someone "directing" the TacNet can increase the advantages. I would prefer a system where TacNet dice are not used up. You will see people with a great many active channels. One could specify which specific sensors a contributing member needs: Video/Audio, Thermo, Radar on the high end...

Concerning part 6, how about increasing the network rating for a specific tactic: "I calculate a coordinated attack on target X. *rolls* Anyone can draw +2 dice for executing this plan."
Method
QUOTE (K1ll5w1tch @ Dec 7 2011, 10:50 PM) *
I like the leecher concept, but I think the Dice pool change creates a lot of book keeping on how many points the group has to deal with. As a GM and a gamer the last thing I want to do is keep track of yet another constantly changing group of dice pools. But that's just my preference.


You are correct of course in that this is kind of a throwback to the way dice pools worked in earlier editions. But I would argue that the front end book keeping isn't all that different than the current TacNet rules, which is to say you still have to look at each member, check their software rating, ensure subscripts, count their channels, etc. The only difference is that once you've calculated the total DP for the TacNet the GM has to count down the dice as they are used. Not all that different than counting ammo or damage boxes or whatnot.

But yes you are tracking one more variable.
Method

QUOTE (Ryu @ Dec 8 2011, 02:18 AM) *
If I get the principle:
1-4: You generate (Active Channels) TacNet dice per turn, usable by other members, too.
5: Anyone hooked up to the network can draw on those dice.
6: A controlled TacNet can offer many more dice.
7: Yes, a proper use for Combat Hacking

This is correct except to clarify: a controlled TacNet allows members to draw more dice for an individual test, but doesn't increase the total DP available.

QUOTE
I like that anyone can benefit from access to the TacNet, and that someone "directing" the TacNet can increase the advantages.

Yeah, I don't like how the current rules are basically "buy gear --> combat bonus". I was trying to make TacNets more interactive and promote a team-based approach to combat. The fact that the pool is a shared resource that the team needs to allocate also promotes teamwork and tactical thinking. Plus in paramilitary campaigns it expands the role of a CO-type character with high Logic and a Leadership skill.

QUOTE
I would prefer a system where TacNet dice are not used up. You will see people with a great many active channels.

Yes, I hadn't thought if this, but it is a potential drawback for some. See my comments above regarding book keeping. I think I'm okay with players adding lots of sensor channels, because more sensory input should increase the quality of tactical information, but I could see it getting ridiculous.

QUOTE
One could specify which specific sensors a contributing member needs: Video/Audio, Thermo, Radar on the high end...

Agreed. Re-reading the TacNet rules last night I thought some more detailed criteria for Channels was needed. A barometric sensor (for example) is great, but should only contribute to tactical decision making in certain specific situations. I'll probably add some guidelines there.

QUOTE
Concerning part 6, how about increasing the network rating for a specific tactic: "I calculate a coordinated attack on target X. *rolls* Anyone can draw +2 dice for executing this plan."

I like that idea. I think that would be a good addition. I've been looking for ways to make Leadership/Tactics skill more useful, so things like this are great in my book.
Darquewing
Though it may sound weird, I've had some experience with this sort of software in real life. And though the game isn't about real life, I did have a few suggestions.

QUOTE (Method @ Dec 7 2011, 04:47 PM) *
3.) Member nodes must have a minimum number of Channels equal to the Network Rating to join. This represents the quality and detail of information the Member can contribute. A Channel is any sensory-based feed a Member can contribute to the Network.


I was thinking, it should be more fluid, make the channels contributed a maximum, instead of minimum. Software like this will take in any info it can get. Some nodes do prove more useful than others, but everything helps to a degree. Any member should add at least 1 channel though. Here's my take on number 3:

3.) Member nodes add +1 die to the tac-net dice pool for each channel they contribute, up to a maximum equal to the Hub Tac-Net rating. A Channel is any sensory-based feed a Member can contribute to the Network.

QUOTE (Method @ Dec 7 2011, 04:47 PM) *
6.) Any character interacting with a Member node can boost the Network's effective rating with a successful Leadership+Logic test. This requires a Complex Action. The number of hits on this test are added to the Network Rating up to a limit of [Network Rating x 2] for the purpose of determining how many dice Members can draw from the pool only. The bonus lasts until that character's next action or the end of the turn (whichever is longer). The Small Unit Tactics specialization applies to this test.


I think this can lead to too many chiefs and not enough Amerindians. These systems are designed to be flexible as for as connecting up for actual communications, but hierarchical as far as command. Also, they are still a tool/program, and someone has to use it for it to do anything extremely useful. Possible mod:

6.) The tac-net dice pool starts at 0. Once per Combat Turn, the character running the Hub node may spend a complex action to make a Leadership+Logic test to refresh the tac-net dice pool. The Small Unit Tactics specialization applies to this test. The maximum number of dice a character with a member node on the network may draw each time is equal to the lesser of: the number of hits on this Hub node's leadership test, the Hub Tac-Net rating, the Tac-Net rating of the node that character is running, or the number of dice left in the network dice pool.


