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91
That's a question that very much has a "it depends" kind of answer.

So, in general the population of the Sixth World tends to be lower than the real world, or at least lower than what real world projections are for the given year (due to the wars, plagues, and general mayhem of the alternate timeline).  But that population that does exist is much more concentrated in urban areas than the real world's... not just for all the same reasons that real life urbanization is taking place but also the perverse factor of cities actually being safer than rural areas when it comes to monster attacks and whatnot.

That all means the areas between sprawls are indeed much more depopulated than in the real world.  Smaller towns can still exist, perhaps as a small sliver of its former (Fifth world) size.  I'm sure quite a few simply become ghost towns and are abandoned entirely- they'd make great havens for gangs or packs of ghouls or who knows what.  In some areas, quite a lot of the geography is eaten up by megacorporate agri-businesses, so they'll still have decent infrastructure despite low local populations, but their roads and rail might not be open to the general public.  On the other hand, certain sprawls essentially don't have areas between them.  FDC to Baltimore to Philly to NYC to Boston is well on its way to becoming one Judge Dredd style Mega City.

Then there's the geo-political angle.  North America has balkanized into numerous countries that tend to have more grievances than reasons to maintain open borders.  Since the CAS broke ways fairly peacefully with the UCAS, the old USA's interstate system more or less still works east of the Mississippi but when you look at east-west travel, the NAN went to particular effort to raze roads and towns during their internal decolonization projects, which of course ties directly in to your question.  You CAN, for example, drive from Seattle to Cheyenne but there's probably only 1, or at most 2, road corridors to possibly choose between.

Due to many of the factors above, also bear in mind that airship commerce is a viable thing in the Sixth World.  Roads and Rail are sometimes not as good an answer for shipping goods across North America as airships are, which literally sail above such problems on the ground.
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General Discussion / What about the area between Sprawls?
« Last post by Ninjak Delta on <06-05-22/1040:43> »
Is there somewhere I can find info for the lands between the cities? How safe is driving between them? Are there common bandits roaming the countryside? Are there interstates still, or is it just normal roads? Are there even roads?

I ask because I am I starting a campaign (1st time GM for SR5) soon and I want there to be travels between the cities. The more info I can find the better. Any help is appreciated. Many thanks!

Eiric E. Padráig
Haphazard Projects
93
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by FastJack on <06-05-22/0812:27> »
This is how I imagine corporate security to work in Shadowrun...
That's a great example, but what has it to do with Commlinks recognizing a stranger and using their persona?
94
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Xenon on <06-05-22/0627:10> »
This is how I imagine corporate security to work in Shadowrun.


Most smaller corps that are not empowered to issue limited corporate SINs themselves probably have a policy to only employ real citizens, so one of the first things they will verify (even on the first interview) would probably be that you have a SIN and that your SIN checks out. That it isn't fake. Depending on the position you are applying for, in addition to a regular SIN validation check they might perhaps also run an extended background check (including manually checking your social media feeds, political activity, crime record etc). Actually getting hired on a fake SIN to a higher security area is probably quite tricky unless your fake alter ego is really well made.

Later, as part of the on-boarding processes, they will probably take your photo (which they will print on your corporate close proximity RFID badge together with your name, employee number, corporate logo and department number) and supposed you are hired to work in a high security area they might perhaps also record a spoken pass-phrase, take your finger prints, scan your retinal signature or collect some other biometrics that they will later use for voice recognition, fingerprint scanner, retinal scanner etc to validate that you are actually you at the check-point to enter said area.

Each morning when you arrive at your work you will typically first pass through the public lobby where the SIN of all visitors and employees alike will be automatically scanned through a rating 3 SIN verification unit. This is to make sure SINless individuals don't enter the public lobby area of the corp. Individuals that are not broadcasting a SIN at all are denied entry to the lobby by hired corporate security. The SIN validation unit operator expect everyone to pass. If a SIN validation fails then that fake SIN will be automatically burned and KE will be automatically called to the scene to arrest the individual for "attempt to use an illegal fake SIN". Hired corporate security will detain the individual until they arrive. The lobby is probably also warded to make sure visitors and employees are not sustaining spells and the frame of the front door itself probably also contain a rating 3 Magnetic Anomaly Detection scanner to make sure visitors and employees are not bring firearms into the public lobby.

