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[6E] Technomancers Don't Use Devices

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MercilessMing

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« on: <04-16-21/1453:16> »
CRB pg 188:
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Technomancers do not use electronic devices or programs. They are the device, so they themselves are the prime source of their Matrix statistics through
their living persona (p. 189). While they canít use programs, they can develop and implement cognitive patterns called complex forms (p. 189), which might cause fading (p. 189).
How far is one supposed to take the idea that TMs don't use devices or programs?
All the way: TMs can only ever connect to the matrix with their Living Persona, and interact with devices through the LP at all times.  No devices or programs (commlink, cyberdeck, satlink, retail apps, games) can be considered part of or loaded onto the persona.
One at a time: TMs can use a commlink or cyberdeck to connect to the matrix, but cannot use their living persona while they do so.
Dual wielding: TMs can use a commlink or cyberdeck to connect to the matrix, and can also connect with their living persona at the same time, but programs cannot influence the LP and resonance powers cannot influence the other persona.
Superdeck: The book doesn't explicitly say you can't use resonance powers on a cyberdeck, so TMs can connect with a comm/cyberdeck, connect their LP to it, and become a decker with sprites and complex forms.
« Last Edit: <04-16-21/1459:12> by MercilessMing »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <04-16-21/1611:08> »
The Living Persona doesn't use any devices.

If a technomancer wants to use the matrix like a mundane rather than with their special Living Persona, then they still absolutely may do so (with Commlink, RCC, Cyberdeck, Cyberjack, etc).  But when doing so, they're not using their Living Persona.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Xenon

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« Reply #2 on: <04-16-21/1907:53> »
This is my understanding as well.

The intention still seems to be that you access the matrix via a commlink (cheap), a cyberdeck (enable hacking), a RCC (enable commanding multiple drones) or via a living persona (enable hacking, threading and compiling).

Technomancers that access the matrix via their living persona instead of using a commlink, cyberdeck or RCC typically need the Living Network Echo if they wish to create a personal area network, threading complex forms to emulate programs (this used to be Echos), getting the machine mind echo to emulate a control rig, skin link echo to establish direct connections, etc.

edit; So your "One at a time"-option.
« Last Edit: <04-16-21/1910:31> by Xenon »

Odsh

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« Reply #3 on: <04-24-21/0454:50> »
If this hasn't changed in SR6, running silent is illegal in some places where it is even required to share your SIN publicly.
I imagine that remembering and broadcasting a SIN in that manner would quickly become tedious for a technomancer - or any other similar, repetitive task for that matter. In which case, a commlink would still be useful to them to alleviate the mental load. That being said, the CRB specifically mentions Technomancers running without any commlink, so apparently they can do all those thing effortlessly.

In any case, what exactly prevents a character from having multiple personas (living or not) at the same time?
I would say that you need to choose one for every matrix action you perform and that only one of them can be used to access the matrix in VR at a given time. Also, one could argue that only one of them can get the user's full attention at a given time and so only that persona would benefit from the user's mental attributes for defense tests.
But otherwise?
If you access the matrix in AR or even with a keyboard and old fashioned screen, I assume the persona doesn't disappear simply because you stop typing and look away from the screen. So to me the persona exists as long as the corresponding commlink is running, even if you don't actively use it. In which case, you could have multiple commlinks running a different persona and switch from one to the other to perform an action with one or the other persona.

So I'm more in favor of the "dual wielding" interpretation.

Xenon

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« Reply #4 on: <04-24-21/0513:38> »
If this hasn't changed in SR6
...
what exactly prevents a character from having multiple personas (living or not) at the same time?
SR5 was explicit that you only have one matrix persona (you can perhaps think of it as "your" single sign on internet identity that is used everywhere). SR5 was also explicit that if you wanted to run your matrix persona from another device (change the device you use to access the matrix with) you had to reboot both the current device and the new device (or living person in case of TM). That, while you could own several commlinks and cyberdecks etc you could only access the matrix via one of them at any given time.

Less clear how this is treated in SR6, but it seem as if the intention is still that you access the matrix via one of your devices (that you either get to instruct multiple drones at once by accessing the matrix via your RCC or you get sleaze and attack ratings to allow you to brute force or probe hostile networks while accessing the matrix via your cyberdeck). But that you can have multiple devices (such as a commlink, a cyberjack and a RCC) active at the same time - each supporting your personal area network with multiple sets of firewall and data processing ratings to choose from.
« Last Edit: <04-24-21/0516:37> by Xenon »

Odsh

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« Reply #5 on: <04-24-21/0547:42> »
SR5 was explicit that you only have one matrix persona (you can perhaps think of it as "your" single sign on internet identity that is used everywhere).