I think this way makes sense because you need a real leader to make use of the software. If the rating of the software was really to come into play in the leadership test as a bonus, then I would make the leadership test a Leadership+Network rating.


As for number 7, I think that a hacked member node should only let the hacker leech a maximum number of dice equal to the Tac-Net rating of the hacked node. Also, bad info from a hacked node should only be able to drop at most [# hacked node's channels contributed*2] dice from the network dice pool. Which means that nodes used less won't be able to cause as much damage. If the Hub gets hacked, all limits are off.

But, if the nodes don't notice the hack, the character running the hub should get a chance to notice the data coming in is bad when he goes to make his leadership check. Say if his logic+leadership is higher than the max number of dice left after subtracting dice lost from bad intel, then the leader knows the system got hacked. Just not where. This means that hacks have to have some subtlety. And hacks will be noticed faster on smaller networks.

Anyhow. That's my two cents.






Modular Man
I like the idea. I really do. Oddly, I normally dislike houserules - take that as a compliment.
It also may provide a great deal to tacnet-running riggers. There you could substitute the leadership test for something else, though... Maybe Something + Command.

QUOTE (Darquewing @ Dec 8 2011, 04:17 PM) *
3.) Member nodes add +1 die to the tac-net dice pool for each channel they contribute, up to a maximum equal to the Hub Tac-Net rating. A Channel is any sensory-based feed a Member can contribute to the Network.

Do I get this right? The maximum of dice a member can contribute is 4? With your idea, you'd need a character solely responsible for refreshing the pool each combat turn to get close to the old, non-houseruled bonus... for one IP, hardcapped. That would take too much power out of the tacnet, I think.
Darquewing
Remove the maximum number of channels then, but don't enforce a minimum.
DireRadiant
Team Karma Pool?
Method
QUOTE (Darquewing @ Dec 8 2011, 08:17 AM) *
Though it may sound weird, I've had some experience with this sort of software in real life.

Not that weird, considering your background. smile.gif

QUOTE
I was thinking, it should be more fluid, make the channels contributed a maximum, instead of minimum.

I can see your logic, but to my thinking the Network Rating is an abstract value that doesn't just represent the quantity of data collected; it also represents the the quality. Maintaining a higher rating network requires more sophisticated software (higher program rating) and more robust data collection (multiple sensory feeds from each member). I guess one could argue that 4 feeds from 4 different members is equal to 4 feeds from 1 member, but then again anyone with a simrig on their commlink can contribute at least 2 channels (normal vision and normal hearing). I think eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns where adding another set of normal eyes isn't going to dramatically improve one sides situational awareness or tactical advantage. But if somebody shows up with lowlight vision, radar and smartgun you get much more robust data input from that one dude.

Ultimately the change you proposed wouldn't make a huge difference, except that the network pool would be much smaller, and you would need a lot more members to generate a large pool. I guess you could allow individual members to run whatever rating TacNet software they want but limit the Channels they contribute and the dice they can draw from the pool by their individual TacNet rating. I just think its easier to calculate one rating for the whole network and use that as the abstract measure of how effectively the network is currently operating.

QUOTE
I think this can lead to too many chiefs and not enough Amerindians.

I think it has the potential for abuse. If you have players that like to min-max they might will all start taking Leadership for the combat bonuses. But I think in most groups, few (if any characters) will have the Leadership skill. Plus they have to expend an entire action to use the ability. I guess it wouldn't hurt to add a rule that says only one such test is allowed per turn (although I would allow teamwork tests if there are multiple members with the appropriate skill).

QUOTE
...someone has to use it for it to do anything extremely useful.
The tac-net dice pool starts at 0. Once per Combat Turn...

...you need a real leader to make use of the software...

While this may be true in real life, its something I purposely wanted to avoid. I want the TacNet system to be more effective if a skilled leader is present, but I don't want it to be useless without a designated leader or a Leadership skill. I figure by the 2070s the software's data analysis and semiautonomous decision making capabilities are such that even a bunch of dudes who don't understand tactics can get some advantage from just following the prompt the system gives them. Plus depending on the theme of the campaign and the group dynamics, there may not be an easily identifiable leader and I've seen OoC issues when one player feels like they are being railroaded because their character has to follow another character's "orders" in game. The bottom line is I want the system to work even if there is no designated leader in the group.

QUOTE
I would make the leadership test a Leadership+Network rating.

I could see that. I tend toward the [Skill + Logic] because I don't like how Logic is basically a dump stat for any Matrix related actions. Maybe [Leadership + Logic] with net hits limited to Network Rating or Network rating x 2 (whichever is lower) would be appropriate

QUOTE
As for number 7, I think that a hacked member node should only let the hacker leech a maximum number of dice equal to the Tac-Net rating of the hacked node.