As an employee you are expected to wear your corporate badge visible at all times. To get through the lobby, to the elevator that will take you to your actual work environment, you are required to scan your card at the rating 3 card reader of the manned security check point in order for the rating 3 maglock to open and let you in.

21st floor where you work is a high security floor and one of the first things you have to do there before getting in is to walk into an air lock. Inside the air lock you are expected to say the sentence "Hi, My name Odsh. My voice is my passport. Verify me." using your own unique natural voice pattern in order for the rating 3 voice recognition system to open the rating 3 maglock. If you fail the air lock will likely remain locked while hired security guards will be called to the scene in order to resolve the situation.

On the inside you will also likely meet people you work with on a daily basis. They might ask you how you feel. If the weekend was good. etc.



As a social infiltrator of a shadowrun team I decided to impersonate Odsh, a random research engineer of same metatype and sex and roughly the same height and weight as me that have access to the same floor in the high security research area where the expected macguffin is located.

To not trip the MAD scanner I decided to leave my silenced light pistol at home but I still brought my monowhip hidden in one of my fingertip compartments, just in case. Before I enter the lobby I will also make sure I am broadcasting one of my higher rated fake SINs. In addition to validate the checksum of my fake SIN the SIN verification unit in the lobby also validate the consistency of several random pieces of on-line data attached to the fake SIN, but (due to the higher threshold of my higher rated fake SIN) still fail to find any apparent gaps and decides to inform to the SIN verification unit operator that I am indeed a legit citizen.

Next stop is the close proximity RFID scanner. I could have used an illegal skeleton key here (a so called maglock passkey) or hire a decker, but since we probably needed an authentic looking badge in order to fool hired corporate security and Odsh's co-workers anyway we instead decided already two weeks ago to swipe the real badge from Odsh while he was using public transportation on his way to work as normal, ran it through a key card copier and then palmed it back to him before he noticed. We then used forgery to make it look like an authentic corporate badge. As we suspect that some sort of alert might be triggered if it appear as if Odsh arrive to work twice in the same day the rest of the team is tasked at delaying Odsh long enough for the operation to be completed.

Through various legwork activities (matrix search, contact networking, using micro drones to infiltrate, interviewing, etc) my team found out about the voice recognition unit and also the exact pass phrase that is being used. My team had several options here. If I had been an adept with Vocal Control Power or if I had been augmented with Voice Modulator ware then I could perhaps try to mimic the unique voice pattern of Odsh. Or we could have hired a decker to override the security device remotely by hacking the host. Instead we went with the following solution.

In order to look like Odsh I decided to use a combination of Prosthetic makeup and bio-sculpting (but had I been an adept then I could have used Cosmetic Control or as a magician I could have used Physical Mask etc) and then rely on my impersonation specialization in order to walk the walk and talk the talk in case I would run into any of Odsh's coworkers.

(edit to fix the url)
95
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Odsh on <06-04-22/1528:57> »
but unless we literally leave our real world deets behind somehow, these dossiers on persona activity won't tie back to a real life user

I really don't mean to come out as being stubborn.

If I was a corp, the first thing I'd do is to force anyone to leave real these world deeds behind.

"You want a SIN? Sure, please log into the matrix through that terminal while we collect some biometric data."
96
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Stainless Steel Devil Rat on <06-04-22/1359:00> »
A SIN in itself is just 12 alpha-numeric characters that hold information like name, birthdate, birthplace, gender and metatype. Sharing a SIN doesn't share biometric data, in fact nearly everyone does so through the Global SIN Registry.

