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Does a Technomancer need the Cracking Skill in 6E?

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wadsworthpu

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« on: <07-23-21/2304:53> »
RAW does a Technomancer need to spend skill points on Cracking, Tasking, and Electronics?  Reading through the 6E rules and inspired by the Advanced Matrix rules from 5E, I'm trying to theory craft myself through the options of different TM builds. My goal is to get the variety of builds within TM that Shaman/Mages have and ensure the TM plays differently than a typical Decker. One of those builds is intended to be a complex form sorcerer.  (No tasking/sprites, No "illegal" matrix actions).  Meet M3RLIN, the complex form slinging matrix specialist.  Can MERLIN conduct a simple data grab without an illegal matrix action; just using complex forms?

Example to test the theory...a simple data grab.
Using the basic Host Structure (Core pg186), M3RLIN starts in the Matrix with Outside Access to HOST A. Unfortunately, the data is in in the Office Host and nested behind A. So M3RLIN is stuck.  He can't see the Office Host and he can't "enter" Host A without cracking (e.g. Brute/Backdoor/Probe) actions.  (I assume there is no way for Puppeteer or Resonance Veil to give yourself user/admin access).  This means M3RLIN needs a physical back door to the Office Host (e.g. Workers Desktop PC inside the building).  With device access (such as Wireless Data Tap or Skinlink to a Office PC), M3RLIN would have Outsider Access to the Office Host.  He now needs to find and then access the file.  If it was "unprotected", it would be a simple Matrix Search / Matrix Perception then Editor CF to copy.  However, if the TM is looking for the file it is likely protected.  So, M3RLIN will have to use Hash Check to find it.  Bad News this is illegal. Good news, it uses Electronics versus Cracking.  So, M3RLIN now has an Overwatch score, but hasn't had to use the Crack Skill.  Now M3RLIN uses his Editor CF and copies/clones/resonance cheats the file. With the file "in hand", he uses Cleaner CF to remove the Overwatch as he walks away. Now that feels very TM-like per the fluff, but none of that was opposed.  The key is getting a team to get you to the device (which is crux of a Shadowrun data grab for the majority of the team).   

What RAW am I missing? If this mostly works, then you can add in a puppeteer and a resonance veil to "disrupt" some devices during combat.  This could be a subtle & useful matrix character without requiring the Cracking Skill or the Tasking Skill. This would open up a lot more karma/priority for TM build diversity.

Xenon

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« Reply #1 on: <07-24-21/0538:41> »
If you are the team's only matrix expert then I think you will limit yourself by not picking up cracking.

Technomancers are also in a really good position in this edition.

But can it be done? Sure...

Xenon

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« Reply #2 on: <07-24-21/1023:37> »
Tasking cannot be defaulted to.

Tasking is used for Sprites. Compiling them. Registering them. Recompiling them.

Deckers don't have access to sprites and they do just fine, but this mean you no longer have access to sprite powers such as Camouflage, Cookie, Diagnostics, Electron Storm, Hash, Override, Phantom, Stability, Suppression, Trap and Watermark...... :-(



Same as Tasking, Cracking cannot be defaulted to.

Cracking is used for Crack File and Disarm data bomb. Which mean that without Cracking (and without Tasking) you don't have any method of removing the file protection nor disarming data bombs (to be honest, this is probably a show-stopper).

Cracking is used for Data spike, Tar Pit, Crash Program as well as Resonance Spike. Which mean that without Cracking (and without Tasking) you don't have any method of bricking devices or programs or generally causing matrix damage.

Cracking is used for Snoop. Which mean that without Cracking (and without Tasking) you don't have a way to eavesdrop on communications or snoop on live camera feeds.

Cracking is used for gaining access on networks (either via Brute Force or Probe + Backdoor Entry). This mean you can't take several Electronic actions (such as Format Device, Reboot Device, Trace Icon, Jump Into Rigged Device, ...)

Cracking is also used for random actions like the Hide action and the Jam signals action, but they are not really that important I guess.




Having said that, there are also a few actions you can sort of still emulate;

An alternative to Check Overwatch Score action would be to learn and use the Emulate (Baby Monitor) complex form.

An alternative to Spoof Command (and to some extent Control Device) would be to learn and use the Puppeteer complex form (if the device is on the inside of a non-public host then you also probably need to first establish a direct connection to the device).

An alternative to Edit File action would be to learn and use the Editor complex form (but I don't think there is a way to establish a direct connection to a file that is on the inside of non-public host and I also don't think it let you bypass data bombs or edit files that are still encrypted).



Overall I would suggest against skipping both Tasking and Cracking. At least if you are the only Matrix Specialist of the party.

wadsworthpu

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« Reply #3 on: <07-24-21/1928:05> »
 I'm very biased on the use of Editor Complex Form. I think Editor CF should bypass Data Bombs. If not, then I agree it is a show stopper. Using emulator (Edit) and the standard edit file action is using the matrix vs using resonance.   Similarly, outsider access is critical as there is no way to gain user/admin access without cracking.

