Shadowrun

Shadowrun General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Seras on (17:41:52/01-18-19)

Title: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Seras on (17:41:52/01-18-19)
Hi guys  :)

Having played shadowrun for a while now I have discovered a sort of prioritiy for players.

1. Magic, lots of it and Adepts

2. Guns and maybe some ware

The matrix is mentioned a lot in the backround, but it is hardly ever incorporated into play.

Is this just me or is the matrix heavily underepresented in games ?

Thanks for your input.

Seras
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Nebulous on (19:15:08/01-18-19)
Basically in all the games I've played and gm'd, the Matrix has been so little used that it is an after thought.  I wish I would use it more, but. . . .
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: wraith on (19:41:00/01-18-19)
Generally it gets used very rarely in my games because most of my players are not new to the game, and don't find the rules for the Matrix enjoyable or very effective.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (20:42:08/01-18-19)
Of all the games I play and GM'd, I've had an actual matrix based character maybe a half dozen times.
Some of this is because the matrix 'flow' is rather jarring when trying to mix matrux/physical actions. (It's miles better then where it began! But still needs work..)
But generally, i find the 'matrix' based characrers only appeal to a certain player type, and more just prefer 'Flash and Bang' style of play.


However, many groups also recgognize that the matrix is an integral part of the setting (even if they don't want to play the role), so I usually through an NPC matrix character into groups that don't have one to deal with the 'Matrix required fluff' to move the flow forward.
.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (09:57:53/01-19-19)
Depends on what you mean by "use". The group I'm in is in the middle of our third run, and in each run so far we've used matrix searches to find out important information. Two of the meets have been in the matrix, and we did hack some servers to get some ID for legwork, but in combat? That's all in meatspace.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (10:19:30/01-19-19)
I see two answers to the question:  how much do I use it during game play, and how much do I think about it during prep.

During game play: that's really up to the players.  Generally, the players have the initiative and so long as the run is "on track" the NPCs are reacting to the runners, rather than the other way around.  Players will use or ignore the matrix as they see fit.  But if the run goes sideways, I'll certainly consider all three "worlds" (physical, astral, matrix) in how the NPCs are coming after the team.

During prep: I absolutely consider all three worlds. Always. Even if I know the team won't plan on hacking any hosts, will sneak past sensors rather than hack them, etc. Simply having a clear framework on how the matrix world is organized for the target immensely helps clarify/reinforce how the physical world works there, which is ALWAYS relevant.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (18:15:17/01-19-19)
Update: this half of the run, our hacker did actually brick a sniper rifle and the prototype weapon we were paid to disable in the first place. So apparently my group does use the Matrix in combat.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: PiXeL01 on (19:13:39/01-19-19)
We have both a decker and a Technomancer in our group so we try to use it as much as possible. Especially Kill Codeís new matrix actions combined with reckless hacking makes them viable. You see someone with a smartlinked gun, you can pump their vision full of spam etc.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: PMŠrk on (19:36:33/01-20-19)

But generally, i find the 'matrix' based characrers only appeal to a certain player type, and more just prefer 'Flash and Bang' style of play.

Agree. I have zero incentive to play a character focused on the Matrix, though I acknowledge it as an important part of the setting's background and its role in information gathering, handling security, etc. Still, the most I'd like to play is a combat hacker-like character.

It's not even about combat, it's just... I'm not that interested in the virtual reality stuff on itself.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (19:49:46/01-20-19)
"Using" the matrix isn't just for hackers and riggers, though. 

Being able to coordinate actions via commlink signal across distance or outside of LOS is a huge advantage.
Tagging enemies in AR for the sniper (or the clueless, who failed perception checks) is also highly advantageous.

Basically, having a working matrix connection is what allows characters to be "in the know" based on what amounts IRL to table-talk.

If the shadowrunners are jammed out of their commlinks, things become much more complicated!
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (00:57:06/01-21-19)
"Using" the matrix isn't just for hackers and riggers, though. 

Being able to coordinate actions via commlink signal across distance or outside of LOS is a huge advantage.
Tagging enemies in AR for the sniper (or the clueless, who failed perception checks) is also highly advantageous.

Basically, having a working matrix connection is what allows characters to be "in the know" based on what amounts IRL to table-talk.

If the shadowrunners are jammed out of their commlinks, things become much more complicated!


And this is an avenue, that many character AND players will acknowledge is important... FTOC... They just don't want to deal with it (as so much play the matrix support character who would normally co-ordinate all these actions and activities) but they want to use them.

Now, basic matrix actions - like more background actions they are more then willing to do. ("like, just 'Horizon' it dude. Geez!") because this doesn't require an investment in skills so much as tech for simple things. But hack a door? or jam a commlink? Dive a host? Nope, not interested.


This is generally why I make an NPC available for teams to fall back on and "use" for their matrix acts, so they can play as they want.

-And gives me plenty of "plot armor" to make things move in directions I think the group wants, that an actual player wouldn't allow.
Team doing well on their stealth run, but seem itching for something to shoot? The Decker flubbs up and trips an alarm..
Team hurting badly through poor rolls and not poor planning? Decker finds a way to seal a door to let the team limp away..

The trick is to not allow the "NPC" to outshine the players... and I have developed a system that works for me, while making the NPC both memorable and effective in his role, not flashy enough to "steal a scene" (in fact, unless directly needed, the NPC should be almost invisible 99% of the time.)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Mustakrakish on (03:15:13/01-21-19)
In my group we are entering the ninth session and we always had a dedicated decker. The whole idea of hosts, and IC and all that is really cool. I agree that the execution of the rules is not great.
But my players consider the decker to be like the rogue type. And it kinda is. I running the Chicago missions and some of this missions really need a decker.

I wish the rules were better. I always notice that when we get to the matrix it takes to much time and the rest of the players get bored... but it is quite a big part of our game, leg work and in the mission itself.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (12:01:40/01-21-19)
I wish the rules were better. I always notice that when we get to the matrix it takes to much time and the rest of the players get bored...

Its MUCH better now then it was in older editions, I give you that. But I think this is the the problem for many.

Hacking is still very much a mini-game between the decker/techno and the GM, that no one else gets to play. Which can lead to very bored players. Now, they have trimmed the time of this mini-game, and introduced things to try to limit your time hacking to improve this timed mini-game, but its still there.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (12:13:09/01-21-19)
Gotta agree. For whatever problems hacking has in 5th ed, it's much less of a minigame than it was in previous editions.

They're not quite there yet in integrating hacking smoothly into other players' actions simultaneously, but they're closer than they've ever been.  And if the GM's willing to hand-waive certain aspects of the hacking rules, you can just about make decking fit as seamlessly in to the rest of the game as spellcasting.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Beta on (16:39:23/01-21-19)
Initially I used it very little, but I've made a point of trying to learn it and incorporate it more -- and it became interesting enough then that a player made a character with basic hacking capability.

But as we get to know it better, we've actually become a bit bored with the current state of hacking*  So we are hand-waving more of it now, or even in a hack with some challenge to it just making a few of the key rolls so long as the hacker could win in a 'bought successes' dice pool comparison.


* I find hacking outcomes are defined by your bad rolls more than by your good rolls
-  you need multiple successful rolls to succeed at a hack, both because of the structure of it and because excess successes don't help much with many rolls
- therefore the hacker needs to exceed the defending dice pool by a chunk if they want to expect to be successful (compared say to physical combat where you could realistically hope to edge a key roll and so defeat a more skilled foe, or where a team can gang up against a more potent opponent).
- With that larger dice pool, the expected result of any given roll is success, extra net successes don't help much on most tests, so the only tension attached to the dice rolls is "I hope I don't get unlucky"  (kind of like drain rolls on routine spell casting early in a run)

Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:45:34/01-21-19)
Yeah, if all a hack is meant to do is unlock and open the side fire exit for the team, it can take way too many rolls to accomplish what's in the end one task. But there are ways to mitigate it through GM Craft (tm).

Unless the Host is supposed to be particularly tricky, having it always buy hits helps keep administering the "Matrix World" from eating too much real world time/spotlight.  Plus the player knows whether or not edge is needed, and doesn't have to blow points "just to be safe".

Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ducharme on (08:07:13/01-31-19)
How exactly can you mitigate it through GM Craft btw?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (10:35:14/01-31-19)
How exactly can you mitigate it through GM Craft btw?

Well gamemastering is like herding cats: it's an art rather than a science. There are no answers that fit every situation.  However, here are some suggestions:

As I mentioned upthread, buying hits rather than rolling out the host's opposed rolls helps speed things up indirectly. It's not that you're saving a lot of time by not rolling (because you're not).. what you're doing is making the players decision loop go faster.  "Should I edge this?"  "Can I get away with going for more than one mark?" These are questions that can eat significant time. (not to mention the multiple marks thing.. if the hacker needs 2-3 marks it's literally a waste of everyone's time to get 2-3 marks over the course of 2-3 rolls if they could instead have scored them all up front in one go). The biggest time sink of all though is players being indecisive about whether some idea would even work.  Having a host buy hits means you're in effect giving the hacker a threshold rather than opposed hits.. and that in turn means the "can I even successfully hack this" hemming and hawing gets nipped in the bud.

Sharing the spotlight: Shadowrun has always suffered from the "decking minigame" syndrome... when the decker's doing his thing everyone else zones out or even physically leaves the game to go do something else until the decker's done.  It's true in all things but especially important to remember for hacking to not let one player hog the GM's attention for too long.  I try to force myself to remember to go around the table and ask "ok so while the decker is doing all this, what are YOU doing?"  SR5 tries hard (and nearly succeeds) to integrate hacking seamless into the rest of game play.. with a little GM craft it mostly works. Not only does this make decking less un-fun for everyone who's not the decker, when players have the spotlight for too long they end up being way less efficient with time than when you force them to share with everyone else.

