Shadowrun Play => Gamemasters' Lounge => Topic started by: Odsh on <01-25-21/0641:51>

Title: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Odsh on <01-25-21/0641:51>
I don't know if I need to do this in this part of the forums, but be forewarned that there are heavy "spoilers" ahead.

I'm about to resume an old Shadowrun campaign after a few years of hiatus. We finished the Renraku Arcology Shutdown arc and now I'd like to follow-up with the events leading to the Matrix crash 2.0.

I'd like the players to have a minimum grasp of the ins and outs to be able to understand what's going on. For example, when Megaera and Deus ultimately duke it out in the stock exchange servers and Mirage joins the fight, it would be kind of sad if they didn't realize this.

Specifically for Mirage, I remember reading (from somewhere?) that AI's have sometimes their "own" Otaku, like Deus had the Whites, and that Mirage is no exception. Since one of my players will be playing an Otaku character, I was thinking about making him an Otaku "belonging" to Mirage. I'm not very knowledgeable about this relationship between Otaku and AI's and am thus looking for counsel.
I'm not even sure if that would be a good idea at all. Maybe knowing about Mirage in the first place is way above a Shadowrunner's paygrade. Or maybe it doesn't make sense for such an Otaku to be a Shadowrunner.

Could someone please point me towards a book with relevant lore concerning the AI/Otaku relationship in general, if it even exists?
What is the nature of this relationship? What does the AI request from the Otaku? What can the Otaku ask to the AI? How do they communicate? How many other Otakus are there that are in the same situation? Do they know each other?

If someone would be so kind as to give some guidance, that would be much appreciated.

For what it's worth: we'll be playing with the sixth edition rules. Mechanically speaking, the Otaku will use the rules for the Technomancer.
Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Reaver on <01-25-21/1103:37>
Wow, been a while since I went down this rabbit hole...
Books you'll want to read: Vurtual Realities 2.0 (3e matrix sourcebook) had a lot of game info on otaku.
SOTA 2064/system failure  (last 2 books of 3e) has the conclusion to the otaku. (Spoiler, its not pretty).

Between those 2 books are a bunch of scattered references to otaku, but I can't remember anything of substance on otaku...

If you remember the arcology adventure, then you know about the AI code fragments of Deus in the Arcology victims..... (technomancer tie in?)

From what I remember (and its been a while). Pax was the only otaku working with an AI.... this was because as Pax aged, she was losing her Otaku abilities (otaku were all young.... early 20s at the oldest, and otaku lose their 'gifts' the closer they get to full adulthood).

This was part of the whole Resonance/Disonance matrix realms meta-plot... (you know, that place technos go when they submerge? Same place).

IF i remember correctly, almost ALL the otaku were wiped out by Winternight, just before they released their Virus. This was part of Pax's mad plan to control Submersion, and hold onto her Otaku abilities... (she thought her gifts came from ths Disonance, and that other otaku were stealing her gifts. IF they were dead, then they could no longer steal her 'power'. As for Winternight, they saw the otaku as a literal symbol of everything wrong with society (Tech is bad, Matrix is bad, people corrupted by tech  yadda yadda yadda) so they happily did the deed (or paid for the deed to be done in some cases).

Anyways  that should get you started...

Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Xenon on <01-25-21/1116:23>
Events leading up to Crash 2.0 (November 2nd, 2064) are explained in SR3 -- Brainscan, Emergence, Renraku Arcology Shutdown and System Failure. From the after match you have some bits and pieces in both Storm Front (SR4) and Lockdown (SR5).

Specifically for Mirage, I remember reading (from somewhere?) that IA's have sometimes their "own" Otaku, like Deus had the Whites, and that Mirage is no exception. Since one of my players will be playing an Otaku character, I was thinking about making him an Otaku "belonging" to Mirage. I'm not very knowledgeable about this relationship between Otaku and IA's and am thus looking for counsel.
IIRC the only two AI's that created their own Otaku used to be Mirage and Deus.

Mirage was linked to the whole Echo Mirage program which also got a revive again in 2060 leading up to the events that caused the Seattle Regional grid to go down for 11 minutes (there is a novel called Psycho... -something that describes this). For some reason Mirage created Otaku didn't suffer Fading (loss of their Otaku ability as they grew older).

