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Matrix wish list

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Banshee

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« on: <11-04-21/0817:45> »
Ok gang,

We are starting to put together some ideas and concepts for the advanced matrix book. What do you want to see in it?

Gaps that need covered?
Explanations and clarifications?
New toys and tools? (Gear and programs, etc)
New options?

Whatever... it's a team effort so I won't be writing the whole thing and can't guarantee they will all make it but can at least make sure they get looked at.
Robert "Banshee" Volbrecht
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MercilessMing

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« Reply #1 on: <11-04-21/1254:43> »
Agents; I'd love deckers to have them but I also think they're fine without them so I don't know what role they'd play.

I want a more complex edge ecosystem in the matrix, but not to the degree that Firing Squad and Chase scenes went to.  Canonize ways to gain situational edge in the matrix.  Direct connections, passwords, knowledge skills, VR modes, etc.
Matrix edge actions are lackluster and never see play at our table.  I'm mostly fine playing my decker and just using the standard edge boosts, but a menu of more useful edge boosts and actions would be nice.

I'd enjoy AI player characters, if it doesn't require learning a third way to use the matrix and they can easily inhabit butler drones or whatever.

An easy, official way to do matrix related basic stuff that we take for granted in video games: add virtual waypoints, highlight targets that we can detect via matrix perception, etc

Expand on the interaction of electronics and engineering.  An official Electronics specialization of Engineering would be a good starting point.

I don't find Noise to be a useful mechanic, please don't expand on that.

Smaller CMs for devices.  NPCs have professional ratings, but devices always take their full CM to defeat.  Is Device Rating a good substitute?

Time-delayed Control Device and Spoof Command actions - you could introduce some trap-setting playstyle by letting hackers leave malicious code inside hosts or devices.  Tell a vending machine to send you an email when person x makes a purchase and then delete itself.  Tell a maglock to open for 5 seconds at a specific time.  These malicious commands could be discovered and erased in a similar way as Probe exploits.

Aria

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« Reply #2 on: <11-04-21/1312:11> »
Second AI PCs… I know there are potentially issues with undying characters but then I can’t think when a PC last died in one of my games anyway (maybe I’m too nice?!?  ::))
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Hobbes

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« Reply #3 on: <11-04-21/1728:30> »
More Matrix actions for CyberJacks and Resonance scores.  I'll also second, never having seen an Edge Matrix action used in play.

More ways to gain Edge while Matrixing.

Cyberdeck and Cyberjack options.  Mods, Programs, and such.  Cyberjacks need lovin' IMO.

The Kill Code Matrix Actions, the various buffs and debuffs, were one of my favorite things in 5th edition.  I'd love to see those return.

More Matrix related Cyberware/Bioware, Datajack plus for example.

And of course the expected Technomancer options, Echos, Complex Forms, ect. 


Finstersang

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« Reply #4 on: <11-04-21/2004:29> »
Rules on prepping for high-profile hacks and runs, especially as a team effort. This may include extensive network surveillance, fishing attacks or even writing your own "Zero day Hacks", but also the planting of datataps, relays and spoof routers via onsite infiltration and even social engineering. In this regard, I wouldnīt mind if a hacking supplement splices in more rules about general (tech-based) security measures like sensor, biometric locks, facial recognition, SIN checks etc. as well as the gear and perks needed to circumvent them. While this isnīt "hacking" in the strictest sense, there is much overlap in practise.

A simple, meaningfull bonus for establishing direct connections (f.i. granting Edge or Edge Discounts?).

More perks for VR usage, both in Hot and Cold Sim. Right now, itīs just an Initiative Bonus, so it doesnīt really help with tests outside of combat or other time sensitive situations.

Probably a point of contention for many, but please hear me out: (Slightly) better defensive options for normal Matrix users. Right now, even the best commlinks only gives you a Firewall of 3. Iīm not against stacking the odds more in favor for the hacker, but bear in mind that most targets still have the option to just turn of wireless functionality entirely.
 