The old "I temporarily don't remember that rule" trick: Being efficient with time is important with players but it's even more important for GMs to be efficient with time.  Just because hacking rules are fully compatible with the combat turn/initiative pass format it doesn't mean you should be tracking initiative during a hack (that isn't taking place during a combat, of course!). Likewise, applying the "full power of this completely operational rules engine" is something that doesn't need to be done for simple legwork hacks. Just remember that maglocks can be opened or bypassed in any number of ways.. most of which boil down to a couple dice rolls (or even only one!).  There's no reason for hacking the lock open to take much more real-world time to adjudicate than having a character physically break the lock open and pick it by tinkering with its electronic guts.

The corollary of the "I temporarily don't remember that rule" is the "Frag it, I actually don't remember the rule right now" rule.  For the love of ghost, if you can't remember how a rule you want to use really works... DON'T waste a lot of time looking it up.  This is one I personally need to improve on... but if you can't find the rule right away just "frag it" and make something up on the spot.  You can even declare exactly what you're doing: "I can't remember the rule and I don't want to waste time digging for it.  We'll look it up later for next time, but for right now what we'll do is this..." The game running smoothly IS more important than the game running "in accordance with the rulez!".

Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Tarislar on (21:05:59/02-08-19)
SSDR I love that idea about Systems just buying hits.

I mean, we know its part of the game but I very rarely have ever seen any GM use it.

It always comes down to the players being hosed because the GM got crazy lucky w/ dice & pulled off 10 hits when he should have only had 5 on average & then the entire run goes sideways.

It also takes the sting out of the way Hosts are set up with their massive dice pools in the rules right now.

One of the biggest complaints about hacking that I hear is that it needs to be dumbed down so that its not a 12 step process for 1 act.

Personally I like the idea of systems being target #s v/s opposed tests.

Not only is its 1/2 the rolling its just faster for Player decision making.








I'm not sure if I could handle being a Decker in 5E the way things are now. 


I have an idea for a Combat-Decker w/ the whole Deck inside a Cyber Arm idea which I love for the stealth of it & the bonus combat dice of a turbo charged arm.
Its about the only concept I could see doing & maintaining some of the fun of SR combat.


I kind of wish the Decking Programs & actions were fewer in #, basically simplified & condensed, like Spell Categories where you just role play/GM craft/Story tell the specifics of what is going on.

Attack = Brute Force / Destroy
Detection = Searching / Sensing
Health = Repair / Fix
Illusion = Stealth / Finesse / Deceive
Manipulation = Edit / Change

Probably not realistic but just think it could use some form of simplification to make things faster to resolve.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: farothel on (07:47:25/02-09-19)
We used the matrix quite a lot compared to a lot of replies I see here.  This was back in 4th edition, when the hacker was just walking along with the rest of the group.

In combat I've never seen the problem.  The hacker just rolls his matrix initiative, just as the rest rolls meat initiative (or astral if that comes into play) and you just add the hacker in between everyone else.  No matter it's a completely different world, he just goes whenever the initiative tells him to and then it's the next person/thing/spirit/whatever, and he gets initiative passes just like everyone else, depending on what he's doing and what gear he has.

Outside combat we've never had much trouble with it in our group either.  Maybe because the GM was a matrix fan and knew the rules quite well, as did the player.  And indeed, sometimes it takes a while to resolve something, but if the face is trying to talk to someone, it can also take a while.  That's the GMs job to jump between the two (or more) groups. 

And yes, sometimes the GM stays with the hacker a bit longer when other players use the opportunity to take a toilet break and that's fine too.  In fact, I sometimes hold a bit and go to the toilet when the GM is in the zone with another player, so they can continue their thing without having to skip back to me.  In fact, I've seen the GM do the same, while we were doing some planning (and you know how long that can take in Shadowrun): 'you just keep thinking and planning this, I'm off for a bathroom break'.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Shinobi Killfist on (14:26:46/02-12-19)
Gotta agree. For whatever problems hacking has in 5th ed, it's much less of a minigame than it was in previous editions.

They're not quite there yet in integrating hacking smoothly into other players' actions simultaneously, but they're closer than they've ever been.  And if the GM's willing to hand-waive certain aspects of the hacking rules, you can just about make decking fit as seamlessly in to the rest of the game as spellcasting.

Its one of those it got better in some ways worse in other ways IMO. There are just way too many tests, I'm not talking how many to open a door or whatever but like my player needs a excel spreadsheet to figure out what dice pool he is using for a test and what its limit is. Shooting, spell casting, melee, its just a shoot, punch, cast test.  You aren't snooping which uses a totally different pool, from cracking a file, vs crashing a program and god knows how many tests after all the supplements.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (14:59:09/02-12-19)
A common example of what a hacker is asked to do: unlocking a locked door.

1 - 3 rolls to gain the necessary 3 marks on the maglock.
1 more roll to perform the Control Device action.

If the Locksmith skill were used instead:

A Hardware check to crack open the case. It's an extended test, so it could result in more than 1 roll.
Some maglocks have anti-tamper circuits, and if so there's a Locksmith test just to keep those from squealing an alarm.
Then you make the actual attempt to unlock the door.
(presumably) You do a final Hardware check to restore the case and hide the fact that the lock's been messed with.

If the Hacker goes for one mark at a time, it's still no more of a mechanical burden to adjudicate than physically picking the lock is.  But the Matrix has a reputation of being hard to use... I guess I'm saying I think it's something of an undeserved reputation.  Also, GMs may be less comfortable with the Matrix rules and less comfortable with streamlining play.  With the lock example, plenty of GMs would probably be comfortable just handwaiving the 4 rolls and boiling it down to a single Locksmithing check.  There's nothing stopping GMs from doing the exact same thing with Hacking, except the GMs themselves :)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: CanRay on (15:52:21/02-12-19)
Depends on the group that I work with, sometimes there is someone who wants to be a Decker/Technomancer and there is Hacking.

Sometimes the group doesn't want to deal with it, and I just run an NPC who does that kind of stuff in the background while everyone else has to protect/jack out them when the drek hits the fan.

Gotta make the game work with the group you're playing with.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: DigitalZombie on (16:22:16/02-12-19)
A common example of what a hacker is asked to do: unlocking a locked door.

1 - 3 rolls to gain the necessary 3 marks on the maglock.
1 more roll to perform the Control Device action.

I dont think 3 Marks are necessary for operating a door. But there is a decent risk that the door is in a host, in which case you would need access to the host first, with all the hassle that would bring you. And if it isnt part of a host there is a decent risk that its running silent- meaning your first action would be to spot it.

Opening a locked door in shadowrun is somewhat different than a thieves tools check in dungeons & dragons. :)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:28:24/02-12-19)
Depends on what sort of action the GM calls it to unlock a door.

1 mark allows you to do free actions via Control Device.

2 marks allows you to do simple actions via Control Device.

3 marks are required for complex actions via Control Device.

Depends on the door, the GM, and who knows what else to determine what kind of action it is to unlock the given door.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Overbyte on (14:53:03/02-13-19)
Basically, we never use the Matrix.
And it has to do with what others have said. we started playing SR in v1 or v2 and it was (as everyone knows) really bad for group cohesion. So no one played a decker. That carried forward and so no one has ever really played a decker (except me in a game outside of my normal group for a short while).
So this leads to the issue that none of us have any familiarity with the rules at all and since no one plays a decker there is no impetus to learn the rules. Furthermore, the rules themselves (which I've read multiple times) don't really do a good job of describing what you actually have to do to accomplish the things you want to accomplish. You can see this in the questions that people ask on these boards.
Even that simple example of opening a locked door: Is it slaved? Is it not slaved? How many marks do I need? etc..

At this point I would LOVE to use the matrix more in my games, and don't think it is too cumbersome or takes away from the game. As someone pointed out, you just interweave actions on regular initiatives. But I have no idea how to really do it "right".

In the end, I just drop some dice and hand wave the hacky-bits to provide good drama for my meat players.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (14:23:26/02-14-19)
I really think they need to almost go to a bullet form of rules for the matrix to keep things easier to understand, kind of like with the combat flow.

you know, a simple list of actions that can be done: Like;

ENTERING HOST OPTIONS
* Search
* Sleaze
* Attack

IF Search: Roll <X>+<Y> Find hidden files and icons, identify known files and icons
IF Sleaze: hidden from Search commands, sets threshold of Search by successes. Roll <X>+<Y>.
IF Attack: Edit, change, damage a file or icon Roll <X>+<Y>

and so on...

Something simple and easy for everyone to follow. As it stands now, people are lost on even the terminology!

(After all, you Need DNI, except when DNI is from cyber, because don't confuse DNI with DNI as they are separate DNIs that DNI to different things along the DNI network, which is why DNI and DNI, while the same, are separate.  See clear as clear can be!)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: mcv on (17:00:21/02-16-19)
I try to use the Matrix, but a lot of adventures are really short on detail. It's mostly Kill Zone that taught me how hacking into a host actually should actually work in the game. 5e adventures often list only the rating of the host, and from that I have to create everything myself.

It kinda seems to work, though. The team hacks cameras so they won't show up on them, for example. Ashes had plenty of tech stuff for the decker. But plenty of adventures don't have all that much for the decker to do, and how effective bricking smart gun systems in combat really is, depends entirely on interpretation and GM fiat. (Does bricking the gun mean the gun won't shoot? Or does the mechanical stuff still work, but you just don't get the benefit of the smartgun system? Or does it vary per gun? Guns with built-in smartgun systems probably have way more stuff accessible to the decker than a mechanical gun with an external smartgun system attached.) Still, our decker dutifully tries to hack guns during combat, and sometimes that works out well, like ejecting the clip of the goon laying down suppressive fire, as happened in our most recent session.

Personally, though, I think decking is something you do on the side, and the decker had better have some real-world cyberware too. Expecting real Matrix specialists doesn't really seem to fit with most adventures.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (21:38:24/02-16-19)
It SHOULDN'T be a matter of GM whim/fiat as to whether a bricked gun can shoot...the answer is a firm "no" (SR5, PG 228).  Unless of course it's explicitly a throwback gun, of course.