Reasonable, except that the TacNet distributes info to all the members, so any individual member has access to all relevant info on the network. Plus, as I initially conceived this, members would need to have a software rating equal to or greater than the overall network rating, so it wouldn't be an issue.

QUOTE
...bad info from a hacked node should only be able to drop at most [# hacked node's channels contributed*2] dice from the network dice pool.

... the character running the hub should get a chance to notice the data coming in is bad when he goes to make his leadership check.

I like both of these ideas.
Falconer
For all intensive purposes.. you've just recreated the combat pool from SR3. Pools worked without as much bookkeeping as people are afraid of... it normally worked out to... put 10 dice in a pile... you can pull out dice from that pile for purposes X,Y, and Z. Refresh pile at the start of the next combat turn.

I don't like tacnets because their bonuses are a little too blatant and large. So I really like the concept of instead of the tacnet always being a straight bonus, it instead works out as a group combat pool.

My only suggestion would be to limit the dice which can be pulled out to the tacsoft/2. Then scale tacnets from 1-6 like all other software. Also, I'd probably stick with the one copy of the software.. everyone subscribes to and provides data to. (subscription limits can be rather harsh if you actually enforce them). There are enough different tests that a pool with 12 dice... where you can only pull out 2 at a time, can be used up very quickly. (say 3 characters, each of which uses 4 dice for 2 attacks each... within the span of a single pass. let alone the other uses of adding to defense and the like).
Ryu
Maybe we are focussing too much on sensor gear still.

A system like this would like to have video and audio data from all nodes. It is what we humans can interpret best, and what we can teach software to do most easily. Lowlight and Thermographic vision will also be handy, as well as one radar system on the team. All sensor data can be freely available to all members, should they need it for some purpose, but is unlikely to impact effectiveness much. Letīs create a very short list of sensor channels a contributing member needs.

The TacNet program would be the data analysis software, creating a dicepool of say rating*3 dice, allowing each member to draw up to 2 dice per test. The leadership test would increase the TacNet pool in addition to the maximum draw. It is not the sensor data that is used up, itīs the "attention" of the TacNet software.
Darquewing
QUOTE (Method @ Dec 8 2011, 09:07 PM) *
I can see your logic, but to my thinking the Network Rating is an abstract value that doesn't just represent the quantity of data collected; it also represents the the quality. Maintaining a higher rating network requires more sophisticated software (higher program rating) and more robust data collection (multiple sensory feeds from each member). I guess one could argue that 4 feeds from 4 different members is equal to 4 feeds from 1 member, but then again anyone with a simrig on their commlink can contribute at least 2 channels (normal vision and normal hearing). I think eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns where adding another set of normal eyes isn't going to dramatically improve one sides situational awareness or tactical advantage. But if somebody shows up with lowlight vision, radar and smartgun you get much more robust data input from that one dude.

Ultimately the change you proposed wouldn't make a huge difference, except that the network pool would be much smaller, and you would need a lot more members to generate a large pool. I guess you could allow individual members to run whatever rating TacNet software they want but limit the Channels they contribute and the dice they can draw from the pool by their individual TacNet rating. I just think its easier to calculate one rating for the whole network and use that as the abstract measure of how effectively the network is currently operating.


I could see just requiring everyone have the same Tac-Net rating on hindsight. You usually can't mix and match software for these things. That aside, quality would be the same for each channel. As long as new eyes and ears are looking at new things, and ears are hearing from different locations, they all would help. Basically, as long as people aren't on top of each other then any new info is useful. Don't forget the emotive track from the sim-rig or vitals from a biomonitor. When someones adrenaline shoots through the roof, or their emotional state goes from baseline to anger or panic in a second, there is obviously trouble.

Maybe set the max channels per node to Network rating * 2, but still lose the minimum number. With each channel adding +1 die to the Tac-Net dice pool. It's as much so less tech-intensive team members can still contribute and have some use of the tac-net. I'm sure most people could come up with at least 4-6 channels, but just in case.


QUOTE (Method @ Dec 8 2011, 09:07 PM) *
I think it has the potential for abuse. If you have players that like to min-max they might will all start taking Leadership for the combat bonuses. But I think in most groups, few (if any characters) will have the Leadership skill. Plus they have to expend an entire action to use the ability. I guess it wouldn't hurt to add a rule that says only one such test is allowed per turn (although I would allow teamwork tests if there are multiple members with the appropriate skill).

While this may be true in real life, its something I purposely wanted to avoid. I want the TacNet system to be more effective if a skilled leader is present, but I don't want it to be useless without a designated leader or a Leadership skill. I figure by the 2070s the software's data analysis and semiautonomous decision making capabilities are such that even a bunch of dudes who don't understand tactics can get some advantage from just following the prompt the system gives them. Plus depending on the theme of the campaign and the group dynamics, there may not be an easily identifiable leader and I've seen OoC issues when one player feels like they are being railroaded because their character has to follow another character's "orders" in game. The bottom line is I want the system to work even if there is no designated leader in the group.



