Shadowrun Play > Character creation and critique

SR5: Optimized Decker Help

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Hoi chummers,

I'm building a Human Decker for a challenging game where folks are all about the min-max. I don't have much experience with min-maxing or with Deckers, so I could use a lot of help. Hopefully that's where some of you knowledgeable folks come in. I've done a lot of research, but do not yet understand deckers well enough to optimally put it all together into a character on my own.

Chargen Systems Allowed: Priority & Sum To Ten

Anyone have (or willing to make) some optimized Decker examples that I can learn and copy from?

Look at some deckers here: 

I find standard build human decker is

Human D 
Attributes C 
Mundane E
Skills B
Resources A 

This build lets you get solid mental stats, have a solid 5 edge, have a skillset that covers decking and basic runner stuff, and the money for a deck/ware. 

Decker min-max advice: 

Don't blow all of your money on the best deck. This is a big pitfall in starting deckers and deckers trying to min-max. Decks mostly just set your limits. Starting deckers usually can't get dicepools high enough to justify the high limits of fancy decks (when programs/qualities can boost limits just fine for very cheap). You are better off spending that money on 'ware - cerebral boosters, Narco, Mnemonic Enhancers, Sleep Regulator, things that up your physical stats, etc. The Resources A advice is more for 'ware than for a deck.

Run Faster qualities Perfect Time and Overclocker are must-have min-max decker qualities. Together, they basically make it so your highest stat of your cyberdeck array relevant  is the only relevant one and adds +1 to it to boot. It makes it so you can be great decker just fine with one of the Device Rating 2 decks (costing ~90k-130k). 

I would still recommend being physically competent. There are hosts that are tough to hack unless you can get a direct connection to a slaved device, meaning you are going to have to get your meat body someplace dangerous. Also, there are times (like in a physical fight), where decking is often impractical and clunky. Ex. A cyberarm and a pistol or muscle augmentation and an SMG on fulll auto can go a long way.   

For better or worse, most GMs I encounter seem to allow constant teamworking with agents with little drawback. Make sure you buy an R4 agent at chargen. It basically ends on average giving you +2-3 dice on all computer/hacking rolls and a +1 teamwork limit on the test. I don't particularly like this... but hey, you are min-maxing so take advantage! 

Take advantage of Psyche and Narco. Deckers already have high Logic and Willpower, so their psychological addiction resistance is strong. Get Nephritic screens or the Drug Tolerant quality if you are nervous. +2 to Intuition and Psyche for many hours is worth 200 nuyen a pop when hacking. I would also like take cram instead of wasting essence/nuyen on Reaction boosting 'ware. Min-maxed deckers are min-maxed for VR. Cram is something you can take ahead of time on a run and keep the benefits for a long time, and get an easy +2 Reaction and +1d6 physical initiative. It's much more efficient than 'ware for physical competency boosts for high logic/willpower characters, and you'll appreciate the benefits whenever you have to deal with physical threats. 

All of this advice is very much appreciated. Thank you.

I've looked on Runnerhub. Every decker I've found is either trying to fill multiple roles or is gimmicky or just very obviously bad at decking. If you know any specific examples then perhaps you could point them out to me. I've scoured google for advice and good builds and only have found scattered bits and peaces, which is hard for me to piece together as a player who is inexperienced with the decker. I've been learning a lot though.

I've messed around with the Attributes C route, but I'm not sure how people achieve basic social competency, the ability to sneak, having a body of 3, and not getting riddled full of holes for having drek reaction. Clue me in please?

Cheap deck. Got it. Any suggestions for starting decks and setups?

I read where someone was saying that Codeslinger (hack on the fly) and Quick Config where good as well. Are they less essential? I know that I could take all four for the full 25. Worth it? Also they said to take Curiousity Killed The Cat as a negative because it offers a bonus. It seems sketchy, so I wouldn't mind a second opinion on that negative quality. Also, are there any other negative qualities that you'd recommend? Addictions maybe, since i'd end up with them anyway if going the drug-enhanced decker route?

So by physically competent you mostly mean a good agility for sneaking and shooting?

I'll try going the drug route. Nuyen is tight even at priority A. Cuts down on ware costs.

First, you have given too little information on what you really want. You say an "optimized" decker. Optimized for what? In SR there isn't one optimized build, there are 50 or more, depending on character style. The van decker doesn't need Agility or Charisma. The decker who wants to sneak and shoot does. Every character benefits on having social skills. Problem is you can't do all things equally well. Something has got to be sacrificed.

To optimize the decking part, Logic and Intuition should be high and the Cracking and Electronic skill groups high. The two most important skills are Computer and Hacking. An optimized decker should have at least Logic 8 (10 with narco and Psyche). It's possible to reach Logic 12 with Psyche. (Even 13 but then we are maybe sacrificing too much in other places). Intuition absolutely not lower than 5. Nearly half of Matrix actions rely on Intuition. Intuition is also half of Initiative and used for defense, knowledge skills, Perception and more.

The simplest way to be able to boost combat capabilities as a decker is to get a cyberarm. It will not help with sneaking, but as said earlier, you can't have everything. Other ways are augmentations like Muscle Replacemnt/Muscle Toner with drugs and/or wired reflexes or buying drones with guns. There are lots of options.

The most important social skill is Etiquette with second place going to Con. If I have priority C on skills, my skill group points nearly always go to the Influence group.

Back to decking. Matrix combat is something the common decker avoids. Time to jack out. IC is meaningless to fight as they simply spawn every turn. Many deckers skip Cybercombat totally. Others find it very useful to be able to brick equipment like weapons. Again up to character style. There is no "clearly better optimized choice".

FST_Gemstar advocates a "cheap" deck. I don't. My favorites are the Microtronica Azteca 300 (wants the Perfect Time/Quick Config combo) or the Renaku Tsurugi, both rating 3. The problem with decks are that they are so expensive that if you don't go for a decent deck at chargen, you will probably don't ever get a better deck. You are much more likely to save up to bioware like Cerebral or Cerebellum Boosters. That said, going for a rating 4 deck at chargen is to sacrifice too much for too little gain. With 10 Logic, 6+spec hacking and an Agent to help, dice pools easily gets too high for a cheap deck IMO.

Good luck!


--- Quote from: drakir on --- It's possible to reach Logic 12 with Psyche. (Even 13 but then we are maybe sacrificing too much in other places).

--- End quote ---

Sure... If you conveniently forget that nothing can raise your attributes at more than +4 their normal values. It's not +4 for wares and another +4 for drugs, and whatever else. It's +4 total. So if you're human, you can only raise your stats to 10 (11 with Exceptional Attribute), nothing more and never more.


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