The Matrix Spotting rules are a hot mess however, and how many actions are required (if any) are required to be expended before you can even start hacking device can certainly vary from GM to GM. The Instinctive Hack quality from BTB goes a long way with addressing the terrible action economy involved with in-combat hacking.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (03:17:13/02-17-19)
Of course the best moves I'm used to by hackers is to hack everything in advance, trace icon, then give people the precise position of the enemy team. Nothing like a scene in SRM where the opening shots come through the walls, floors and ceilings. Then in combat you can go and command clips to eject, or try to brick the guns.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: mcv on (11:46:34/02-17-19)
It SHOULDN'T be a matter of GM whim/fiat as to whether a bricked gun can shoot...the answer is a firm "no" (SR5, PG 228).  Unless of course it's explicitly a throwback gun, of course.
I'm leaning strongly towards common sense here. A gun is a mechanical device. A smartgun system is the only sensible reason why a gun might be brickable at all, and considering the vulnerability a smartgun adds to the system, it seems weird for people without a smartgun system to use a brickable gun.

I've seen discussions about this before, and even with a smartgun system, I don't think everybody agrees about this. Furthermore, when bricking a gun is really easy, particularly through Dataspike which as far as I understand doesn't require a mark, wouldn't decking end up being too powerful in combat?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (13:11:32/02-17-19)
It SHOULDN'T be a matter of GM whim/fiat as to whether a bricked gun can shoot...the answer is a firm "no" (SR5, PG 228).  Unless of course it's explicitly a throwback gun, of course.
I'm leaning strongly towards common sense here. A gun is a mechanical device. A smartgun system is the only sensible reason why a gun might be brickable at all, and considering the vulnerability a smartgun adds to the system, it seems weird for people without a smartgun system to use a brickable gun.
If your gun isn't using a smartgun system, why exactly do you have its wireless turned on to begin with? Sounds like people trying to make up an excuse to defend against bricking.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (13:21:31/02-17-19)
It SHOULDN'T be a matter of GM whim/fiat as to whether a bricked gun can shoot...the answer is a firm "no" (SR5, PG 228).  Unless of course it's explicitly a throwback gun, of course.
I'm leaning strongly towards common sense here. A gun is a mechanical device. A smartgun system is the only sensible reason why a gun might be brickable at all, and considering the vulnerability a smartgun adds to the system, it seems weird for people without a smartgun system to use a brickable gun.
If your gun isn't using a smartgun system, why exactly do you have its wireless turned on to begin with? Sounds like people trying to make up an excuse to defend against bricking.

People have wireless turned on for all their gear all the time.  Not everyone is a Shadowrunner.

Hell, most people today are perfectly fine with asking their home surveillance units for pancake recipes, alerting would-be robbers when they'll be on vacation via social media, and happily carrying around a tracking device whenever they leave the house.

Now, yes, you absolutely have a point in that anyone "smart" would have wireless shut off on any and everything that doesn't give an explicit wireless bonus.  But doing so would be screwing hackers out of having something to do in combat.  They've already got a rough enough time being relevant because of the action economy... they don't need to be further punished by having NPCs be "smarter" than real life people.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (13:23:20/02-17-19)
It SHOULDN'T be a matter of GM whim/fiat as to whether a bricked gun can shoot...the answer is a firm "no" (SR5, PG 228).  Unless of course it's explicitly a throwback gun, of course.
I'm leaning strongly towards common sense here. A gun is a mechanical device. A smartgun system is the only sensible reason why a gun might be brickable at all, and considering the vulnerability a smartgun adds to the system, it seems weird for people without a smartgun system to use a brickable gun.
If your gun isn't using a smartgun system, why exactly do you have its wireless turned on to begin with? Sounds like people trying to make up an excuse to defend against bricking.

People have wireless turned on for all their gear all the time.  Not everyone is a Shadowrunner.

Hell, most people today are perfectly fine with asking their home surveillance units for pancake recipes, alerting would-be robbers when they'll be on vacation via social media, and happily carrying around a tracking device whenever they leave the house.

Now, yes, you absolutely have a point in that anyone "smart" would have wireless shut off on any and everything that doesn't give an explicit wireless bonus.  And maybe the game would be improved if wireless-off were removed as a mechanic.  But doing so would be screwing hackers out of having something to do in combat.  They've already got a rough enough time being relevant because of the action economy... they don't need to be further punished by having NPCs be "smarter" than real life people.
If we don't want to punish players, then why are we arguing we can't brick->unusable guns that are wireless without a smartgun system?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (13:32:46/02-17-19)
If we don't want to punish players, then why are we arguing we can't brick->unusable guns that are wireless without a smartgun system?

That's a doozy of a question... so many negatives I'm not  100% clear on what exactly you're asking.

To clarify what I just said:
I'm not in favor of punishing hackers.
I AM arguing that all guns that are not explicitly throwbacks can be bricked.  The presence or absence of a smartgun system is irrelevant.

Philosophically, I prefer to rationalize that people universally leave wireless-on for their gear because they're lazy/accustomed to the benefits it brings.  Just like Real Life people are accepting of Alexas in their homes and Smart Phones in their pockets!  Having every Tom Dick and Harry act like they're elite corp sec or shadowrunners and turn wireless off on everything they "should" is unrealistic and needlessly punishes hackers.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (13:49:30/02-17-19)
I AM arguing that all guns that are not explicitly throwbacks can be bricked.  The presence or absence of a smartgun system is irrelevant.
I support that. But mcv argued against that. And I argued against mcv. And somehow you argued against me instead of with me. XD
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Overbyte on (13:53:35/02-17-19)
My two cents:
I think the bricking gun thing (which never happens in my games because no one uses the matrix) comes down to really one simple question:
"Does the gun have an electronic or mechanical firing mechanism".
Almost every gun these days is purely mechanical, but the argument has been made on these boards that most guns in 2070 (or whenever) have electronic firing pins.
I suppose you could ask the secondary question: "Does the gun have an electronic loading mechanism", but my thinking on that is that unless you have some sort of skipping function it most likely does not although I could see the argument that automatics do not, while revolvers do since automatics require the mechanical powering of the slide mechanism in order to work while a revolver might have a motor to spin cylinders.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (14:00:23/02-17-19)
I AM arguing that all guns that are not explicitly throwbacks can be bricked.  The presence or absence of a smartgun system is irrelevant.
I support that. But mcv argued against that. And I argued against mcv. And somehow you argued against me instead of with me. XD

Ah, I see that now.  The tunnel of quotes got too deep.

My two cents:
I think the bricking gun thing (which never happens in my games because no one uses the matrix) comes down to really one simple question:
"Does the gun have an electronic or mechanical firing mechanism".
Almost every gun these days is purely mechanical, but the argument has been made on these boards that most guns in 2070 (or whenever) have electronic firing pins.
I suppose you could ask the secondary question: "Does the gun have an electronic loading mechanism", but my thinking on that is that unless you have some sort of skipping function it most likely does not although I could see the argument that automatics do not, while revolvers do since automatics require the mechanical powering of the slide mechanism in order to work while a revolver might have a motor to spin cylinders.

A bricked device is totally useless (SR5 pg 202)

to expound on what that means, there's a paragraph following that statement:
Quote from: SR5 pg 202
If a device is bricked, it stops working: batteries
are drained, mechanical parts are fused or gummed
up with melted internals, and so on. That said, not all
devices are completely useless when bricked. A vibrosword
is still sharp, a roto-drone glides to the ground
on auto-gyro, a lock stays locked. The firing pin on an
assault rifle might not work, but its bayonet works just
fine for stabbing smug hackers. And you canít exactly
brick a katana, ne? And donít panic when your trickedout
combat bike gets bricked; it will ride again Ö if you
know a competent technician.

So, yeah, there's explicit support for your gun not firing but it's bayonet still being perfectly useful.  But every other function of the gun is implicitly gone (integral guncam in your smartgun system, the ability to wirelessly eject a clip, etc etc)

If the revolver isn't a throwback, when it's bricked it's just a heavy lump of metal.

(https://i.redd.it/a82ess7hlh201.jpg)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (14:06:03/02-17-19)
By the way, any player worried about bricked guns should take the Throwing Weapons skill. 8) What's the damage of a thrown Predator?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Overbyte on (18:28:25/02-17-19)

A bricked device is totally useless (SR5 pg 202)

to expound on what that means, there's a paragraph following that statement:
Quote from: SR5 pg 202
If a device is bricked, it stops working: batteries
are drained, mechanical parts are fused or gummed
up with melted internals, and so on. That said, not all
devices are completely useless when bricked. A vibrosword
is still sharp, a roto-drone glides to the ground
on auto-gyro, a lock stays locked. The firing pin on an
assault rifle might not work, but its bayonet works just
fine for stabbing smug hackers. And you canít exactly
brick a katana, ne? And donít panic when your trickedout
combat bike gets bricked; it will ride again Ö if you
know a competent technician.

So, yeah, there's explicit support for your gun not firing but it's bayonet still being perfectly useful.  But every other function of the gun is implicitly gone (integral guncam in your smartgun system, the ability to wirelessly eject a clip, etc etc)

If the revolver isn't a throwback, when it's bricked it's just a heavy lump of metal.

Yes. I read that, but it leaves some leeway and I prefer sensible interpretations over blind loyalty to the "blurbs".
My point was that (IMO) there is a spectrum of possibilities between throwback and completely wireless for all functions.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (22:04:44/02-17-19)
Well, the guns of SR, are not the guns of today, that much is very clear.

All firearms in SR use caseless ammo - something that was researched and abandoned by 1993 for us.

Also, technological creep is probably also a factor. Take your phone for example; why is a device that you are supposed to speak into capable of surfing the internet, playing full length videos, play games, record full length video (or millions of pictures), report your location, and help you navigate a city!?!? ITS A FUCKIN PHONE!!! - YOU TALK INTO IT!!! Firearms in SR probably could order, and and make you a cup of soy-caf with all the extra shit they have put into it...