I rather like Ryu's reply above on this as a good compromise. Where the roll merely adds to the ability of the network. My original idea was me being an engineer over a game designer. I over-thought it. Your idea of making it a teamwork test would be good. But, to avoid everyone having to use up actions, say that only the "leader" has to make the roll. He get's +1 die to the roll for every other member with Leadership... or some such thing. Not sure on the finer details for that.

QUOTE (Method @ Dec 8 2011, 09:07 PM) *
I could see that. I tend toward the [Skill + Logic] because I don't like how Logic is basically a dump stat for any Matrix related actions. Maybe [Leadership + Logic] with net hits limited to Network Rating or Network rating x 2 (whichever is lower) would be appropriate


I hate dump stats also. But for some reason am still toeing the line on the rules in the book. I think this is preference to how the GM runs their game. Either way would be good.

QUOTE (Method @ Dec 8 2011, 09:07 PM) *
Reasonable, except that the TacNet distributes info to all the members, so any individual member has access to all relevant info on the network. Plus, as I initially conceived this, members would need to have a software rating equal to or greater than the overall network rating, so it wouldn't be an issue.


From experience in the infantry and from engineering, you wouldn't want software that does this. Not in real life anyhow. Possibly less so in SR, but that is because hacking is so prevalent. You want to get as much info from each node to a secure location to be processed. You then want to send back as much info as is truly useful to each node. All of it would likely cause info-overload on the character anyhow. So you send really important data and maybe some good to know stuff for their situation.

The other reason is because, you have to think about what might happen if a node is hacked, or otherwise bleeding intel. You have to expect it to happen in 2070. So, to avoid this, you don't send all processed data to lower nodes. NOW... if the hub goes down, it would be plausible to have any other node act as a redundant backup. Hub, goes down, the tac-net auto promotes a member node to Hub status. This could be a in pre-configured order, or dynamically by the Tac-Net. That way, as long as at least three nodes are present, the Tac-Net stays up.
Yerameyahu
QUOTE
When someones adrenaline shoots through the roof, or their emotional state goes from baseline to anger or panic in a second, there is obviously trouble.
On the other hand, it's always very hard to jump from here to '+4 on shooting people tests'. Even tweaking those kind of numbers, it still feels like an emotive/vitals channel is worth vastly less than video.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Dec 9 2011, 07:57 AM) *
On the other hand, it's always very hard to jump from here to '+4 on shooting people tests'. Even tweaking those kind of numbers, it still feels like an emotive/vitals channel is worth vastly less than video.


Except that in this case, your emotive/vitals channels only supports a +1 on the network (2 channels for the +1 as each channel is worth a half rating point). At least normally, anyways. It is trivially easy to acquire multiple channels (even if you may have to slave sensors to your personal link to do so); how will that react within the new paradigm being discussed here?

I don't know, maybe I missed something... wobble.gif
Darquewing
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Dec 9 2011, 08:57 AM) *
On the other hand, it's always very hard to jump from here to '+4 on shooting people tests'. Even tweaking those kind of numbers, it still feels like an emotive/vitals channel is worth vastly less than video.


Too true. It is definitely not something that stands on it's own. But merely another of piece of the puzzle that Tac-Nets put together. Knowing everything about your enemy won't matter if the system has no information on your own forces.

And...

I'm gonna ramble/prattle/etc. for a minute....

Video, on it's own, is only worth so much also. Generally because it takes a lot of bandwidth for a single stream that is looking in one direction.

Sound is often worth the more in combat situations, because audio receivers can generally hear in a 360 degree arc, while also being able to triangulate positions with as few as two receivers (i.e. two ears.. not the most accurate, but better than nothing.) Another bonus, is that audio data can be filtered, processed, and analyzed far faster and with fewer resources than video. Over 75% of the time, the results will be more accurate as well. With only a 2-3 second sound sample, modern tactical systems can tell where a target is, approximate speed and heading, target classification (dismounts/wheeled or tracked/light or heavy/fast aerial or slow aerial), For dismounts you can get approximate numbers and for vehicles, the likelihood of target being a specific model.


That's from a few microphones with a GPS sttached to them.

Again though, it's all part of the whole.

Yerameyahu
I'm prepared to hand-wave most of that away for the state of tech they seem to have in 2070, though. Audio is certainly great; there's clearly a gradient of utility from things like video, audio, and down towards barometer, pulse rate. Yes, they're part of the whole, but I'm still not behind the idea that they're *equal* parts. In the same way, and as has long been factored in, having 12 sensors on one guy might not be nearly as good as 3 sensors on 4 guys. It's tough to deal with this stuff while avoiding annoying complexity in the rules, but it does nag at us. smile.gif

Weirdly, I just saw you on Google+ (if that's you… it says 'gamer'). Small world.
Darquewing
Agreed. Game-wise I understand that sensor should meet a base-line value to be considered a channel. Usually some form of visual/audial/spatial sensory feed.

