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Why does Noise exist?

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Leith

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« on: <02-19-21/1417:18> »
Not, like, what is noise? I get that. Kinda. What I'm wondering about is really why do people care whether or not the rigger and decker can stay home. In my experience they're just as safe in the van out back or the coffee shop across the street as they are in their dingy apartment. Biofeedback exists, traces exist. That alone should be enough to make hacking and rigging risky and not something you want to do from the comfort of your living room. So why do people care about this?

The reason I ask is because I was thinking of house ruling distance based Noise as a factor in connecting to the matrix or as a direct wireless connection and not having to worry about it most of the time. This made more sense to me, from a verisimilitude POV and it's just easier to manage as a GM. Not to mention there are a plethora of Noise cancelling options in both SR5 and SR6 so, meh. I guess I'm saying it doesn't make a big difference to me either way, but the specific issue of the hacker/rigger staying home seems to bug others and I would like to know why.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <02-19-21/1430:07> »
A big and long-lasting problem in Shadowrun is the amount of spotlight-hogging that the hacking aspect of shadowrun eats up.  The "decker in a van" trope isn't a healthy one- it encourages the GM and hacker to focus solely on each other while everyone else goes and gets a pizza.  Not fun for everyone else, and not healthy for long-term player dynamics.

The chosen fix for "decker is up, let's go get a pizza" has been (at least in part) minimizing the amount of spotlight starvation everyone else is subjected to during a hack.  If you have to physically get the hacker inside the corp compound, just like everyone else has to do anyway, it keeps the spotlight from being focused as much on the decker during the matrix scenes.  Yes, yes, streamlining the rules and resolving hacks faster is ALSO a goal, but the easiest thing to do in the spotlight-sharing arena is to essentially force the decker to join the rest of the team during the infiltration.

In my own view, you're begging for a toxic problem if you allow the decker to just hang back in the van.  Sure, maybe a group and GM are skilled at sharing the spotlight, but it doesn't avert my issue: allowing 1 archetype to avoid the risks of physical infiltration invites lots of others to also hang back and leave the physical risks to the chumps who don't have that option.  Once the decker doesn't have to go, obviously neither does the rigger.  And soon the mages won't be going either, they'll just astrally project.  Allowing "people who have to go in" and "people who don't have to go in" sets up an upper and lower "class" system.  Tiers of archetypes, in other words.  You begin with having the upper class be more attractive to players because they're physically safer to play, so you end up having fewer of the lower class characters.  And then once you have that, you have the mages naturally just summoning spirits to materialize and perform the lower class functions.  And.. boom. Now you no longer need samurai and covert ops characters whatsoever.  And once you have spirits doing all the physical world functions, you certainly don't need drones, and there goes your need for a rigger. You've gone full MagicRun.
« Last Edit: <02-19-21/1505:38> 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.

Sphinx

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« Reply #2 on: <02-19-21/1534:17> »
The in-universe reason: The fabric of the Matrix is created by transceivers, processors, memory, and sensors embedded in practically everything manufactured for the previous two decades — not just electronics, but ordinary objects from running shoes to wallboards — all woven together in a fantastically complex mesh network. Legitimate traffic travels smoothly through the Matrix, but illicit activity does not. Hackers need to attack devices directly, so they have to be close to their targets to cut through the interference generated by millions of wireless signals (Noise).

The meta reason: What SSDR just said. It's less fun when hackers can stay home in their basements, or even outside in the van.

Xenon

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« Reply #3 on: <02-19-21/1554:16> »
it is there as a mechanic to encourage you to bring the hacker with you

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #4 on: <02-19-21/1703:30> »
it is there as a mechanic to encourage you to bring the hacker with you

OP was asking why is Noise even addressing the problem in the first place :)


Also: 6e in particular brought back nested host architecture for the same reason:  a hard-core matrix DMZ may make it very, very hard to hack in remotely... so you're incentivized to get behind it by gaining physical access to the network on-site.  We don't have 1e/2e style matrix dungeon crawls.. but we get this particular upside without all the added minutae :)
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 #5 on: <02-19-21/1728:38> »
Split team (extreme range snipers, van drone operators, remote projecting magicians, apartment hackers etc etc) is typically less fun and typically harder to successfully GM and successfully challenge than when the whole team is gathered. Not saying it can't be done (because it can), but it typically require that you have both experienced GM and player to make it work.

If you have no issue with it then just skip the whole noise mechanic. One less thing to keep track of :)

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #6 on: <02-20-21/1540:46> »
The hacker staying home never disrupted my games, it apparently disrupted others. If you don't think it will be a detriment to yours, ignore it. It does not make much sense in the setting anyways. Personally I'd probably ditch it but make the difference in difficulty from hacking from the outside vs the inside from a seemingly trusted device significant. As if you are directly plugging in from a terminal or whatever you would be bypassing some of the higher levels of security. I'd probably just use noise for some kind of exploit around that where the infiltrator plugs in directly while the hacker is on their couch, so they don't have the best of both worlds.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #7 on: <02-20-21/1544:58> »
Of possible interest: Street Wyrd recently came out... for those who might not follow 6e it's the magic book.  What might be interesting is background counts for 6e don't work like Noise (or like BGCs did in 5e)... instead of -dice it's +/- Edge.