(I can just see it now... the Runner, slinking through the hallway, approaching the guard station, pulls his pistol.
GUN: "Good evening Mr. Smith. It is currently 73 degrees outside, with a humidity factor of 4%. Rain Expected at 7am -Pack a umbrella. Lightning levels low, activating low light sights, and gun flashlight - no need to thank me. You currently have APDS ammo loaded, adjusting sights to compensate for propellant load and projectile weight. Please, Don't forget to update to Firmware patch 45.23a At your earliest convenience. Thank you for Shopping Ares!
Runner: "Fuck... forgot to put it in silent mode..."
Guard: "Yep... And don't worry about that Firmware update. Its crap." *BANG!*)

Anyhow, thanks to the caseless ammo, it could be argued that the current firearms use a electronic spark to fire the round instead of a percussion explosion now, and that is the very thing that gets "bricked" when the gun is bricked... you can pull that trigger all day long, but no spark, no ingition of the propellant, no shooty stuff.


But really, at the end of the day, it boils down to an attempt to make the Decker archtype a little more viable by not only giving him something matrix-y to do during combat, but also helps de-pioritize direct combat skills for the decker. A big complaint for deckers has always been skill bloat and "you can't make an effective decker and an effective combatant"... well now you don't have to, and still have an effect on combat.
 

So really, this becomes mute pretty fast if you don't have a decker on your team... as event the most proficient  NPC decker isn't going to to be able to do much that changes the outcome... Yea he bricks a gun - which you use to beat him to death with. Then spend an hour with a electronics kit to get your gun working again... And really, who doesn't carry a spare gun?

Or four...
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (00:36:35/02-18-19)
Dragon Song had Deckers. They ended up mostly stressing out the GMs, who needed an excuse to destroy the decks during/after the fights to prevent players from obtaining too much loot. I literally had a bad guy blow up 'the evidence', including his unconscious decker teammate, to get rid of one.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (02:05:29/02-18-19)
not familiar with any of the Missions products...

(but it tickles a bell... if this was a 3e mission - I may be remembering it..)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: mcv on (09:10:35/02-19-19)
Alright, I accept that practically every gun should be brickable according to the rules. So how does this work out in practice? Have any of you had deckers try to brick everything? How did that work out?

I imagine during a spontaneous shoot-out, the decker won't be fast enough to do more damage decking than if they were shooting, but during a stand-off, the decker might be quietly hacking into the opposition's guns without them noticing. Bricking them will draw attention, but as long as they're just collecting marks and only start bricking stuff when the situation heats up, the decker could short-circuit the whole situation. Is that cool or will the decker deny the other runners their opportunity to shine?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (10:13:41/02-19-19)
Well the Decker can usually neutralize targets via hacking faster than they can neutralize them with a gun... depending of course upon how bad the hacking and how good the weapon skills are.

The real rub is whether the Decker can neutralize threats via hacking faster than the Sammy or Mage can neutralize them via simple violence.  Early in my Chicago Decker's career I'd score marks on cybereyes or a gun only to see that target get geeked before my next action. 

It's the action economy that makes combat hacking so very difficult.  Recent books have addressed it a bit. BtB gives the (imo mandatory for all hackers) Quality that allows you a free bonus matrix action before the first pass of every combat.  Kill Code provides rules for performing actions that require marks without first scoring those marks.  Put the two together and you no longer need 3 passes to eliminate 1 threat.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (13:12:37/02-19-19)
There's a reason ejecting clips is an all-time favourite: Iirc (it's been a while) it's a Free Action to command, allowing it in the same turn as the mark.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: CanRay on (13:32:25/02-19-19)
There's a reason ejecting clips is an all-time favourite: Iirc (it's been a while) it's a Free Action to command, allowing it in the same turn as the mark.
Just remember to jack the round out of the chamber at the same time.   ;D
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (15:18:40/02-19-19)
There's a reason ejecting clips is an all-time favourite: Iirc (it's been a while) it's a Free Action to command, allowing it in the same turn as the mark.
Just remember to jack the round out of the chamber at the same time.   ;D

Everyone forgets the one in the chamber...
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:06:19/02-19-19)
Yeah, heh.

Of course if you try to brick a gun, you need to one-shot it because once it starts taking matrix damage all it takes is a free action to shut the wireless off, and matrix damage doesn't impose any penalties (until the entire CM is blocked out).

Honestly I wish turning wireless off wasn't a thing the rules allowed, but then again I've got a soft spot for Deckers :D
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: kainite311 on (19:11:11/02-19-19)
Yeah, heh.

Of course if you try to brick a gun, you need to one-shot it because once it starts taking matrix damage all it takes is a free action to shut the wireless off, and matrix damage doesn't impose any penalties (until the entire CM is blocked out).

Honestly I wish turning wireless off wasn't a thing the rules allowed, but then again I've got a soft spot for Deckers :D

Isn't there a way to link lock a device like a persona? (or maybe use squelch, modified? or jamming? Most wireless switching on/off is done via wireless commands, the irony they can't turn off the wireless because the signal is blocked... who but a rigger or decker has more then 2 pts of noise reduction) and how long until they figure out why? 1 action wasted when it doesn't work right away and another observe in detail to try to figure out why, and another action to correct it... wasted maybe 2 passes (or about one combat turn for most. and you just do it again next pass...) Never underestimate tying up someone's actions for a pass or 2 while the rest of your team whittles them down...

Why not do other things instead? (action economy is still there, but with reckless hacking and a few other tricks can be done)
format/reboot pretty much will brick it right? (action economy is still there, but with reckless hacking and a few other tricks can be done)
Spoof command to: eject all ammo, engage safety, disengage electronic firing... or any other creative use)
Feed the smartlink corrupt data via edit? (neg to hit equal to net hits....)
just to name a few...

Are they as fast as the power combat mage/street sam/adept? maybe not...but they also don't require you to show any part of yourself so no worries about dodging bullets... also can be done thru walls/floors. Can be predone before they even reach combat range...

The reading I got from the core book was electronics were pervasive on all weapons unless throwback... (Think Ipad on modern day refrigerators... Heck, anything with an auto set clock essentially has a wireless connection to get the universal time/date)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Overbyte on (04:28:34/02-20-19)
Anyhow, thanks to the caseless ammo, it could be argued that the current firearms use a electronic spark to fire the round instead of a percussion explosion now, and that is the very thing that gets "bricked" when the gun is bricked... you can pull that trigger all day long, but no spark, no ingition of the propellant, no shooty stuff.

Don't want to be argumentative, but it seems that your electronic spark theory is specifically NOT the case since on p.180 of Hard Targets there is a weapon modification called "Electronic Firing":

With this modification, most of the weaponís moving parts are removed so that it can fire electronically, meaning that an electrical signal detonates the bulletís propellant.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Spooky on (18:17:14/02-21-19)
Alright, I accept that practically every gun should be brickable according to the rules. So how does this work out in practice? Have any of you had deckers try to brick everything? How did that work out?

I imagine during a spontaneous shoot-out, the decker won't be fast enough to do more damage decking than if they were shooting, but during a stand-off, the decker might be quietly hacking into the opposition's guns without them noticing. Bricking them will draw attention, but as long as they're just collecting marks and only start bricking stuff when the situation heats up, the decker could short-circuit the whole situation. Is that cool or will the decker deny the other runners their opportunity to shine?

Well, if you have an inventive decker/techno, they don't need to brick a gun right away... Example 1: I had the team traveling on the freeway away from the job in their party van (a Roadmaster), and a go-gang jumped them. Foour hot-shot cycles gave chase, each double mounted. Each cycle had a driver and a shooter. Team gunners shoot at the two on the left, and the matrixers took the two on the right. First thing they did: get into the gun wielded by the outside shooter, and reset the zero point. If you know guns, you can imagine the results. For those of you who don't resetting the zero point means the gun hits to the left or right or up or down from the point of aim. Decker resets the zero such that when the shooter  fires at the van, he hits the inside cycle driver's head instead of the van. Splat one cycle.... and reset the zero again to splat his driver next.... You can see where this goes, all with out bricking the gun. Example 2: well, Example 1 is probably enough to give you ideas, really. So enjoy.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Iron Serpent Prince on (18:11:49/02-23-19)
The reading I got from the core book was electronics were pervasive on all weapons unless throwback...

Unfortunately, this isn't true.  Electronics are pervasive in all items.


Quote from: Core Book, 2nd Printing, page 421, under "Throwbacks"
While throwbacks are immune to hacking via the wireless Matrix, all devices have a universal access port.
All being a throwback does for it is turn off wireless permanently.

I really wish there were three tiers of items.

Until such a time, all items can be hacked - even bricked, even if there isn't a whole lot of mechanical benefit.  I'm not sure who the madman is that put electronics into an actual 1860's firearm, but even it can be bricked via direct connection.

--------------------------------

As for how much I use the Matrix in my games...

I want to use it all the time.  I am a technophile at heart, and would love to use it all the time.
Unfortunately, the 5e Matrix rules are such a fusterclucking hot mess they get in the way of the game.

Since SINs are required to be broadcast at all times, it is nearly impossible for a Shadowrunner to even enter a non-public area in a building.

We know that SIN scanners are everywhere because you need a Fake SIN just so you can hit up the Stuffer Shack without them calling the authorities on you for being a vagrant.
We also know that you can't duplicate someone elses SIN, in part because their SIN will be in use wherever they are.
So, if you follow the world as written, Shadowrunners can't even infiltrate a building without the tech alerting security.

Then there is the whole thing that there aren't any passwords/passcodes/access codes anymore because that is what your Persona is for.
And thanks to Kill Code, we know that a Persona can not be faked, forged, or hacked.  The best that can be done is Masquerade as another persona. (Kill Code, page 39)  This is not a simple thing to pull off.  You need 4 MARKs (two on the Persona you are trying to imitate, as well as two on the icon/device you are trying to manipulate) and that means the Overwatch Score timeclock is ticking.  If you or your target Persona logs off, your done.