I was merely showing options, and highlighting some current technology in this area. To better give people a feel for how these things may operate in the future.

Which will likely be completely different from how they do now. smile.gif
Ryu
QUOTE (Darquewing @ Dec 9 2011, 04:37 PM) *
Too true. It is definitely not something that stands on it's own. But merely another of piece of the puzzle that Tac-Nets put together. Knowing everything about your enemy won't matter if the system has no information on your own forces.

And...

I'm gonna ramble/prattle/etc. for a minute....

Video, on it's own, is only worth so much also. Generally because it takes a lot of bandwidth for a single stream that is looking in one direction.

Sound is often worth the more in combat situations, because audio receivers can generally hear in a 360 degree arc, while also being able to triangulate positions with as few as two receivers (i.e. two ears.. not the most accurate, but better than nothing.) Another bonus, is that audio data can be filtered, processed, and analyzed far faster and with fewer resources than video. Over 75% of the time, the results will be more accurate as well. With only a 2-3 second sound sample, modern tactical systems can tell where a target is, approximate speed and heading, target classification (dismounts/wheeled or tracked/light or heavy/fast aerial or slow aerial), For dismounts you can get approximate numbers and for vehicles, the likelihood of target being a specific model.


That's from a few microphones with a GPS sttached to them.

Again though, it's all part of the whole.

Iīm impressed what audio analysis can do in RL. Is that your line of business?

It should help if you had practically unlimited bandwith, a cloud consisting of devices with substantial processing power, and a set of sensor packs consisting of two microphones and two cameras in an exactly known relative distance to each other. This is what giving a group of soldiers helmets can do in SR. I was thinking that it would be based on video data, but apparently that was wrong.
Darquewing
I am sure that in 2070 video would be more useful than today. These days, passive sensors, that can pull from a wide search area, like audio pickups and motion sensors are big because until something is spotted, no data is being sent across the network. When something is found, then the system knows where to point the cameras and video feeds.


My former line of business was as a software engineer/test engineer for the Army. I worked on the Future Combat Systems project for a few years. I worked a lot with autonomous, dynamic sensor fields, UGVs/UAVs (drones) and the core software. Basically its like a Tac-Net built on top of it's own proprietary OS designed for reliability and security. One of my proudest acheivements was being able to build a distributed real-time 3D simulation and visualization of the battlespace. Rather like a "copy" of the Hub Tac-Net software that runs along side the real one. The difference being, I pulled all my info from various test ports on test units in the field, and sent it back to a central location over the test network. It all came into a hub server I developed and from there data pulled by various client test apps for analysis. I co-wrote the main 3D apps used for real-time visualization during the test executions.

It was a cool job... if you don't like being home for 3-6 months every year.
Ryu
@Darquewing: An enviable experience. Very cool.


The houserule should provide a mechanic for using the Leadership skill without a TacNet. One way of doing this is creating a Tactics Pool of (TacNet rating+Tactics hits)*3. Members can draw (Tactics hits, +2 for running a TacNet) dice for all tests. Running a TacNet should also enable faster relay of commands. I donīt have an idea for handling that difference.

As for the TacNet gear, how about this:
- contributing member:
2*video (Lowlight and Thermographic), 2*audio, GPS

- leeching members:
known location (GPS or detected by the TacNets members)

- all members:
capability to receive visual and/or audio commands. missing either halves maximum draw.

Boni:
- Radar. +3 Tactics Pool
-- Multiples: +1, up to +5 total.



Despite sharing the wish to not have yet another gear-based bonus, the software should be able to make suggestions for someone having just their own sensor data to use. What about that?
Yerameyahu
That sounds all kinds of complex. frown.gif
Darquewing
Just imagine if you keep going down the rabbit hole and start talking about Electronic Warfare being used against tac-nets. I think, in the interest of simplicity, some type of simple Logic+EW roll could be made by someone with a Jammer or "Commlink as Jammer" to disrupt it somewhat. Maybe give the option for someone to do ECCM to offset the deductions from being jammed.


I'm getting in too deep here. If I keep going I could possibly turn half of combat into just keeping the damn tac-net up and running.... Not good.


Method, I apologize if I derailed your efforts here with needless over-complication. smile.gif
Yerameyahu
By rights, Jamming should be involved. I dunno if I care for the RAW on Jamming, but you can't fault them for being too complex. wink.gif
Ryu
QUOTE (Darquewing @ Dec 13 2011, 02:16 PM) *
Method, I apologize if I derailed your efforts here with needless over-complication. smile.gif

Dito, in my case on the side of the rules. I hope there are bits for you to salvage.
Bodak
QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 9 2011, 01:50 PM) *
For all intensive purposes.. you've just recreated the combat pool from SR3.
Was that deliberate or did you mean "for all intents and purposes"?