I have no doubt that this is indeed in the SR5 rules, but it doesn't make much sense.
What if you have two people, each with their own commlink and persona, and one of them just hands over his AR gloves and goggles to the other one. The personas just don't magically merge together because the same user is operating them.
Same when a runner wants to impersonate someone else, steals his commlink and learns about his passwords to operate it. He also wants to appear in the matrix as the guy he's impersonating - and not with his usual persona. At the same time, he could have his own commlink running silently for example (with his usual persona).

Xenon

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« Reply #6 on: <04-24-21/0625:00> »
Same when a runner wants to impersonate someone else, steals his commlink and ...
Just because you are physically in possession of my commlink does not mean you get to control my PAN or my matrix persona.

I am still the owner of my commlink, not you. My matrix persona is running from my commlink. If I take a matrix action (like Enter Host, Send Message or Invite Mark - perhaps because I am using wireless enabled AR glove or wireless enabled datajack that is connected to my wireless enabled commlink) it will be done from my matrix persona that is running on my commlink (even if my commlink is currently in your pocket).

You are still the owner of your own commlink. Your matrix persona is still running from your commlink. If you take a matrix action (like Enter Host, Send Message or Invite Mark) it will be done from your matrix persona that is running on your commlink. If you wish to run a persona on my commlink you first have to take over ownership of my commlink, reboot both your commlink and what used to be my commlink and then access the matrix via what used to be my commlink. But even then you will still be using your persona. Not mine. You just get slightly different matrix attributes. That's all.


He also wants to appear in the matrix as the guy he's impersonating
In SR5 there are two ways you can impersonate someone else's matrix persona. Physically stealing their commlink does not seem to be one of them.

Place the mark on your target and then send instructions to devices he own as if they came from their legit owner.
This is resolved with the Spoof Command action.

Place two marks on both the subject you want to impersonate and two marks on the target you wish to fool.
This is resolved with the Masquerade action.

Both require that the actual owner is on-line and in neither case do you actually become the legit owner. You can't use it to for example invite someone to place marks on devices you are not the legit owner of or withdraw cash from a bank account you are not the legit owner of.


At the same time, he could have his own commlink running silently for example (with his usual persona).
Just because this make sense to you does not mean this is the way the Matrix in SR5 are supposed to work.

If he take a matrix action (any matrix action) it will be done by his silent running persona that is based upon the commlink he used to access the matrix with.

The only way you can get someone else's matrix persona to take a matrix action is by using the Puppeteer complex form, the Control Actions spell or possible the Con, the Leadership or the Intimidation skill.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #7 on: <04-24-21/1006:11> »
Same when a runner wants to impersonate someone else, steals his commlink and learns about his passwords to operate it. He also wants to appear in the matrix as the guy he's impersonating - and not with his usual persona. At the same time, he could have his own commlink running silently for example (with his usual persona).

That's outside the boundary of what the rules allow.  And if you carry over SR5 lore about the matrix, that's flatly impossible as personas are biometrically linked to their "proper" user.  Specifically: brainwave patterns.  Unless you have physical possession of the brain of the person you're impersonating (and that brain is somehow not dead), it's a hard stop on "using someone else's persona".  If you steal someone else's commlink and then use it, the stolen commlink generates YOUR persona rather than your victim's.

This biometric pairing is also why no matter what you do, your persona is always your persona.  You can't just delete all your profiles and "rebirth" yourself anew on the Matrix.  Your persona is ALWAYS the persona that did whatever it is you did before.  If a corp figures out which persona hacked its host, it will still be able to pair you to that known persona tomorrow if given the opporunity. Your persona "individual identifiers" will remain identical a week from now.  A month from now.  Forever.  All you can change about your persona is its virtual appearance.*


*edit: of course, every absolute has exceptions.  In this case, the exception is relevant to the thread:  A technomancer can fundamentally change their persona by employing devices to generate a conventional persona, or not use any devices and alternately generate their living persona.
« Last Edit: <04-24-21/1016:37> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

MercilessMing

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« Reply #8 on: <04-24-21/1310:50> »
If you are biometrically linked to your persona and you can never change it, why do fake SINs exist?  Obviously personas are the perfect ID.  I get why the game wants one person one persona, but that rationalization stinks.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #9 on: <04-24-21/1335:57> »
If you are biometrically linked to your persona and you can never change it, why do fake SINs exist?  Obviously personas are the perfect ID.  I get why the game wants one person one persona, but that rationalization stinks.