Then, of course, that doesn't take into account that Personas are made of - among many other things - "usage patterns."  That means it is easy to imagine that if you don't operate the icon/device you are manipulating in the same way as the person your imitating it could trip security.
A bad analogy would be think of typing speed.  If you don't type at the same speed as the person you are imitating, the system can detect something is wrong and trip security.
What this does is anyones guess, but I imagine at the least it would be a re-verification of identity.  Kind of like "security questions."

For a game that is supposed to revolve around stealth to some degree, the tech and magic make all of it nearly impossible.

And before anyone wants to respond with something along the lines of "no [sane] GM would run the game like that," let me stop you before you start.
If your only counterpoint is that "no GM would run the game as it is written," then that is a prime example of how crappy the rules are and how much they desperately need a rewrite.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (18:32:57/02-23-19)
Well, I'm thinking you're overstating Big Brother somewhat.  Granted it's a thing, but not to the extent of being SINless/A Shadowrunner is impossible.  Challenging, yes.  That's the point.  But not impossible.

Remember Certified Credsticks are a thing.  They work like cash.  Stuffer Shack will certainly accept it.  They'll only check your SIN if you try to use non-certified nuyen. (if credsticks are analogous to cash, everything else is analogous to credit cards)

Likewise those "identity scanners" aren't necessarily reading your broadcasted SIN.  It's far more probable they're reading your Persona, since that's where your shopping and matrix browsing habits are encoded.  Since everyone who's not Amish is using AR constantly, your Persona is constantly viewable.  Unless you go wireless off/run silent, of course.  And honestly that's probably the go-to excuse everyone uses if some curious guards start asking "Why aren't you publicly broadcasting your Persona?":  "Because I don't want Spam!"
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Iron Serpent Prince on (20:56:09/02-23-19)
I'm thinking you're underestimating the oppressive prejudice against the "undesirables."

I mean, can you come up with a reasonable explanation for why the local Stuffer Shack (not to mention the more paranoid corps) wouldn't have a low rating, door mounted SIN checker to make sure all customers are legal?
If only to keep insurance premiums down...

And, of course, they likely have a Host equivalent of an Agent running Matrix Perception looking for shirt and shoe ARO's...  Oh, and pants.  Definitely pants.

John Doe walks into the Stuffer Shack with his throwback clothing.  A big red circle with a line through it ARO immediately covers him blocking out what he looks like "underneath" it.
"Valued customer.  We have detected you are not wearing a shirt, or shoes and regret to inform you that you will not be served until you return properly attired."

Of course, it should be trivially easy to talk your way out of those things at the Shack (especially if you have a Contact there).  Once you step into the Restricted (or higher security) area of a corp building, easy goes out the window.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (21:00:21/02-23-19)
I mean, can you come up with a reasonable explanation for why the local Stuffer Shack (not to mention the more paranoid corps) wouldn't have a low rating, door mounted SIN checker to make sure all customers are legal?
Because their money is as good as anyone else's, simple as that.

Quote
And, of course, they likely have a Host equivalent of an Agent running Matrix Perception looking for shirt and shoe ARO's...  Oh, and pants.  Definitely pants.
Anyone who walks into a Stuffer Shack wearing AROs.....in fact, anyone who wears AROs outside of fashion shows and high society.....deserves to have the shit beat out of them, and the local gangers will typically do the job.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (21:52:23/02-23-19)
...
I mean, can you come up with a reasonable explanation for why the local Stuffer Shack (not to mention the more paranoid corps) wouldn't have a low rating, door mounted SIN checker to make sure all customers are legal?
...

While the SINless don't have human rights in many jurisdictions of the Sixth world, they DO still have spendable nuyen.  May as well relieve the SINless of it whenever you can.

Now of course Michelin star restaurants won't be accepting the SINless in, but neither will they be welcoming in the hobos of the real world.

Quote
And, of course, they likely have a Host equivalent of an Agent running Matrix Perception looking for shirt and shoe ARO's...  Oh, and pants.  Definitely pants.

John Doe walks into the Stuffer Shack with his throwback clothing.  A big red circle with a line through it ARO immediately covers him blocking out what he looks like "underneath" it.
"Valued customer.  We have detected you are not wearing a shirt, or shoes and regret to inform you that you will not be served until you return properly attired."

Some places, sure.  Perhaps even "many" places.  I wouldn't count places like Stuffer Shacks among them.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Iron Serpent Prince on (22:09:10/02-23-19)
Because their money is as good as anyone else's, simple as that.

While the SINless don't have human rights in many jurisdictions of the Sixth world, they DO still have spendable nuyen.  May as well relieve the SINless of it whenever you can.


So what?

I can point to current events in the US right now that imitates what Corporate rule would look like in the 2070+'s
Just imagine SINless every time "Undocumented Immigrant" comes up.
There are even studies that show that undocumented immigrants (as a whole) are vibrant, productive, members of society. At least usually.  And more usually than natural born citizens.

I could go even further into it, although I will likely be accused of bringing politics into the forums.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (22:11:10/02-23-19)
So what?

I can point to current events in the US right now that imitates what Corporate rule would look like in the 2070+'s
Just imagine SINless every time "Undocumented Immigrant" comes up.
Undocumented immigrant walks into a convenience stores, buys completely legal items, pays with cash, and the cashier never raises a fuss.

I don't see your point.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Iron Serpent Prince on (22:20:40/02-23-19)
I don't see your point.

Because you are deliberately not looking.

We don't have the requirement, yet, to electronically broadcast the equivalent of a green card.

But hey, you do you.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (22:23:17/02-23-19)
The SINless don't have the rights of citizens.  They're treated like subhumans, and in certain jurisdictions they're pretty much legally not even people.

But a Nuyen coming from the SINless spends the same as a Nuyen from the SINner.  And they're a ton cheaper to employ than SINners.  You gotta comply with safety regulations, taxes, and all sorts of annoying things on SINner employees...


Look at the example of the Seattle Ork Underground.  Most everyone is SINless, and most everyone actually has a paying job working for "The Man" as janitors or dock workers other menial labor above ground.  The arrangement works out for everyone involved... the SINless get money, and the city gets a place where the SINless can literally go out of eyesight when they're done with their shift.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (05:57:38/02-24-19)
We don't have the requirement, yet, to electronically broadcast the equivalent of a green card.
And if that day comes, you're still going to find that plenty of people are willing to look the other way if Diego Garcia wants to buy some potato chips and beef jerky with cash at the corner store.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: CanRay on (12:44:33/02-24-19)
UCAS$ are a thing in my game as it is going, and my group is having to deal with the fact that they're getting fat stacks of the stuff rather than Nuyen in an electronic format (Thousands of Nuyen take up less space in credsticks than Tens of Thousands of UCAS$ in bills, even if they are $1000 bills!).

They do like that it is untraceable, and appreciate being handed a briefcase or suitcase of money rather than a pocket protector with a "pen" in it.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Iron Serpent Prince on (19:34:32/02-24-19)
Most everyone is SINless, and most everyone actually has a paying job working for "The Man" as janitors or dock workers other menial labor above ground.

That sounds suspiciously like a Day Job (Run Faster, page 154).  And as we all know, that requires a legit SINner quality, or at least a Rating 4 Fake SIN to hold down.

I can even see it being part of the hiring process:

"Now, you do know you need a SIN, Mr. Zork?  Not to worry.  We can get you one.  We will cover the money up front, and then dock you pay until you pay it back.  With interest, of course.  Assuming you want some money to take home each pay period, it should take about...  Five years to pay it all back.  If you should quit or be terminated before that time, you will owe the remainder immediately."

Again, SINs are required to be broadcast at all times. The last thing you want is to have the local LEO's show up for another matter and notice that your work force doesn't have any SINs...

And if that day comes, you're still going to find that plenty of people are willing to look the other way if Diego Garcia wants to buy some potato chips and beef jerky with cash at the corner store.

Individuals?  Yeah, sure.  Maybe.  But how many of those individuals will be in a position to do legitimate business with the SINless?  The falafel cart on the corner, maybe the local grocery store.  Whatever Mom & Pop Shops can squeeze out a living in the corporate world, perhaps...  But that will be truly risky for them.

Let me put it another way.  The local gang trashes the Stuffer Shack and makes off with a couple of bags of Stuff'ed Burritos and a bag or two of Shack Sliders.  Do you really think that the Shacks insurance company will honor the claim when they find out there wasn't a SIN checker covering the door?

Sure, the gang likely won't be broadcasting any SINs, and if they do they will be fakes.  The Shack manager is just living up to the corporate motto "Always CYA."
If the SINs are fake, at least there is info for the LEOs to follow up on.  Yeah, Jane Smith and John Doe probably won't amount to much...  However the Shack manager did their job.
And if the SIN checker didn't detect any SINs, then the LEOs would have been alerted to the presence of vagrants automatically.  It will be the LEOs fault if they didn't show up in time.

The last thing you want when you are a cog in the machine is an unforced error.  Even a Rating 1 SIN checker will CYA.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (20:41:51/02-24-19)
You are only required to broadcast a SIN in 'A' rated areas of the city. Which is usually the downtown financial areas and the high class neighborhoods.

Everywhere else, they don't care.

What you are forgetting is even the law enforcement is privatized, and that officer assigned to your stuffer shack robbery is given 'X' hours to solve the crime.

I forget the book but they pegged the typical allotted time for a murder investigation at 100 man hours.... or about 2 full days for a pair of officers.

Crime is a daily fact in SR and as long the unwashed masses are kept well away from the Uber wealthy and the movers and shakers of the city: The rest can burn.

(And by the way, you would be hard pressed to find a stuffershack in an 'A' rated area. They are too 'Blue collar' for all those Suits to eat at.)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (20:55:15/02-24-19)
Let me put it another way.  The local gang trashes the Stuffer Shack and makes off with a couple of bags of Stuff'ed Burritos and a bag or two of Shack Sliders.  Do you really think that the Shacks insurance company will honor the claim when they find out there wasn't a SIN checker covering the door?
Stuffer Shack doesn't need insurance. Stuffer Shack is a subsidiary of Aztechnology, and the AAA corp will certainly cover costs like these. So you see, Stuffer Shack won't be eager to check the SINs of potential customers if Aztechnology doesn't want them to, and if Aztechnology wants to harvest the credstick nuyen of the SINless (spoiler alert: they do), then Stuffer Shack isn't going to be checking the SIN of everyone who walks through the door, nor will it require a broadcast of a SIN. Though as Reaver pointed out, you'd never be expected to broadcast your SIN in a Stuffer Shack neighborhood anyways.