QUOTE (Darquewing @ Dec 10 2011, 12:15 AM) *
You want to get as much info from each node to a secure location to be processed. You then want to send back as much info as is truly useful to each node. All of it would likely cause info-overload on the character anyhow.
But each user is running their own instance of the software so it would be fine for the hub to send complete updates to each user and allow their local software to customise, filter and manage what that particular user perceives.
Darquewing
True, but the main argument against full updates to everyone is still security.
Method
Hey guys! Sorry I disappeared for a bit. Got super busy with work. I've been mulling over some of the feedback in the thread and have been thinking about ways to incorporate a few of the suggestions. I thought I'd get the ball rolling again with a few random thoughts:

I still like the idea of a single overall Network Rating that represents the immediate function of the Network. I think the easiest way to do that is just mandate that all members need to run TacNet software equal to the Network Rating. This can represent compatibility issues (as Darquewing has suggested), the overall quality of the data Members provide, and/or the effectiveness of the plan the Hub generates. Rather than keeping track of each members TacNet software rating or (god forbid) coming up with some convoluted formula, it just seems easier to say "Okay, we are going to run a level 3 TacNet, everybody needs Rating 3 software" and be done.

I also think that the Network rating makes a good cap on the number of pool dice Members can use for an individual test, because it will generally range from +1 to +4 (except with teams that have very high rating gear/software and a good leader), which I think are reasonable bonuses.

I also still like the idea of DP = total Channels. I think the pool should be a shared resource so that players have to decide collectively how the dice should be spent (which in turn promotes team planning and tactical thinking). The idea of the DP being based on [Network Rating x 3] or similar is less appealing because ultimately that moves back toward the RAW system where the bonuses are solely a function of how good your software rating is.

I agree with Ryu's suggestion that we should "qualify" what constitutes a Channel, but I'm not sure how to do that without a.) a tedious review of every potential sensory-based feed in the game, or b.) a complicated table of different modifiers for different types of channels. I agree that a single radar system feeding a TacNet provides a disproportionate amount of data, but I think it could get really complicated if we start assigning different values to different channels, or saying only X number of Channel Y add to the pool. It just seems easier to say: 1 Channel = 1 Die and here is a list of sensors that qualify...

I like the idea of a GPS being a bare minimum, since the Hub needs to know the location of a Member to make any sense of the data. It helps that they are standard in just about all relevant devices (commlinks, vehicles, drones), so don't think that should count as a channel.

As far as minimal requirements to join- the idea behind Leechers is to allow PCs without a lot of tech to still benefit from the advanced communication and data-sharing of the TacNet. I think less tech-saavy PCs should be at a slight disadvantage, because they have allocated their resources elsewhere (like lobbing fireballs or whatnot). I was toying with the idea of saying that anyone who can provide 1 visual and 1 audio channel can join the Network, but again, if the Average network rating is 2-3 it really doesn't take that much to provide the minimum number of channels. The Leecher situation should only arise in situations where you have very tech-poor PCs trying to interact with a high-rating TacNet, and in that case it seems reasonable to me that they would be at a slight disadvantage. For a low-level TacNet (1 or 2) all anybody would have to do is slap a simmodule in their commlink.

Beyond that I think I will be adopting:
-- Single Leadership test per turn to boost Network function
-- Teamwork tests for the Leadership roll (maybe the team members spend a simple action communicating with the team leader, who in turn spends a Complex action? The problem then become timing, since some members will go before the leader in the turn sequence while others will follow).
-- Hackers feeding false data are limited to the # of Channels the hacked node is contributing
-- The Hub and/or its user get chance to detect falsified data
-- Focused boosts to the network in the form of additional dice for specific test (Directed Fire, Indirect Fire, Coordinated Ambush, etc).

So, I'm not sure where that leaves us in terms of coming to a consensus, but maybe it will spark some more conversation. devil.gif


[edit]Another random thought: what to you guys think about allowing Leechers to spend a Simple Action "manually" feeding data into the Network? Maybe roll Computer+Logic or something and hits are equivalent to channels for that turn allowing them the full benefits of the Network?
Ryu
QUOTE (Method @ Dec 20 2011, 05:03 AM) *
I still like the idea of a single overall Network Rating that represents the immediate function of the Network. I think the easiest way to do that is just mandate that all members need to run TacNet software equal to the Network Rating. This can represent compatibility issues (as Darquewing has suggested), the overall quality of the data Members provide, and/or the effectiveness of the plan the Hub generates. Rather than keeping track of each members TacNet software rating or (god forbid) coming up with some convoluted formula, it just seems easier to say "Okay, we are going to run a level 3 TacNet, everybody needs Rating 3 software" and be done.

One level of software: Agreed.

QUOTE
I also think that the Network rating makes a good cap on the number of pool dice Members can use for an individual test, because it will generally range from +1 to +4 (except with teams that have very high rating gear/software and a good leader), which I think are reasonable bonuses.