Because your persona isn't a legal identity.  A SIN is.  Ostensibly so, in the case of a fake one.  Your matrix persona can go by whatever handle you like, you can change your persona handle however often you like.  Your persona can look like whatever you want, and change it however often you want.  But there needs to be a way for "the matrix" to tell you're still the same persona whether your handle is currently John Q. Smith or Digit@alC0wb0y69.  Handwavy "brainwave biometrics" is part of the technobabble to justify this.

SINs of course are legal names/identities.  When you apply for a loan or buy stocks, they don't care if you're John Q. Smith or Digit@alC0wb0y69.  They care what your SIN is.


If you're asking "why don't SIN verification systems just use brainscans"?  The answer is twofold:

1) because security HAS to have holes, or else you can't be successful as a professional criminal.  Some suspension of disbelief is inherently called for in heist-y games.  If security were realistic, you'd basically never get away with much.

2) SR6 didn't (or hasn't yet) reiterated the SR5 guidelines about what's entailed in a SIN verification system.  But if you go by that, only the upper levels of SIN checkers even bother with biometrics.  Think about it: do you have to give a spit swab or blood sample to buy a soykaf from Stuffer Shack?  What kinds of places are SO tightly strung that they literally check your biometrics?  It does happen, and that's where you get your rating 6 SIN verification systems, but they're not standard practice by any means.  And even in THOSE cases, maybe it's just not cost effective (for whatever technobabbly reason) to measure brainwaves rather than just taking other "fakable within the rules" biometrics such as fingerprints/DNA sample/retinal scan/voiceprint.
« Last Edit: <04-24-21/1338:35> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Xenon

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« Reply #10 on: <04-24-21/1421:32> »
Having a SIN (fake or otherwise) does not seem to be a prerequisite for accessing the matrix or owning wireless enabled devices. But having a matrix persona (accessing the matrix) seem to be a prerequisite in order to take matrix actions, send instructions to wireless enabled devices you own and to broadcast your SIN (fake or otherwise).


If a corp figures out which persona hacked its host, it will still be able to pair you to that known persona tomorrow if given the opporunity. Your persona "individual identifiers" will remain identical a week from now. 
It sure seem as if your devices somehow know who its legit owner is, even if the owner change icon or reboot their commlink a few times.

But it also seem as if hackers can only be tracked for as long as they remain online. While they are online they build up overwatch score. GOD might converge on them. People that was attacked with a data spike can take a matrix perception test to "spot the icon that just now attacked me with a data spike", even if the hacker is running silent.

Once the hacker reboot it seem as if there is no longer any evidence that it was they who hacked the host a few minutes ago. If it were then their OS would not reset and GOD would probably also automatically converge as they reconnect to the matrix. People that were hacked last week would be allowed to take a matrix perception test to "spot the same icon that hacked me last week". This does not seem to be the case.


why do fake SINs exist?
Corporations use SIN verification units to verify that you are a legit citizen.

...which a SINless person can defeat by using a fake SIN.
Fake SINs exist for SINless people that illegally wish to appear as if they are legit citizens.


To find out if you are you and if you belong a corporation typically use other security devices such as keypads, proximity RFID readers, ID badges, fingerprint scanners, palm print scanners, retinal print scanners, blood vessel pattern scanners, voice- and/or facial recognition, breath scanners, cellular scanners, DNA scanners...

...which you in return can defeat by hacking, rewiring circuits, using a sequencer, copy a legit owners card with a key card copier, forging ID badges, creating synthetic print glove-like membranes, using retinal duplication augmentations, voice recordings, voice modulators, prosthetic makeup and biosculpting or biometric samples from a legit user...


Stealing, copy, temporary borrowing or impersonating a specific individual's SIN does not seem to be supported in Shadowrun. And it doesn't seem to be needed either. If you wish to impersonate a legit citizen you just get a fake SIN. Same as stealing, copy, temporary borrowing or impersonating a specific individual's matrix persona does not seem to be supported in Shadowrun. And this does also not seem to be needed. If you wish to instruct the autopilot as if the instruction came from its legit owner then you need a mark on the owner and take the Spoof Command action from your own Persona.
« Last Edit: <04-24-21/1423:39> by Xenon »

Odsh

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« Reply #11 on: <04-24-21/1459:43> »
I didn't know about the tight coupling of the persona to biometric data (in the previous editions at least, haven't seen this in the SR6 CRB, but I guess it'll reappear somehow in a future matrix rulebook).