I'm not going to argue about whether that was NEVER accurate, but it was not accurate as of 5e at least.  Legit SINs (and good/high ranking Fake SINs) in 5e and 6e absolutely include biometric data.

Quote

I'll try my best to amp up my suspension of disbelief to max.

In summary:
  • An individual's persona is unique
  • You can't change your persona
  • Nobody fully controls or understand the matrix. Suffice to say that it allows certain interactions and will fight any non-conformant activity like an immune system reacting to an interloper.
  • The matrix is able to link non-conformant matrix activities with your persona. But only so until you reboot.
  • Your persona has certain access rights in the matrix (ownership, whatever). They are either granted to you in a way that the matrix likes and will remember in between reboots. Or they are forged in a way that the matrix doesn't like and will forget after a reboot.
  • Apart from the cases mentioned above, nobody and nothing is able to persist any data related to a persona that would allow them to identify that persona in the future

Do I miss something?

Yes, that's at least 95% what I believe is accurate.  The quibbles are:
on point 2, you can change the outward appearances of your persona, but it can only possibly trick people who aren't bothering to do any sort of verification.   If I, persona SSDR were to impersonate persona Odsh for the purposes of making persona Xenon think you said whatever I tell them, the way that'd be handled via the rules is by hacking the target I mean to deceive, not the target I mean to impersonate.  So I'd hack Xenon to think Xenon is talking to Odsh, rather than hacking Odsh to steal whatever technobabble makes Odsh Odsh.

Exactly the same concept for "using" an employee's work credentials to trick the work host into thinking the employee is entering the host.  If I change my persona to 0dsh it might trick Xenon into thinking I'm Odsh if he's not paying close attention, but that sort of fuckery won't work on automated systems like a host.  The host has to be hacked, not a persona.

on point 6, that's completely inaccurate due to how it was semantically presented.  What would be accurate is to say that "Apart from the cases mentioned above, nobody and nothing is able to persist any data related to a persona that would allow them to correlate that persona with its real world user."  Even then, what is truly *possible* isn't necessarily known.  Maybe someone can, but if so they're not talking.  But what's important is Big Brother can put together a dossier on personas SSDR and Odsh, and where the authorities are willing to share data perhaps even put case files together tracking our various matrix hacks, even when we change up the outward presentations of our personas (see point 2), but unless we literally leave our real world deets behind somehow, these dossiers on persona activity won't tie back to a real life user.  Maybe a spider or tracker IC learn we often hack from a given real world address.  Maybe that means we live there, but it could also mean we simply habitually go there to hack... contextually it could link to a real life identity but not directly.  Likewise providing a SIN during an online purchase is certainly a juicy hint, should Big Brother find that, but technically it doesn't mean that's the persona's SIN.  maybe they're buying for someone else... but certainly it's a hint you could be, or at least know, that real life person.   Using fake SINs for online purchases may well be nearly as common as using VPNs in the real world, simply for the actual anonymity it affords, even to legal citizens.
97
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Xenon on <06-04-22/0812:13> »
Overwatch score could be seen as the abstraction of the act of keeping track of suspect activity tied to that specific "token" or the current "signature" that was generated for the persona last time it accessed the matrix. Once OS reach 40 GOD have gathered enough suspicious activity revolving this specific "signature" that it converge on it. From this point this "signature" is "burned" and "monitored" and you can never execute matrix actions using this token. But if the client (the persona, the internet account - the equivalent of the combination of username and password) go offline or reboots before this then the link to this specific "signature" is broken. If the persona access the matrix again then it will do so with a new fresh "signature" that is not linked to any suspect stuff. The resource owner (the host or PAN) is never really directly aware of which specific internet user (username, password, email, phone number, etc) that was performing the hack. Only the specific temporary 3rd party generated signature it had while it was still online.