In the final events leading up to the point where Deus could break free from the Arcology (with help of Otaku he got influence over by pretending to be the Deep Resonance which many Otaku worshipped fanatically) he did some nasty experiments on metahumans which resulted in loss of a lot of lives but also the the creation of his own army of Otaku.

It is Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short (not IA).
Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Odsh on <01-25-21/1214:10>
Thanks for your responses. Time to dig out Virtual Realities 2.0 and SOTA 2064 then!

For some reason Mirage created Otaku didn't suffer Fading (loss of their Otaku ability as they grew older).

That's quite handy actually, a perfect explanation for the PC continuing as a Technomancer after the crash.

It is Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short (not IA).

Veuillez m'excuser, je pensais aux Intelligences Artificielles  ;)
Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Xenon on <01-25-21/1354:14>
That's quite handy actually, a perfect explanation for the PC continuing as a Technomancer after the crash.
From SR4 20A  p. 221 Technomancers
It took several years for the new rumors and reports to cohere, but undoubtedly something was different. A new generation of otaku had come into being—only this time they were no longer just children. Most of the young otaku that survived the Crash had also undergone a transformation, and they found that their powers no longer faded with age. This new breed renamed themselves technomancers, specialists in manipulating the Matrix with nothing more than their minds.

Veuillez m'excuser, je pensais aux Intelligences Artificielles  ;)
Fair enough :-)

Reminds me about the whole UTC debate.

Coordinated Universal Time CUT + Temps Universel Coordonné TUC = UTC
Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Wakshaani on <01-25-21/2337:07>
*observing quietly*
Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Odsh on <01-26-21/0657:52>
After some digging, it appears that the novel "Psychotrope" is all about Mirage's awakening and its very first Otakus. I'm reading it now and will probably highly recommend my players to read it too - especially the one playing Mirage's Otaku.

Apart from that, the campaign and adventures are starting to coalesce in my mind. Some ideas thus far...

Jormungand worm: the Jormungand eggs are prepared in advance at certain key place in the matrix. An egg has been discovered by GOD (or equivalent for 2064?). The infected hardware is brought to a specialized facility to asses the threat. The facility is completely cut-off from the matrix to avoid anything bad from escaping.
Pax enlists the runner (meeting with the Johnson in the matrix) to infiltrate the facility and insert a specific chip she has prepared in advance directly in the aforementioned hardware (chip will be delivered separately by one of Pax's Otakus once the runners accept the job). The payload of this chip, unbeknownst to the runners, is meant to do two things. First, it will release Jormungand, or at least an enfeebled version of it. Pax's intention is to completely wipe out all data compiled thus far on the egg from the facility to not leave any trace regarding its nature. Secondly, it will delete the virus itself - for the same reason (this should not be something simple to do, but one can imagine that the enfeebled version is purposely released with a limited lifetime instead).
The Otaku of the group will probably want to inspect the chip beforehand, but will only learn that it is meant to enable "something" and then delete any traces from this "something". Nothing big enough to back off from the run anyway.
When he activates the chip, I plan something seemly impossible to happen: Mirage will address the Otaku directly, even though he should be cut off from the matrix. I'll not give any justification for this as I don't mind an AI like Mirage to have its secrets that mere mortals cannot begin to understand. Anyway, Mirage will be direct and very clear: "Disconnect yourself, now!". I'll be very clear to the Otaku that Mirage is not joking - at all (I need to read more on this, but at least in previous editions a Technomancer was able to do that).
At that point, Jormungand "Junior" is released in the facility and all hell breaks loose. Lights go out, emergency power supplies are activated. Maybe the runners' commlinks will sizzle and fry, bricked by the worm. All corporate deckers that were currently investigating the egg in VR die. The Otaku, thanks to Mirage's forewarning, escapes this gruesome fate. Even if he's usually very comfortable in the Matrix, he will suddenly find himself in what seems to be a very alien and threatening territory, with the impression that something is lurking and waiting for him in the shadows. Jormungand Junior is no more there, but the facility's host is nevertheless heavily corrupted by the Dissonance. Even the other runners will understand that something bad is going on just by seeing his terrified face.
The run ends with the escape from the facility. Corporate forces will want to contain everything and everyone until they can make sense of what happened, so this should be the point where a direct confrontation is probably unavoidable, even if the face and hacker did a good job of infiltrating the facility discretely up to then.