I also still like the idea of DP = total Channels. I think the pool should be a shared resource so that players have to decide collectively how the dice should be spent (which in turn promotes team planning and tactical thinking). The idea of the DP being based on [Network Rating x 3] or similar is less appealing because ultimately that moves back toward the RAW system where the bonuses are solely a function of how good your software rating is.

I agree with Ryu's suggestion that we should "qualify" what constitutes a Channel, but I'm not sure how to do that without a.) a tedious review of every potential sensory-based feed in the game, or b.) a complicated table of different modifiers for different types of channels. I agree that a single radar system feeding a TacNet provides a disproportionate amount of data, but I think it could get really complicated if we start assigning different values to different channels, or saying only X number of Channel Y add to the pool. It just seems easier to say: 1 Channel = 1 Die and here is a list of sensors that qualify...

- If you base the number of dice on the number of channels, you reward owning sensor gear. While the shopping list grows longer, you still only need money.
- Each sensor feed is only useable once. Not logical.
- My thinking is that once you know exactly where a target is and what it is doing, more info does not really help. At that point you just need the processing power (brain or CPU) to create a plan. And a way to communicate it.

QUOTE
I like the idea of a GPS being a bare minimum, since the Hub needs to know the location of a Member to make any sense of the data. It helps that they are standard in just about all relevant devices (commlinks, vehicles, drones), so don't think that should count as a channel.

What about a "GPS+4 of the following:..." rule? (SimModuleRig: Great idea!)

QUOTE
As far as minimal requirements to join- the idea behind Leechers is to allow PCs without a lot of tech to still benefit from the advanced communication and data-sharing of the TacNet. I think less tech-saavy PCs should be at a slight disadvantage, because they have allocated their resources elsewhere (like lobbing fireballs or whatnot). I was toying with the idea of saying that anyone who can provide 1 visual and 1 audio channel can join the Network, but again, if the Average network rating is 2-3 it really doesn't take that much to provide the minimum number of channels. The Leecher situation should only arise in situations where you have very tech-poor PCs trying to interact with a high-rating TacNet, and in that case it seems reasonable to me that they would be at a slight disadvantage. For a low-level TacNet (1 or 2) all anybody would have to do is slap a simmodule in their commlink.

Down "another rabbit hole", I would like to have a Tactics rule that works without TacNet.

QUOTE
Beyond that I think I will be adopting:
-- Single Leadership test per turn to boost Network function
-- Teamwork tests for the Leadership roll (maybe the team members spend a simple action communicating with the team leader, who in turn spends a Complex action? The problem then become timing, since some members will go before the leader in the turn sequence while others will follow).
-- Hackers feeding false data are limited to the # of Channels the hacked node is contributing
-- The Hub and/or its user get chance to detect falsified data
-- Focused boosts to the network in the form of additional dice for specific test (Directed Fire, Indirect Fire, Coordinated Ambush, etc).

So, I'm not sure where that leaves us in terms of coming to a consensus, but maybe it will spark some more conversation. devil.gif

- Given that formulating a plan takes only a Complex Action, Iīm not a fan of allowing Teamwork tests. Let the other players communicate their ideas however it is allowed at your table, the leader makes the roll.
- Hackers could also feed false commands to members. How do we handle that? You want to attack, but the TacNet suggests "GET DOWN!".
KCKitsune
There is one way to run the "useless" sensors... Don't use them. Only sensors that modify/transmit vision (eye gear/'Ware, Radar, Ultrasound) or hearing are counted. The only exception to this would be Orientation system and MAYBE Olfactory Booster (and this a big maybe).

A Biomonitor is nice, but it doesn't help you shoot people in the face better... it only let's you know that Jack or Jill got shot and you may want to get over there to save their sorry ass because they owe you nuyen.gif5 and damn it, you WANT that soycafe after this 'Run.
Yerameyahu
Do you mean simrig? Sim Module is the widget that interprets simsense *to* the user; definitely useful for all situations, but the way you mention it confused me. smile.gif
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Dec 20 2011, 11:26 AM) *
Do you mean simrig? Sim Module is the widget that interprets simsense *to* the user; definitely useful for all situations, but the way you mention it confused me. smile.gif

I'm certain he was talking about a SIMRig.
Yerameyahu
Cool. smile.gif I only ask because people will try any crazy thing! And the rules dealing with DNI/simsense can be confusing.
Ryu
If we create a list of potential channels, and everyone ticks off what is present, the dp calculation is easy:

"Acceptable Channel List Suggestion":
- Camera
-- Lowlight
-- Thermo
- Cyberware Scanner (for Threat Assessment)
- Microphone/Cyberear (any type)
- Motion Sensor (basically a camera delivering pre-processed data)
- Radar (any type)
- Olfactory Sensor
- Radio Signal Scanner
- Sonar

So a fully equipped member would provide 10 channels, standard samurai 4 (cybereyes/ears). The way to get many dice into the system would be using more bodies (read: drones). I would like to prevent sillyness by limiting the draw per user/turn to 10 dice or something. Thoughts?