If magic Noise can get away with being an edge modifier, matrix Noise certainly can too.
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.

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #8 on: <02-20-21/1743:31> »
Yeah, that is kind of how I prefer background count working, and it should work for noise as well.  It should add challenges to highlight a character not to try and knock them back into line.  Of course that is based on the assumption magic is balanced.

Leith

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« Reply #9 on: <02-21-21/0006:10> »
Yeah, splitting the party can be hard. It happens a lot in SR. Runner teams have vastly different skills so they often come up with plans to split up.

Tiered hosts make sense, as did the direct connection rules in SR5. But Noise doesn't work for this goal. Unless everyone has area jammers and anti wifi paint all over or everthing that needs hacking is hardwired. Even direct connection is circumnavigated with a data tap.

Also, even if the havker had to jack in on site and the team had to protect them while they did the deed, that doesn't mean that the characters are in the same place. The hacker is in the matrix and the team are in the meat world. And hiding in a van doesn't make the hacker safe. Traces, spiders and IC exist.

If the goal is to keep the team together, I get that, but it ain't working. If the goal is to make the hacker less safe, same problem and also redundant.

Xenon

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« Reply #10 on: <02-21-21/0401:48> »
Also, even if the havker had to jack in on site and the team had to protect them while they did the deed, that doesn't mean that the characters are in the same place. The hacker is in the matrix and the team are in the meat world.
Which is why they introduced AR hacking. Now you can physically join the team on site. Help shooting guards. While hacking that maglock to open up for the teams exfil. Everyone are engaged. Everyone are at the same physical location.

Drawbacks of hacking through wireless negating paint and from remote locations as well as advantages of hacking via direct connections all help out to promote AR hacking, without completely shutting down remote hacking. They are incentives, not hard barriers.


Of possible interest: Street Wyrd recently came out... for those who might not follow 6e it's the magic book.  What might be interesting is background counts for 6e don't work like Noise (or like BGCs did in 5e)... instead of -dice it's +/- Edge.

If magic Noise can get away with being an edge modifier, matrix Noise certainly can too.
Interesting...!

Yeah, I can for sure see that you get tactical advantage hacking networks you have a direct line of sight to.

And that you are at a tactical disadvantage if you are more than say.... 1 km(?) away from the nearest access point of the network you are hacking, if you are exposed to a jammer, in a spam zone or a static zone while hacking, if you are attempting to hack something from the outside of a facility protected by wireless negating paint or wallpaper, etc.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #11 on: <02-21-21/0518:44> »
Of possible interest: Street Wyrd recently came out... for those who might not follow 6e it's the magic book.  What might be interesting is background counts for 6e don't work like Noise (or like BGCs did in 5e)... instead of -dice it's +/- Edge.

If magic Noise can get away with being an edge modifier, matrix Noise certainly can too.
I mean, it could, but it'd be too little impact for some. Besides, I actually dislike the implementation of said magic Noise, it has too little impact in many situations.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

Leith

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« Reply #12 on: <02-21-21/0644:20> »
Jammers and such are not universal. They exist where the GM says they do. Distance is a fact of life. Besides, there are many reasons to split the party, I can't think of another that has game mechanics to incentivise against it. That is, omnipresent mechanics that apply in every situation. It's wierd.

Actually the wirelessness kinda created part of it's own problem here. If all the hacker could do through the matrix was gather intel then they would have to go with the rest of the team to deal with doors and cameras. But since everything is wireless, they can stay home or whatever. But if a GM wanted to engineer that situation they still could....

The hacking ranges actually break down into 5 categories, like mana ebb. Direct connection or100m or less, no penaly; 101-1000m, -1 die; 1-10km, edge cost +1; 10-100km, no edge spending; 101+km no connection w/o sat uplink.
Then you just gotta do jammers and stuff.
« Last Edit: <02-21-21/0655:45> by Leith »

CanRay

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« Reply #13 on: <02-21-21/1344:07> »
Also remember there are two types of Noise:  Silence and Spam.

Silence is No Signal, and is in wilderness areas like the forest, desert, and barrens.  If you spark up any kind of wireless signals, and someone is watching for them for whatever reason, you'll be pinpointed in no time.

Spam is Too Much Signal, and the bandwidth is kinked horribly by too much of, well, Spam.  If you slam on your jammer in these areas, you're going to get noticed, and probably hated as the Spam part of this zone probably has the highest Signal rating to cut through anything.  These are urban centres, corporate lobbies, highways with lots of traffic jams...
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