My hope is that future supplements and editions will continue to clarify and separate the mechanics of the Matrix. There should be a way to attain the matrix results with different approaches.  Similar to Close Combat, Firearms, and Exotic Weapons for physical combat and Shamans with Spirits vs Mages with Spells for magical effects.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #4 on: <07-24-21/2118:02> »
I'm very biased on the use of Editor Complex Form. I think Editor CF should bypass Data Bombs. If not, then I agree it is a show stopper. Using emulator (Edit) and the standard edit file action is using the matrix vs using resonance.   Similarly, outsider access is critical as there is no way to gain user/admin access without cracking.

My hope is that future supplements and editions will continue to clarify and separate the mechanics of the Matrix. There should be a way to attain the matrix results with different approaches.  Similar to Close Combat, Firearms, and Exotic Weapons for physical combat and Shamans with Spirits vs Mages with Spells for magical effects.

Editor doesn't say it ignores Data Bombs.  Heck, it doesn't even say it ignores file protection of the mundane sort that requires the Crack File matrix action (pg. 180).

Editor only says it does one thing: allows you to ignore any prerequisite access when executing the Edit File matrix action (pg. 181).
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.

Hobbes

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« Reply #5 on: <07-25-21/1726:24> »
IMO skipping Tasking and Cracking is going to be too limiting.  There are times when a Cracking action is the thing to do, either the TM or the Sprite.   

Play style you can certainly consider them a "Back up" option.  And I'm really not sure what Skills a Matrix character is taking in place of Cracking or Tasking that is "better". 

And, to SSDR's point, the Editor CF changed a bit between 5th and 6th.  5th Edition Net hits let you do the same thing as net hits on the Edit File action.  6th Edition explicitly states you take the Edit File action.  5th Edition I can make the argument to ignore File Protection and Data bombs.  I don't see the argument in 6th. 

wadsworthpu

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« Reply #6 on: <07-25-21/2010:00> »
Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the responses.  Good point on the different wording between 5E and 6E.  With the interpretation of Editor CF not bypassing encryption or data bombs, is it worth doing? It looks like you would need User/Admin to use both Disarm Data Bomb and Crack File.  Which implies you would need to Hack before disarming or editing anyway. What is the advantage of Editor CF vs Edit File?  Why spend the karma to learn the CF and why soak the Fade Value?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #7 on: <07-26-21/0145:28> »
Lots of hosts allow outsiders to enter.  Really, anything that conducts business with the public is rather likely to permit outsiders to enter their hosts.  Of course any files and devices not intended to be used by customers will require user or admin access, but with the Editor CF it's too late.  You already let the TM in.  Off the top of my head, a pretty common application would be interacting with a bouncer in front of an exclusive night club.  Of course anyone can enter the club's host.  The "List" will be a private file, but with Editor CF the TM can probably just put their team on the List without having to hack the host.

Yes, the more advanced matrix security defenses of encryption and data bombs will stymie the Editor CF... but that goes to GMing.  Will every important file be encrypted or have a data bomb?  Probably not, in all likelihood.  Just like there will rather often be Paul Blart Rent-a-Cops on security patrol, rather than every security guard being a Red Samurai.
« Last Edit: <07-26-21/0147:58> 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, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Xenon

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« Reply #8 on: <07-26-21/0150:32> »
What is the advantage of Editor CF vs Edit File? 
It let you change, copy or delete files that can be read, viewed or listen to located on personal area networks, in public hosts, on stand alone devices, on the public side of protected hosts or on devices hidden inside a protected host (if you have a direct connection) - without a need of first illegally probing or brute forcing to gain proper access levels.
« Last Edit: <07-26-21/0228:16> by Xenon »

Banshee

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« Reply #9 on: <07-26-21/1122:05> »
As SSDR and Xenon have both said... do you NEED cracking, no. Should you probably invest in it anyway, yes.
CFs and Sprites can go a long way but there are still plenty of options still available to a TM with the right skills since they are still Hackers and can do everything a Decker can do ... just without a deck.

As for Editor CF ..  all it does is allow you to do the same things the Exit File action does but without requiring the same level of access on it. Sometimes that means a lot other times not so much. As long as you can get to the file ... ie accessing the network or direct connection it doesn't matter what access restriction is on the file itself.
Robert "Banshee" Volbrecht
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funkytim

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« Reply #10 on: <07-28-21/0254:40> »
I had this same question.  We encountered a data bomb and I was wondering what a TM would do to disarm it.  I didn't see any CFs that describe that action and the archetype in the book does not have the cracking skill.  I guess if was the TM from the book he would have to compile a sprite to disarm it because most of them have cracking skill. 

Also, just as a comment on the original post, don't you need tasking to use complex forms?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #11 on: <07-28-21/1040:50> »
Yes, the technomancer archetype should have had Cracking skill.  It's slated to be fixed soon!
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.

MercilessMing

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« Reply #12 on: <07-28-21/1138:12> »
Also, just as a comment on the original post, don't you need tasking to use complex forms?
Nope.  Each complex form tells you what is the roll.  90% of them are Electronics + Resonance tests.