The network: someone - maybe Overwatch - will want the runners to exfiltrate a node loyal to Megaera. At that point, the Johnson doesn't know about the network yet, but has suspicions about the Megaera node (to clarify). Deus is aware of that node's condition and keeps a close eye on it, without having decided to eliminate it yet. All the target's colleagues are in fact Deus nodes. When the runners attempt the exfiltration, seemingly harmless corpo salves will suddenly be taken over by Deus and become a highly dangerous and well coordinated opposition (thanks to the skillwires every node has) that will try to prevent the Megaera node from escaping Deus' grasp. I picture the scene in my head: harmless scientists suddenly all staring at the runners and threatening them: "Insignificant insects, how do you dare oppose me", or something along those lines. With one node starting a phrase and another one finishing it. All the while moving to surround the runners like predators about to dive in on their prey. Anything that will make the players freak out.
Should end with an escape where Deus wreaks havoc in the matrix and tries to stop the runners by any means. Hacking gridnav to send their vehicle at the wrong place, etc. In the end, Deus, will kill the Megaera node with lethal biofeedback. The node's last words should give the runners a hint as to its nature (they should remember Megaera's "naive" and/or damaged condition and very distinctive way of expressing herself).

Winternight: Not sure how yet, but I plan for the runners to discover one of the nuclear warheads they have prepared. I believe the players are mature enough to not try to set the bomb off "for the fun" and see how the GM struggles after that.
Title: Re: System Failure, Otaku & Mirage
Post by: Odsh on <02-09-21/1834:21>
According to (emphasis mine):

Its history begins with the Crash Virus of 2029 and Echo Mirage, as a cutting edge computer program developed by the US (back when it was still the United States) military. It acted as a powerful anti-virus and psychological countermeasure program that was designed to prevent the Crash Virus from damaging the minds of the Echo Mirage team. Its sophisticated programming combined with its intimate connection with so many vulnerable minds spurred it to sentience, but this quality was somehow overlooked after Echo Mirage was done with its task.

I just finished reading the Psychotrope novel and that's not exactly what is described in the book: Psychotrope (or Mirage) was primarily created to "protect the Echo Mirage members from the psychoses induced by the overwhelming sensory signals generated by the early cyberterminals". So it seems the cyberterminal technology in itself was already dangerous, not specifically the crash virus.

After the Crash Virus was completely removed, Mirage's code was decommissioned, and it lay dormant in an old UCAS military server, the physical assets of which were bought out by Fuchi (through the purchase of Matrix Systems by Richard Villiers). During this time, it made contact with a young group of otaku and reached out to them in a similar manner to the way it connected with the deckers of Echo Mirage. When Fuchi ceased to exist in 2060, Mirage took that to mean that the Virus had won by destroying its "home" grid. This activated latent programming that caused Mirage to believe that it must shutdown the grid (to destroy the "Virus" once and for all), causing the Seattle RTG to shutdown for 11 minutes on March 19, 2060. During this time (detailed in the novel "Psychotrope"), the AI found the value of metahuman life and was able to restore the grid. This left Mirage with much to contemplate, and a new group of otaku to "raise".

That's also not correct. On the one hand, Psychotrope had been conditioned to be loyal to Fuchi. And on the other hand, it had been known to create Otaku.
Like others, Richard Villiers wanted to pierce the secret of the Otaku. But because Psychotrope wasn't very cooperative with him because he left Fuchi to create Novatech, Villiers decided to eliminate the AI with a virus by exploiting an ancient trapdoor, to avoid others like Fuchi to beat him on the "Otaku race". It's this virus that nearly caused Psychotrope to commit suicide in the novel and take all deckers "trapped" online in its "pocket universe" with it. I don't remember reading that it shut down the grid because it thought it was fighting the original crash virus.

So either the information on the wiki is incorrect, or the novel contradicts some other sources.