That requires a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me. If the matrix knows exactly who a persona belongs to at all times, GOD has a complete history of every past wrongdoing for every user. How is it even possible to make a successful career as a hacker in those conditions? Why doesn't GOD converge immediately on any known criminal as soon as they log in?

It's as if the matrix had a multiple personalities disorder. One knows your biometrics at all times and makes sure you always have the same persona. The other one tracks illegal activities and completely forgets about you each time you reboot.

I also find it hard to believe that the game provides a way to circumvent most biometric scanning devices, but somehow nobody ever managed to circumvent that "brainwave biometrics" thingy to fool the matrix. Besides, whatever device scans the brainwave patterns is I assume, well, a "device" in the sense of Shadowrun, so why isn't it possible to hack it and make it send faked biometric data? Or rewire it with a hardware test, or replace it with a different device entirely?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #12 on: <04-24-21/1605:11> »
I didn't know about the tight coupling of the persona to biometric data (in the previous editions at least, haven't seen this in the SR6 CRB, but I guess it'll reappear somehow in a future matrix rulebook).

As I said that was a 5e thing, and pretty arcane/down in the weeds at that.  It's not necessarily still true in SR6.

Quote
That requires a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me. If the matrix knows exactly who a persona belongs to at all times, GOD has a complete history of every past wrongdoing for every user. How is it even possible to make a successful career as a hacker in those conditions? Why doesn't GOD converge immediately on any known criminal as soon as they log in?

It's as if the matrix had a multiple personalities disorder. One knows your biometrics at all times and makes sure you always have the same persona. The other one tracks illegal activities and completely forgets about you each time you reboot.

"Because."

Ultimately, it's all in-universe techno-gobbledy gook.  The more details that are given, the more holes that can be poked.  I've long said the Matrix is essentially magic :D  It just works the way it works and it doesn't matter why.

Edit: Another bit of arcane 5e lore is that the matrix is all built on the souls of dead technomancers.  Logic and physics are fundamentally optional when you're discussing how the matrix works. :D

Quote
I also find it hard to believe that the game provides a way to circumvent most biometric scanning devices, but somehow nobody ever managed to circumvent that "brainwave biometrics" thingy to fool the matrix. Besides, whatever device scans the brainwave patterns is I assume, well, a "device" in the sense of Shadowrun, so why isn't it possible to hack it and make it send faked biometric data? Or rewire it with a hardware test, or replace it with a different device entirely?

To clarify what I said upthread:

I said there's no way within the rules to do this.  It doesn't necessarily mean it's impossible.  If you want your players to be able to steal or use someone else's persona, make up rules for doing so.  There just aren't any as-is.

What I'd say as a recommendation is to ensure that whatever you allow, you need to weigh how that can be used by clever players in unanticipated ways.  And reserve the right to go "wait, that was a mistake.  Never mind, you can't do that anymore."  For example, if you establish that brainwaves can be faked/mimic'd (or ignore that a persona is keyed to them in the first place) so they can use a stolen commlink to impersonate its rightful owner, you then don't want to allow a hacker to reset their OS by "taking on a new persona" without losing any hacked access levels.  In the name of game balance, that must be impossible.
« Last Edit: <04-24-21/1614:12> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Odsh

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« Reply #13 on: <04-24-21/1653:26> »
I have no issue with the matrix being "magic", but at least it should be consistent with itself.

you then don't want to allow a hacker to reset their OS by "taking on a new persona" without losing any hacked access levels.  In the name of game balance, that must be impossible.

Indeed. I always thought the OS was tied to a specific persona anyway.
The way I see it, if you don't tie the persona to biometrics and if you allow operating multiple personas simultaneously (but with separate actions for each nevertheless, like having multiple keyboards and screens to choose from), then you would have multiple OS, one for each persona running concurrently.
In VR, you would need to focus on one of those persona exclusively, without access to the others (too bad if you're link-locked).
Even if it's less severe than resetting your OS without losing hacked access levels, it's still more powerful than enforcing a single persona. But at least you need to pay for the gear supporting each persona and your cyberjack implant can only be used for one of them, which will probably be the only one you'll be using to do some serious hacking.