Furthermore, you fundamentally misunderstand what a SIN checker is. You think that whenever a SINless walks through the doorway of a building, a blaring alarm sounds and 60 KE officers show up, break his legs and lock him in a cell with Bubba the love troll, who has been given enough Viagra to make an elephant hard. That's not how it works at all; SIN checkers do not constantly check everyone in an area around them. They are handheld devices that figure of authority can use to check individual commlinks for the SINs of their owners. The process is more like having your ID checked at the border (most common use of SIN checkers, by the way) or when an officer pulls you over. For less risky encounters, think of the SINless as 16 year olds and SIN checks as bartenders asking for ID: as long as you're ordering food (items with no restrictions on them), there's no issue. But once you start asking for alcohol (restricted items), you better have some good fake ID or they'll kick you and your friends out. And if it's a strip club (restricted zone)? Well, they'll check your ID at the door. Maybe you'll get lucky and pass for an adult (a SINner) because you dress and act like one, but don't ever count on it.

(And by the way, you woukd be hard pressed to find a stuffer shack in an 'A' rated area. They are too 'Blue collar' for all those Suits to eat at.)
But then how do the rich people get their beef jerky, potato chips and gas masks in one convenient stop?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: RiggerBob on (20:59:29/02-24-19)
We know that SIN scanners are everywhere because you need a Fake SIN just so you can hit up the Stuffer Shack without them calling the authorities on you for being a vagrant.
No, SIN scanners aren't everywhere. The SIN you broadcast is an alphanumerical string (created by a complex algorithm from vital statistics like name, date and location of birth and the nation/corp that issued the SIN), nothing more.

Everything else is in several databases (local, government, corporate, global...). Running these databases costs money, so in a world where everything is about the money you can bet accessing them isn't free.

That's the whole point of different SIN scanner ratings. The low rating ones (R1-2) will only check if the presented number is a valid SIN-string or just something completely random. Better scanners may query some database if there is an entry at all (R3) or even look at the basic vital statistics (metatxpe, age, sex). Only the high-end scanners (R5+) start to look at the details and cross-reference several databases.

Could a StufferShack use a high-rating SIN scanner? Sure... But why would they? The scanner costs money, the check costs time (more time for a more detailed check) which again costs money. And when they find a fake SIN they lose the money that customer would have spend. So StufferShack checks if there is a SIN broadcasted at all, maybe have some very low-rated scanner, to keep the SINless out and that's it.

Basically the same is true for many buildings. Some may be more interested in keeping low-lifes with a cheap fake-SIN out, but once there is a higher influx of visitors than in your local StufferShack checking them all extensively gets expensive.

Since SINs are required to be broadcast at all times, it is nearly impossible for a Shadowrunner to even enter a non-public area in a building.
Entering non-public areas is something mostly unrelated to (fake-)SINs. Or do you think having a real SIN helps you, if you are detected somewhere you don't belong?

Either you get in (and around) there undetected or you use the (stolen) SIN of someone who belongs there. In the second case it's more a matter of getting in (that's where the checks take place). Constantly checking everyone's SIN is too expensive, if you want better security you beef up the entry checks or do some random checks inside (which can be avoided).

Then, of course, that doesn't take into account that Personas are made of - among many other things - "usage patterns."  That means it is easy to imagine that if you don't operate the icon/device you are manipulating in the same way as the person your imitating it could trip security.
A bad analogy would be think of typing speed.  If you don't type at the same speed as the person you are imitating, the system can detect something is wrong and trip security.

Which brings us back to the SIN databases and every other info about someone, be it typing pattern, shopping history or anything else, linked to SIN or not.

The corporations aren't keen on sharing, as every piece of data may have some value (see: data-balkanization). If they would, creating profiles would be possible. But in the world as written that's simply not the case. Even a SIN discovered and flagged as fake is not guaranteed to be updated across all databases in time (or at all) (see: SR5Core, "Burned SINs")


Remember: It's all about the bottom line. Always.

Why spend the money to eliminate a runner, if they can file the info about you away for the next time they need someone competent to do a job?
Why share data, if it may have some value?

SIN, fake-SIN or non at all. It's never a question if a corporation can get enough information to identify, find and punish you. They can, given they invest enough ressources. They could even do it much easier if they would actually share information. But they won't if it isn't cost-efficient.

That's one of the basics of the setting since day one.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (22:00:09/02-24-19)
Let me put it another way.  The local gang trashes the Stuffer Shack and
...
But then how do the rich people get their beef jerky, potato chips and gas masks in one convenient stop?
Well, they get their beef jerky from that delicatessen that charges them $19.95 a gram.

The rich don't eat "soy-chips"... They have their robo-butler make them REAL potato chips from REAL potatoes at a cost of $4.95 a potatoe.

The Rich don't wear "gas masks", those clash with everything that is not "Garbage Bin Punk". They do however buy rebreathers from Zoe-Armani at $5000 a pop. Of which they will have several to match their outfits and styles. And they will be custom designed for that "unique" look that every "I have more money than brains" always must have.


Oh, and one stop shopping is for plebs. Obviously. As they are too busy doing pleb things to enjoy the real things in life like shopping.
And now back to my goose pate while trying on 20 karat gold baby toe rings..   
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: RiggerBob on (23:07:52/02-24-19)
They have their robo-butler make them REAL potato chips from REAL potatoes at a cost of $4.95 a potatoe.
Robo-butlers went out of style years ago... if you have the money, you pay human servants  ;D
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (01:09:59/02-25-19)
The Rich don't wear "gas masks", those clash with everything that is not "Garbage Bin Punk". They do however buy rebreathers from Zoe-Armani at $5000 a pop. Of which they will have several to match their outfits and styles. And they will be custom designed for that "unique" look that every "I have more money than brains" always must have.
Fashion Gas Masks are only 300 bucks, and a fashion respirator rating 6 only 450. My Transporter character wore one alongside his suit.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (08:03:48/02-25-19)
Put both in your Custom Ballistic Masks, and that'll get you into some certain esoteric dinner parties...
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (12:33:51/02-25-19)
The Rich don't wear "gas masks", those clash with everything that is not "Garbage Bin Punk". They do however buy rebreathers from Zoe-Armani at $5000 a pop. Of which they will have several to match their outfits and styles. And they will be custom designed for that "unique" look that every "I have more money than brains" always must have.
Fashion Gas Masks are only 300 bucks, and a fashion respirator rating 6 only 450. My Transporter character wore one alongside his suit.


You're forgetting the "you're too rich for brains" sur-charge....


Case in point: the $25,000 Iphone 6.... (gold leaf outcase).
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (13:01:02/02-25-19)
Ah yes, the 'one born every minute' force-multiplier.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: neomerlin on (18:04:18/03-01-19)
I've frequently seen this line of thinking that you can't so much as buy Amber Gel from the Stuffer Shack without a SIN. If you want to run your game that way, okay, but I've never seen the value in it. The game rolls up your basic purchases of food and clothing and hot water into Lifestyle costs because even the designers didn't think it'd be fun to make dwell on those details. For everything else, I basically go on how the world works today. I need to show ID to buy alcohol, so that's a SIN check if my players do that, but not a significant one. Buying a car? Yes and a more significant SIN check than getting alcohol. For some reason, I put more thought into banking. If a player has a high rated fake SIN or a real SIN, they can get a real bank account and as long as they pay their taxes and don't do anything to attract an audit, I'm happy for the bank not to ask questions (because, for realz, banks in the real world are happy to turn a blind eye so long as you pay their fees and have lots of money). Or we can say money laundering is part of your lifestyle costs. For everyone else, you can keep it on cred sticks in your mattress or find a Yak run bank and it works out just as good. Really, for my game, I try to balance what highlights the interesting and oppressive details of the setting with what is fun for the game.

That said, I love your idea, CanRay, of using UCAS$ as a physical and less traceable currency to pay runners. That works in a way I've never felt Corp Scrip would be appealing to runners who know what they're doing. What black market arms dealer is going to take Aztech scrip?

As to that other question of how much the Matrix comes up in my game. Every session. Matrix Searching and Matrix Perception are in constant use by deckers and riggers and since I usually have a decker, there's plenty of decking going on during the run and during the legwork. Most of my players lean towards White Hat in most respects, so when they need info, they much prefer the decker to steal it off (or through) a commlink than interrogate for it. They also like to be quiet... Whenever possible... Which isn't as often as they'd like... But, yeah, it's a weird session if the Matrix doesn't come up at all. Even if the matrix focused characters aren't attending that session, the players will call on friends and Contacts to assist.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Fast Freddy on (09:12:41/03-04-19)
got to agree with a lot of the posts - deckkers take up a one to one isolated session for them to do stuff in the matrix - a solution could be to hire one in who will do their dekker thang remotely from the safety of the hotel room via some device the player runners cart around with them
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Seras on (14:52:19/03-06-19)
The omnipresence of SIN is why I have changed the way I play shadowrun...

Something dangerous needs doing, like killing bugs or toxic mages or stopping a cyberpsycho or killing devilrats the hard way ....you know going outside

The rich corp owners: Do something dangerous, hell no Im valuable !

The Executive working for the corp: Hell no, One day Im gonna be rich, I know it !

The army of wageslaves: If I was brave you think I would be a wageslave ? If I want adrenalin, I chip a sim of someone else Skydiving !

This leave a huge demand for moneyhungry fools I mean brave shadowrunners to go do dangerous stuff.