Especially @Darquewing: Am I missing feeds such a system would love to have?
Ryu
Iīve been playing around with a few ideas yesterday, but so far they donīt really work. Anyway.


There should IMO be at least three components:
1- the tactical software should be able to make some use of a lone users sensor data.
2- networking the tactical software creates a tacnet, which should be better
3- even without tacnet, a leader should be able to do "something"

And I would be happy if the teamwork aspect would be part of the rules.



Keeping Methodīs base, there is a pool and a maximum draw per test to play with. In order to fulfill 1+3, I would differentiate between a personal tactics pool and a team tactics pool:

1- Having a tacsoft provides a personal tactics pool (combat pool) of (rating/turn), you can draw 2 dice for any appropiate test.
2- Running a tacnet provides (Hub Rating *2) team tactics pool, which the team members have to share.
3- A leader can roll a Leadership test to add hits*3 to the team tactics pool, and increases the maximum draw by Tactics skill/2 (round up).

Thoughts? Too many dice, too few?
What about having more sensor channels than the minimum, for those who care? Is a general modifier for especially good/spotty sensor coverage, assigned by the GM, enough?
Ryu
Example for last weeks idea: Goons with rating 4 across the board running a rating 2 TacNet, each member running TacSoft 2.

1- each user has personal tatics support worth 2 dice/turn, and can use both for one test.
2- The TacNet provides 4 dice that the squad has to share.
3- The squad leader rolls Leadership+CHA dice [dp 8], increasing the squad tactics pool by about (2 2/3 *3) 8 dice, and increasing the maximum dice draw per test to 4.

Result: The squad has about 12 dice/turn to share, each member has 2 personal tactics dice/turn, and up to 4 of those dice total can be used for any test.
Method
Hey Ryu: sorry I have been scarce. I'm on a Trauma rotation so work has been killer (quite literally).

I like the example you posted. Not all that more complex and the DP seem reasonable. Do I understand correctly: the individual dice are generated per turn but the group pool is generated per pass? Also have you run the numbers with higher and lower end skill/gear combos? Just glancing at it, it seems like an elite squad with a skilled leader would gain quite an edge.
Ryu
Yeah, you said work is plenty. All good.

QUOTE (Method @ Jan 10 2012, 04:09 AM) *
Hey Ryu: sorry I have been scarce. I'm on a Trauma rotation so work has been killer (quite literally).

I like the example you posted. Not all that more complex and the DP seem reasonable. Do I understand correctly: the individual dice are generated per turn but the group pool is generated per pass? Also have you run the numbers with higher and lower end skill/gear combos? Just glancing at it, it seems like an elite squad with a skilled leader would gain quite an edge.

I was thinking about having both pools generated per turn, I`ll have to think about using different timeframes. If we move to dice/pass, there are some shenanigans if the group has different numbers of IPs - everyone can draw dice on the first pass, only some can draw dice on the 4th. Granting 20 dice total for 5 runners and 3 drones on the first IP, then 20 dice for 1 razorboy on the 4th does not sound good.

High end:
TacNet 4, Captain of Doom leader (Tactics 7 / Leadership 6 / Cha 6):
1- each user has personal tatics support worth 4 dice/turn, and can use two for any test.
2- The TacNet provides 8 dice that the squad has to share.
3- The squad leader rolls Leadership+CHA dice [dp 12], increasing the squad tactics pool by about 12 dice, and increasing the maximum dice draw per test to 6.

Result: The squad has about 20 dice/turn to share, each member has 4 personal tactics dice/turn, and up to 6 of those dice total can be used for any test.



Low End:
TacNet 1, Captain fresh from the academy (Tactics 3, Leadership 2, Cha 4):
1- each user has personal tatics support worth 1 dice/turn
2- The TacNet provides 2 dice that the squad has to share.
3- The squad leader rolls Leadership+CHA dice [dp 6], increasing the squad tactics pool by about 6 dice, and increasing the maximum dice draw per test to 3.

Result: The squad has about 8 dice/turn to share, each member has 1 personal tactics die/turn, and up to 3 of those dice total can be used for any test.



I see the TacSoft rating as a measure of analytical strength. Low-rated TacNets need a good leader to make use of. It would be easy to shift the values - more dice total, less dice for leadership hits, more for having a TacNet.

Prediction: Many groups will have their face as their leader, and get their hands on a TacSoft 4. If the face has tactics 5 (16 karma), they are looking at about 20 dice/turn and a max. draw of 5 per test.

Hopefully enough to make a difference by augmenting four tests important for the whole group, but not another generic equipment-based +rating to all tests.



Next aspect: Group dynamics and agreeing on tactics. At the time of the leadership test, the group should have a short talk about the tactics of the situation before the leader chooses a plan and rolls the dice. The Leadership/Tactics parts of the character are figured into the rules, but do not form a consensus at the table.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012