(Passive) Countermeasures and Threats: IMO, it can be quite annoying that most threats for hackers in 5th and 6th edition are "active" in nature: IC, security spiders and sprites are all represented by active entities with a condition monitor, Initiative and a seperate action economy. The only other threats/obstructions left are File protection, Data bombs and OS in general, since the other "punishments" for failing illegal actions are gone in 6th Edition. This means that hacking will clog up more table time once the hacker is spotted or the GM wants to up the ante, because every hickup will eventually lead to Matrix Combat. Many PC hackers will just pull out immediately once spotted - not just because fighting IC is dangerous, but also because itīs a repetetive one-man show. Two alternative ideas:
  • Passive IC: Instead of hunting and attacking a spotted intruder, passive IC just sits around and either waits for the hacker to slip up or make things harder indiscriminately. Possible effects could include a simple return of 5th Editions "punishments" for failed illegal actions (f.i. matrix damage, counter-traces or Link-logging), but also slowdown effects for unwanted data searches, VR-centred design that penalizes AR usage and even like psychotropic background signals that drive intruders insane if they stay too long. (AFAIK, passive IC was already a thing in 3rd and previous editions, but the particular examples probably donīt translate well...)
  • Viruses: Existed in 4th edition, sadly abandoned in 5th: Touch the wrong icons, and you might catch a digital disease that tracks your location (works also a security feature!), corrupts files, fills your AR display with furry Pr0n or plays subliminal VR messages in your sleep. There are already rules for Toxins and Pathogens, shouldnīt be too hard to adapt them for the Matrix. Note that this can also serve as a tool for hackers and as a threat for non-hackers!

BTW: "Are there Viruses?" is also a common question from hacker players at my table, and many were surprised that this isnīt really a thing in the 2 most recent editions. The same goes for other common-knowledge concepts and terms like DOS attacks, Trojans, Phishing, Ransomware or Zero-Day threats. Not all of these need fleshed-out rules and some can be argued to be already implemented in existing matrix actions and perks, but I think thereīs a lot of unused potential here: F.i., a Trojan could be an infected File that attempts to open up a backdoor once itīs brought in a host by an unsuspecting victim. This would open up another way of infiltrating a host through deception.

Thatīs it for now. I have a few ideas regarding Hardware and Technomancers, but Iīll safe them for another post ;)
« Last Edit: <11-05-21/1047:24> by Finstersang »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 on: <11-04-21/2138:13> »
Probably a point of contention for many, but please hear me out: (Slightly) better defensive options for normal Matrix users. Right now, even the best commlinks only gives you a Firewall of 3. Iīm not against stacking the odds more in favor for the hacker, but bear in mind that most targets still have the option to just turn of wireless functionality entirely.

As a PSA, the City Edition errata hopefully addressed this.  Via allowing PANs to just be team-wide rather than character-by-character.  So, your sammy or mage or whatever just slaves their gear to the Decker or technomancer or rigger, and boom you now have much better defensive options than a Firewall 3 commlink.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Finstersang

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« Reply #6 on: <11-05-21/1042:11> »
That is a solution for teams of Shadowrunners (provided that they have a hacker or rigger in the first place!), but not for NPC - unless we assume that every person (or device) of interest has some form of external protection through Host, RCC or Decker support.

IMO, thereīs a general need for more ways to get a decent protection dice pool, especially since PAN-less devices donīt have any defenses right now. F.i. personal Nodes ("mini-hosts"?) for your home appliances, "security-grade" commlinks, subscription services or even just the simple option to equip individual pieces of gear with a firewall (or even a "passive" Sleaze!) dongle.

BTW: As far as I can tell, itīs quite very unclear what prerequisites are needed to consider a device.
  • a. protected by a PANīs firewall.
  • b. protected by an individualīs mental Attributes.

Do I need to consciously "watch" my stuff in the Matrix? Do I need to stay in proximity? Is a master-slave-relationship necessary?

Hobbes

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« Reply #7 on: <11-05-21/1518:51> »
Cheap RCC and a couple of the E-war Programs from Double Clutch set up a character with pretty beefy passive Matrix defenses for under 10,000 Nuyen.  Not cheap, but its good for an entire gang or squad of some kind.

A hacker throwing 12 to 18 dice is still likely to walk all over anything outside a host but the dice pools will be closer and the Overwatch score will get run up a few more points.

That said, any NPC can be part of a Hosts WAN.  Even a Rating 3 host with a low PR Spider will up the dice pools considerably.   

cantrip

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« Reply #8 on: <11-05-21/1701:13> »
It would be helpful to have examples that show how varying sizes of hosts are layed out.