Seriously, there are a ton of jobs that require shadowrunners that are actually legal. Bodygard, security, transportation...killing  mutated and/or magical shit. Fighting or capturing roegue drones and A.I. Stopping punks from testing combat drugs in downtown. Bringing back your son/daughter after they ran away from corpsschool to join a weird cult.

Going to frag knows where to harvest reagents....

....Bringing back said reagents after the first three teams were eaten....

..you know stuff.

Plus smart criminals ( even in real life) have some kind of legal enterprise going on to hide what they are really doing. Most smugglers also work in legit transportation for instance...

Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: PiXeL01 on (20:00:59/03-06-19)
Weíve been doing that for three editions (2nd, 3rd, 5th) Now we have two hackers, which is half the group so itís better.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: neomerlin on (01:03:06/03-07-19)
got to agree with a lot of the posts - deckkers take up a one to one isolated session for them to do stuff in the matrix - a solution could be to hire one in who will do their dekker thang remotely from the safety of the hotel room via some device the player runners cart around with them
This is something I keep seeing, personally, it just doesn't match my experience. I'm not accusing you of exaggerating or making anything up, mind you. It's just from where I'm sitting, the whole "other players go out and get pizza while the GM and Decker do the matrix minigame one-on-one" strikes me as a meme held onto since earlier editions and doesn't hold much weight in 2080 (we are up to 2080, aren't we?)

I'm not going to say Deckers are now integrated perfectly and there's never a time when a decker is the focus for an extended period. But the decker minigame just doesn't exist in my games, not like when deckers had to do a literal dungeon crawl every time they jacked in. Now it's more like when the rigger is spending time doing recon and sneaking their fly spies around, or when the Face is taking the lead in a meet up. It's just that character getting their spotlight for their speciality. That's normal and expected.

And a decker can't really do the remote dude-in-the-chair schtick anymore. Even if you can deal with the noise, which isn't usually that hard, the ubiquity of hosts means anything worth securing can have a Firewall of 10+ without much difficulty. If what you want is in the host itself, you're going to get opposed rolls that quickly outclass deckers in raw numbers. It is always better for a decker to get up close and plug into a slaved device. Runners should always look to come at a problem sideways and for deckers, that sideways is usually to get out the wires in your wireless world. But for them to do that, they frequently need other team members to help them, so not only does 5e bring deckers into the field by necessity, it brings other players into the matrix run. The sam can give them cover, the infiltrator can find them access, the Face can be a distraction to buy time.

Yeah, I've had sessions where the decker takes up a big chunk of time on their own to do some legwork and I've worked to try and reduce that a little more. But it in my games, it's just not the problem other people claim to have.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (02:14:44/03-07-19)
got to agree with a lot of the posts - deckkers take up a one to one isolated session for them to do stuff in the matrix - a solution could be to hire one in who will do their dekker thang remotely from the safety of the hotel room via some device the player runners cart around with them
This is something I keep seeing, personally, it just doesn't match my experience. I'm not accusing you of exaggerating or making anything up, mind you. It's just from where I'm sitting, the whole "other players go out and get pizza while the GM and Decker do the matrix minigame one-on-one" strikes me as a meme held onto since earlier editions and doesn't hold much weight in 2080 (we are up to 2080, aren't we?)

I'm not going to say Deckers are now integrated perfectly and there's never a time when a decker is the focus for an extended period. But the decker minigame just doesn't exist in my games, not like when deckers had to do a literal dungeon crawl every time they jacked in. Now it's more like when the rigger is spending time doing recon and sneaking their fly spies around, or when the Face is taking the lead in a meet up. It's just that character getting their spotlight for their speciality. That's normal and expected.

And a decker can't really do the remote dude-in-the-chair schtick anymore. Even if you can deal with the noise, which isn't usually that hard, the ubiquity of hosts means anything worth securing can have a Firewall of 10+ without much difficulty. If what you want is in the host itself, you're going to get opposed rolls that quickly outclass deckers in raw numbers. It is always better for a decker to get up close and plug into a slaved device. Runners should always look to come at a problem sideways and for deckers, that sideways is usually to get out the wires in your wireless world. But for them to do that, they frequently need other team members to help them, so not only does 5e bring deckers into the field by necessity, it brings other players into the matrix run. The sam can give them cover, the infiltrator can find them access, the Face can be a distraction to buy time.

Yeah, I've had sessions where the decker takes up a big chunk of time on their own to do some legwork and I've worked to try and reduce that a little more. But it in my games, it's just not the problem other people claim to have.

Glad its working out well for you. I have to ask, what are to doing to speed up all the required checks? Even something as simple as hacking a maglock directly has several rolls involved... Going through a network to hack a mag lock as several more rolls....

Now I fully agree the game has done a lot to speed up a lot from 3e and back.. but it still has a ways to go. And the other side of the coin is for some its not as rewarding as the other roles..

For example: your team comes into contact with a group angry gangers! What do you do!?!?
Pass 1:
Mage: I blast them with a fireball!!
Rigger: I command my drone swarm to lay down multiple zones of suppression fire!
Sammy: I Multi attack several with my Assault rifle!
Decker: I begin looking for hidden marks, so NEXT pass I can begin to hack, and then maybe the next round; Brick a gun!
Pass 2:
GM: "well, everything's dead"
Mage: I start scrubbing my aura!
Rigger: I send the drones out to recon the area!
Sammy: I reload
Decker:.... I hate my life.

Deckers/technos can be annoying in combat - ask any sammy that's had a gun bricked. (and Ask the Sammy how good it felt to beat the decker to death with the bricked gun! Its part of the story too :P)... But they don't offer that immanent gratification that other combat options have...
Heck it is for this very reason, "decker arm of doom" is a trope... because "Why deck when I can shoot! And I STILL get to deck when the door needs to be opened"... 
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (04:22:37/03-07-19)
Any Decker that didn't score marks in advance is a fool. -_- Anyway, the mages end up doing summoning rolls as well, which is 2 rolls and also takes prep time. And the Rigger commands drones, but that ALSO is a lot of rolls. So not sure why Decker is bad in comparison when it comes to taking some time for the 'minigame'. If anything, Riggers play minigames.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: neomerlin on (06:24:21/03-07-19)
got to agree with a lot of the posts - deckkers take up a one to one isolated session for them to do stuff in the matrix - a solution could be to hire one in who will do their dekker thang remotely from the safety of the hotel room via some device the player runners cart around with them
This is something I keep seeing, personally, it just doesn't match my experience. I'm not accusing you of exaggerating or making anything up, mind you. It's just from where I'm sitting, the whole "other players go out and get pizza while the GM and Decker do the matrix minigame one-on-one" strikes me as a meme held onto since earlier editions and doesn't hold much weight in 2080 (we are up to 2080, aren't we?)

I'm not going to say Deckers are now integrated perfectly and there's never a time when a decker is the focus for an extended period. But the decker minigame just doesn't exist in my games, not like when deckers had to do a literal dungeon crawl every time they jacked in. Now it's more like when the rigger is spending time doing recon and sneaking their fly spies around, or when the Face is taking the lead in a meet up. It's just that character getting their spotlight for their speciality. That's normal and expected.

And a decker can't really do the remote dude-in-the-chair schtick anymore. Even if you can deal with the noise, which isn't usually that hard, the ubiquity of hosts means anything worth securing can have a Firewall of 10+ without much difficulty. If what you want is in the host itself, you're going to get opposed rolls that quickly outclass deckers in raw numbers. It is always better for a decker to get up close and plug into a slaved device. Runners should always look to come at a problem sideways and for deckers, that sideways is usually to get out the wires in your wireless world. But for them to do that, they frequently need other team members to help them, so not only does 5e bring deckers into the field by necessity, it brings other players into the matrix run. The sam can give them cover, the infiltrator can find them access, the Face can be a distraction to buy time.

Yeah, I've had sessions where the decker takes up a big chunk of time on their own to do some legwork and I've worked to try and reduce that a little more. But it in my games, it's just not the problem other people claim to have.

Glad its working out well for you. I have to ask, what are to doing to speed up all the required checks? Even something as simple as hacking a maglock directly has several rolls involved... Going through a network to hack a mag lock as several more rolls....

Now I fully agree the game has done a lot to speed up a lot from 3e and back.. but it still has a ways to go. And the other side of the coin is for some its not as rewarding as the other roles..

For example: your team comes into contact with a group angry gangers! What do you do!?!?
Pass 1:
Mage: I blast them with a fireball!!
Rigger: I command my drone swarm to lay down multiple zones of suppression fire!
Sammy: I Multi attack several with my Assault rifle!
Decker: I begin looking for hidden marks, so NEXT pass I can begin to hack, and then maybe the next round; Brick a gun!
Pass 2:
GM: "well, everything's dead"
Mage: I start scrubbing my aura!
Rigger: I send the drones out to recon the area!
Sammy: I reload
Decker:.... I hate my life.

Deckers/technos can be annoying in combat - ask any sammy that's had a gun bricked. (and Ask the Sammy how good it felt to beat the decker to death with the bricked gun! Its part of the story too :P)... But they don't offer that immanent gratification that other combat options have...
Heck it is for this very reason, "decker arm of doom" is a trope... because "Why deck when I can shoot! And I STILL get to deck when the door needs to be opened"...

The biggest change I made was to make most decking rolls a threshold and not opposed. I can calculate results much faster and keep things moving. It is a little but noticeable difference.

Combat is a bizzare metric to judge how rewarding being a decker is. It isn't what they do and that is fine. Combats are usually over in a couple of turns and if the decker spends that time playing digital poker with the face and driver, while your samurai, drone rigger, and combat mage do the murdering... Okay. Seems fine to me. I would suggest players who want to kill stuff be physical adepts, not deckers. That said, if the runners are doing the job right and ensuring all combats are on their terms, the decker should be getting their MARKs before initiative is rolled for a fight. In my campaign, fights often start at the decker's signal. The physical team gets into physical position and the decker gets into digital position. The decker feels a lot less left out a and useless in combat when the run is going well. And if the run is not going well, nobody should feel good.