Yes of course I understand that the analogy is not perfect (and also there is no talk about tokens at all in Shadowrun, nobody will use web tokens 50 years from now), but I still think it should be good enough for you to get an an idea of how it is perhaps not impossible how a persona could be considered white as snow after each reboot as the mechanics seem to dictate.

If you have a better analogy then feel free to use (and perhaps share?) that instead.
98
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Odsh on <06-04-22/0738:00> »
That analogy is a bit far fetched if I may.
The token in the OAuth flow is a way to grant authorization to a third party app without communicating your login/password. It doesn't mean there is no way to link suspect activity tied to that token with the corresponding resource owner.
99
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Xenon on <06-04-22/0535:15> »
It should be trivial to link a SIN with a persona and this link would make crime fighting so much easier.
I see SIN as the equivalent of having a green card. Proof that you are a legit citizen.
And I see matrix persona as the equivalent of your combined steam+facebook+microsoft+google account. Your internet identity.

You have persons who lives in a country without having official permission to live there using the internet in 2022.
You have SINless people using the matrix in 2082.
Same thing really.


Your persona has certain access rights in the matrix (ownership, whatever). They are either granted to you in a way that the matrix likes and will remember in between reboots. Or they are forged in a way that the matrix doesn't like and will forget after a reboot.
This is perhaps not so different from how authentication (and authorization) worked back in 2022.

When you accessed a resource, web page, etc (or accessing the matrix) you typically showed your credentials to a third party token provider. A federation gateway of sorts that both the client and the server was trusting (such as keycloak). You are given a token. Instead of providing your credentials every time you click on a link you instead use and reuse the same token for all API calls you make (think single sign on). On the server side they never really saw your username and password. They just saw your token. And they asked the federation gateway if the token was legit or not. They could track all the calls you do with this token, but once you log out (or the token expire) and again wanted to access (when you reboot your matrix persona) you would again have to show your credentials - and even though you were still using the same internet user (matrix persona), the token you would receive the second time would be a different token than the last time you accessed the same resource.

I am not suggesting that the matrix is using OAuth2.0, but it could perhaps serve as en example to better understand why it is not completely impossible that you would start out fresh each time you access the matrix.
100
Rules and such / Re: Commlinks and Personas
« Last post by Odsh on <06-04-22/0401:09> »
A SIN in itself is just 12 alpha-numeric characters that hold information like name, birthdate, birthplace, gender and metatype. Sharing a SIN doesn't share biometric data, in fact nearly everyone does so through the Global SIN Registry.

I agree that corps don't necessarily share biometric data associated to a SIN with each other - at least not those of their stand-up citizens. And maybe nobody cares about fighting crime, but I'm sure as hell that a corp would want to know when a SIN associated to the persona of notorious Shadowrunner is spotted lurking in the proximity of one of their top secret labs.


We're not being asked to forgo common sense.  We're being asked to accept that, given the aftermath of a global comms catastrophe the powers that be decided to employ a network that they couldn't fully control, much less fully understand...but was on-hand at the time and ready to be exploited.  Choosing to do so when it's NOT an emergency might be a bit of suspension of disbelief... but during an emergency?  Less so, for sure.  A decade or two in, they're so fully in that bed it's not cost effective to perform yet another clean slate and start over with yet another matrix where you CAN link SINs to Personas.

I'll try my best to amp up my suspension of disbelief to max.

In summary:
  • An individual's persona is unique
  • You can't change your persona
  • Nobody fully controls or understand the matrix. Suffice to say that it allows certain interactions and will fight any non-conformant activity like an immune system reacting to an interloper.
  • The matrix is able to link non-conformant matrix activities with your persona. But only so until you reboot.
  • Your persona has certain access rights in the matrix (ownership, whatever). They are either granted to you in a way that the matrix likes and will remember in between reboots. Or they are forged in a way that the matrix doesn't like and will forget after a reboot.
  • Apart from the cases mentioned above, nobody and nothing is able to persist any data related to a persona that would allow them to identify that persona in the future

Do I miss something?
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