Perhaps some examples of submersion "realms" in the Resonance for Technomancers.

Isolation tanks for deckers that are just plain tired of the real world.  ;)


Xenon

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« Reply #9 on: <11-05-21/1927:41> »
6th edition might be the first edition where hackers are no longer outsourced to npcs and where you don't have to hand-wave most rules. The abstraction level is at a good level. As is the action economy. Please don't complicate things (we don't really need foundation runs) ;-)


Edit, already included in the Seattle Edition
PAN seem to have two different meanings (several references for this in 5th edition as well):
1. Smaller number of electronic devices (for example drones)
2. Hundreds of electronic devices you carry on your body

In the supplement I would like to see some official support for both. For example that all your electronic devices on your body (or near vicinity) count as if they are part of your PAN and get protection of your PANs firewall while at the same time keeping the lower limit of "smart" devices (such as turrets, drones, vehicles etc) as-is, as this is one of the advantages of accessing the matrix via a RCC over a cyberdeck or commlink.



Would like to see some clarification about if you can access the matrix via a RCC while still also having access to a cyberdeck or if they are mutual exclusive (personally I think it would make sense that they are mutually exclusive). Would also like to see a few more actions that require that you access the matrix via a cyberdeck.


Would like to see some added rewards / advantages to teams that try to keep the team together / that bring the nerd. Perhaps related to Direct Connections / Line of Sight / Close Proximity hacking?


Edit, already included in the Seattle Edition
Would be nice to see some buffs to cyberjacks. Perhaps listed Initiative bonus of Cyberdecks could officially listed as Initiative Dice (including Minor Action(s)) rather than 'just' Initiative Score?


Cool if there was some alternative rules on how to gain access to networks besides brute forcing through the main gate or probing the network to find a backdoor (for example social engineering, blackmailing, intimidating, mind probing, control thoughts, dumpster diving for access codes, etc and perhaps physical proximity and engineering skill to gaining access to cameras connected to a network or what not). But only if it doesn't complicate the rules too much.


Slightly more passive defense for low defense devices and personal networks not involving hosts and hackers would be welcome. Perhaps that stand-alone devices are given some level of firewall instead of zero (equal to its device rating?). And/or that commlinks get a slightly improved firewall rating.


That both matrix search and probe are turned into regular simple tests (that way matrix search hits will also fit better with the existing legwork table).



Having said that, most above ideas are already present here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DYgYXlKQ5XUG_3R4aDbaTTcm5XeYfdjf6Kqlop1J72k/edit

Just make the entire document official and call it a day ;-)
« Last Edit: <11-07-21/1506:13> by Xenon »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #10 on: <11-05-21/2101:24> »

PAN seem to have two different meanings (several references for this in 5th edition as well):
1. Smaller number of electronic devices (for example drones)
2. Hundreds of electronic devices you carry on your body

In the supplement I would like to see some official support for both. For example that all your electronic devices on your body (or near vicinity) count as if they are part of your PAN and get protection of your PANs firewall while at the same time keeping the lower limit of "smart" devices (such as turrets, drones, vehicles etc) as-is, as this is one of the advantages of accessing the matrix via a RCC over a cyberdeck or commlink.

Again, that's now the case in the CRB as of City edition :) all your everything is in your PAN, or your team's PAN, if you link them up.  And the "device limit" counts towards remotely operated devices, e.g. drones.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

KarmaInferno

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« Reply #11 on: <11-07-21/0917:04> »
RCC echo.

Though that might be better suited for the Resonance book.

Finstersang

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« Reply #12 on: <11-11-21/1957:15> »
Ok, back again  ;D

Had to do a little digging, but I found and old kickstarted (probably too late, I donīt remember) in the wake of the second Matrix sourcebook for fifth Edition: https://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=26791

Right after Kill Code came out, I started a bunch of threads with more houserules and ideas. Dunno, had way to much time back then ::) Some things discussed there have already been (re-)implemented, like nested or local hosts, and some have already been mentioned before, but I think thereīs still much to find. Some ideas Iīd like to highlight:

  • A whole bunch of Deck modifications, including "negative" Deck/Commlink/RCC modifications that remove certain functions in exchange for better stats and/or more enhancement slots. This include stuff like certain interface modes, direct connections or even wireless connectivity. Voluntary restrictions can help a lot to refine a character concept!
  • In the same vein, Iīd really like to see a return of larger Matrix gear (laptop- or even desktop sized, or even bigger?) thatīs used by corporate spiders or the rare stay-in-the-van-type of hacker. The link above has some ideas on how this might be implemented.
  • Rules for "dry hacking" a device through it own interface (possibly without requiring a deck or resonance?)
  • Rules on impersonating/hijacking other personas. Note that this can be a really exciting topic, as it is implied that the new Matrix protocols (btw, is the "slaved technomancer mindhive" plot still a thing?) might be able to detect impostors by using behaviour prediction and/or brainscan technology.
  • Not a detailed concept, but a humble wish: More Info on SINs (precisely: SIN verification), digital Money and how Hackers and Technomancers can interact with these concepts. F.i., how about a Complex Form that allows a Technomancer to conjure a temporary "Resonance SIN" on the fly?
  • Some general thoughts on Technomancer functionality, as well as new Ideas for Paragons and Streams . Regarding TMs, there also this huge thread that Amy Veeres started way back.
  • Some thoughts on visibility, POVs and detection ranges. While the concepts detailed here are probably too complex in hindsight, the thread highlights some common questions. Also, I really like the idea of a (keyworded and expandable!) "immediate range" around your Matrix devices that allows for quicker detection, hacking and other perks.
« Last Edit: <11-12-21/0615:25> by Finstersang »

Sphinx

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« Reply #13 on: <11-12-21/1212:52> »
Shadowrun players, especially new ones, come into the game with certain expectations about what their hacker character should be able to do in the game. These expectations are mostly shaped by what they see fictional hackers doing in movies and TV shows. Some of these things are possible within the rules, but many aren't — often for good reasons. I'd like to see these preconceptions addressed in the form of a "mythbusting" section. In-universe, it could be framed as one of the elite hackers making disparaging remarks about "Trideo Hacking" vs. real hacking, but the real point would be to address player ideas of what their characters can and can't do within the rules. At a minimum, include a sidebar somewhere with a list of things that "everyone thinks hackers can do, but really they can't."

For example, in the Leverage TV show, the hacker (Hardison, played by Aldis Hodge) routinely creates convincing fake identities for his teammates. It's not unreasonable for a Shadowrun player to ask the GM if their character can create Fake SINs. The Matrix sourcebook should either (A) provide rules for players to do this, or (B) explain why they can't or shouldn't be able to do this in the game.

Make a list of things fictional hackers often do on TV and in the movies. Explain how to do the things that are possible within the rules. Introduce new rules for things that should be possible but haven't been covered yet. And for the things that aren't allowed, acknowledge that hackers do this on trideo all the time but it's not "really possible," and preferably state why not.

Just off the top of my head, a list of things hackers do on TV (some of these are already Matrix actions, some aren't but should be, and some probably shouldn't be allowed):
> Make people invisible to security cameras ("looping footage")
> Read/edit confidential files and messages
> Lock and unlock doors
> Turn lights on/off
> Control elevators
> Control traffic lights
> Control someone's car (e.g., lock them inside, or lock them out)
> Eavesdrop on phone conversations
> Intercept/redirect phone calls
> Impersonate someone in a voice or video call (deepfake)
> Create fictional/fake identities
> Steal someone's existing identity
> Erase someone's identity
> Track someone's current location by their phone
> Backtrack someone's datatrail to find out where they've been
> Remotely activate someone's smartphone camera/microphone to spy on them
> Trigger fire suppression/sprinkler systems
> Trigger alarms (or cancel/prevent them)
> Transfer funds out of (or into) someone's bank account
> Charge goods/services to someone else's account
> Cut off someone's communications (jam one person in a crowd)
> Hold someone's account hostage (ransomware)
> "Convenience" hacks (vending machines, ticketing systems, hotel/restaurant reservations)
> Identify someone using facial/voice recognition software
> Locate someone using facial/voice recognition
> Falsify camera footage to show something other than what really happened
« Last Edit: <11-12-21/1303:45> by Sphinx »

Banshee

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« Reply #14 on: <11-13-21/0927:47> »
Just a quick note, thanks for the feedback from you all so far. Many of these were already on the list but there are a few new ones that we will to incorporate.
Robert "Banshee" Volbrecht
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Former RPG Lead Agent
Catalyst Demo Team