In any case, a more interesting comparison is the maglock, which can be resolved by similar non-combat types. There is one roll to open the lock casing, all would-be thieves must do this. Now a locksmith rolls to unlock the lock that is an extended test so is one or more rolls. A decker rolls to place a MARK and since the lock likely doesn't have a rating higher than 4 (and that is a good lock) a competent decker likely doesn't need more than one MARK, so she now rolls to Control Device and open the lock. In all it is at most one extra roll. Not a big deal.

But it is a huge benefit if that lock was slaved a host. Now the decker has easy access to every lock slaved to that host, and the cameras, and the data, and depending on security setup, possibly the commlinks, drones, and weaponry of security. The decker might now be well placed to get the team out of any fights.

But in this scenario, the samurai role is looking kind of left out and unsatisfying. But of course a particular role will feel out of place when it is... out of place. Sure a Samurai might have a tool for the job but it isn't what they bring to the team.

But stepping away from this idea of being unsatisfying again, and back to deckers taking up time, all of the above successful decking requires a decker on site and they can't be there on their own because they need somebody to at the very least guard their squishy (potentially unconscious) body. And GOD makes it impossible to deck too far in advance. The matrix side of any run must be physically and temporally adjacent to the meat space side of a run.

Some legwork can be done solo, but everybody does some leg work solo. Again, the decker isn't unique.

I readily grant that decking is often still time consuming and it has taken 5 editions and some personal house rules to get to this point, and we can still probably do better, but in my weekly experience, it just isn't the problem I hear about from other people.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Reaver on (08:14:52/03-07-19)
got to agree with a lot of the posts - deckkers take up a one to one isolated session for them to do stuff in the matrix - a solution could be to hire one in who will do their dekker thang remotely from the safety of the hotel room via some device the player runners cart around with them
This is something I keep seeing, personally, it just doesn't match my experience. I'm not accusing you of exaggerating or making anything up, mind you. It's just from where I'm sitting, the whole "other players go out and get pizza while the GM and Decker do the matrix minigame one-on-one" strikes me as a meme held onto since earlier editions and doesn't hold much weight in 2080 (we are up to 2080, aren't we?)

I'm not going to say Deckers are now integrated perfectly and there's never a time when a decker is the focus for an extended period. But the decker minigame just doesn't exist in my games, not like when deckers had to do a literal dungeon crawl every time they jacked in. Now it's more like when the rigger is spending time doing recon and sneaking their fly spies around, or when the Face is taking the lead in a meet up. It's just that character getting their spotlight for their speciality. That's normal and expected.

And a decker can't really do the remote dude-in-the-chair schtick anymore. Even if you can deal with the noise, which isn't usually that hard, the ubiquity of hosts means anything worth securing can have a Firewall of 10+ without much difficulty. If what you want is in the host itself, you're going to get opposed rolls that quickly outclass deckers in raw numbers. It is always better for a decker to get up close and plug into a slaved device. Runners should always look to come at a problem sideways and for deckers, that sideways is usually to get out the wires in your wireless world. But for them to do that, they frequently need other team members to help them, so not only does 5e bring deckers into the field by necessity, it brings other players into the matrix run. The sam can give them cover, the infiltrator can find them access, the Face can be a distraction to buy time.

Yeah, I've had sessions where the decker takes up a big chunk of time on their own to do some legwork and I've worked to try and reduce that a little more. But it in my games, it's just not the problem other people claim to have.

Glad its working out well for you. I have to ask, what are to doing to speed up all the required checks? Even something as simple as hacking a maglock directly has several rolls involved... Going through a network to hack a mag lock as several more rolls....

Now I fully agree the game has done a lot to speed up a lot from 3e and back.. but it still has a ways to go. And the other side of the coin is for some its not as rewarding as the other roles..

For example: your team comes into contact with a group angry gangers! What do you do!?!?
Pass 1:
Mage: I blast them with a fireball!!
Rigger: I command my drone swarm to lay down multiple zones of suppression fire!
Sammy: I Multi attack several with my Assault rifle!
Decker: I begin looking for hidden marks, so NEXT pass I can begin to hack, and then maybe the next round; Brick a gun!
Pass 2:
GM: "well, everything's dead"
Mage: I start scrubbing my aura!
Rigger: I send the drones out to recon the area!
Sammy: I reload
Decker:.... I hate my life.

Deckers/technos can be annoying in combat - ask any sammy that's had a gun bricked. (and Ask the Sammy how good it felt to beat the decker to death with the bricked gun! Its part of the story too :P)... But they don't offer that immanent gratification that other combat options have...
Heck it is for this very reason, "decker arm of doom" is a trope... because "Why deck when I can shoot! And I STILL get to deck when the door needs to be opened"...

The biggest change I made was to make most decking rolls a threshold and not opposed. I can calculate results much faster and keep things moving. It is a little but noticeable difference.

i'll have to try this.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (08:56:37/03-07-19)
Basically,  just have the opposition buy hits.  It in effect converts decking from opposed to thresholds.  But you can still "revert" to full opposition whenever the host is supposed to be a challenge.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Beta on (09:12:15/03-07-19)
I think one of the problems with decking is that any sort of moderately secure facility has a lot of security to get through, and deckers haven't had an 'AOE' attack.  Kill Code sort of brought one in, but I have to admit that I've not played with it yet.

I mean, typical case of coming in a door from the outside that is locked, decker has to deal with:
- that the door is actually locked
- the sensor that reports whether the door is open or shut
- the camera watching the outside of the door
- and if it off hours then probably a motion sensor inside the building that would a) notice the door opening and b) notice people coming in.

And that is security that is not uncommon now.  In the 2080 of the SR universe it would not be shocking for there to be more than one external camera with view of the door, another camera on the inside (quite possibly an IR one, not that the decker cares much), possibly a patrol drone roaming around, and possibly a microphone (the processing power for figuring out what is unusual noise is easy enough, and there isn't much concept of employee privacy), and possibly more.

And that is just to get inside the building. 

Which is a good argument for using some combination of social engineering and/or disguise+forgery to enter the front door during normal hours.  But you will still hit similarly layered security sooner or later.

I'm leaning towards the proper hacker route being getting into some sort of security agent and convincing it to ignore all of that, meaning that only a human happening to check those particular feeds would notice anything.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (09:42:10/03-07-19)
If players/teams are relying on hackers to get past locks, cameras, and motion sensors they're doing themselves a disservice by not familiarizing themselves with the rules for defeating maglocks and security sensors. (SR5 359-362)

Having a covert ops character who picks locks and sneaks past sensors frees the decker up to do other things.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (10:11:13/03-07-19)
Basically,  just have the opposition buy hits.  It in effect converts decking from opposed to thresholds.  But you can still "revert" to full opposition whenever the host is supposed to be a challenge.
I disagree with buying hits, unless players agree to also buy hits on matrix defense and that their defenses are then weaker because of the lower average. Simply doing a 1:3 threshold is more fair, and prevents extreme randomness.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (10:15:17/03-07-19)
Well, just as NPCs sometimes get to do things the players never are allowed to, PCs are presumed to win and NPCs are presumed to lose when they face PCs.  There's no equivalency between hosts/NPCs defending against PC deckers and PC deckers defending against NPC deckers.

Whether the NPCs buy hits at 1:4 or 1:3 has no impact on whether PCs should be prevented from rolling their matrix defense tests.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (10:19:55/03-07-19)
Well, just as NPCs sometimes get to do things the players never are allowed to, PCs are presumed to win and NPCs are presumed to lose when they face PCs.  There's no equivalency between hosts/NPCs defending against PC deckers and PC deckers defending against NPC deckers.

Whether the NPCs buy hits at 1:4 or 1:3 has no impact on whether PCs should be prevented from rolling their matrix defense tests.
If you are deliberately weakening the defenses of your NPCs, then the PCs should be weakened as well. A threshold is already plenty, forcing an NPC, which already has a weak device, to buy hits? Then the PCs need to pay a price for that luxury. Everything at a price.

If you don't like it, write weaker NPCs. But don't pretend it's fair to nerf only the NPCs.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (10:26:02/03-07-19)
Well it's not about fair.  If things were fair, it'd suck a whole lot more for players without benefit of the campaign story revolving around a presumption of them being successful in their adventures.  But that's a philosophical argument for another thread.

I never meant that players would be stripped of matrix defense rolls; just NPCs/hosts in order to speed play/simplify players' meta decisions about whether X hits were enough and if edge is required.

Extending the paradigm to players wasn't my suggestion, but I do grant that it's a neat way to handle the meta-OPSEC problems involved in players' matrix defense rolls against sneaky stuff like hack on the fly.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (15:17:47/03-07-19)
I never meant that players would be stripped of matrix defense rolls;
It's not about stripping. It's about your decision to make them buy hits on their defense tests. Because if you pull that, you should counter. Because your 'the game isn't fair to NPCs' argument does not apply to deliberately weakening what gear does when an NPC uses it.

Yes, players can do more than npcs. But asides from Edge use an Ares Alpha is just as deadly in the hands of an NPC as an equally-statted PC. An Armor Jacket doesn't magically soak more damage when a PC uses it just because they're PCs, it soaks more because they're more lucky. So making an NPC buy hits on a matrix defense test, turning 11 willpower+firewall dice into 2 hits instead of 3 or 4 like with a PC's average roll, is declaring that PCs are so special that equipment performs better when they use it. And at that point, you might as well do the same for the guns, and the armor, and everything else. Because there's no reason why Matrix Gear should be the only gear that performs at 75% when an NPC owns it vs when an equally-statted PC owns it.

If you think NPCs shouldn't be as good as players, give them worse stats and gear. But don't go arguing that PC superiority means gear magically performs worse in the hands of an NPC, and expect me to blindly agree with that 'because the game isn't fair'.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (15:26:57/03-07-19)
I'm not sure why you're appearing to get so heated Michael.

All I was saying is that having the opposition buy hits is in effect the same thing as transitioning matrix rules to a paradigm of threshhold based tests rather than opposed tests, and this is indeed a useful/good thing with regards to streamlining how much real-world time decking consumes.  And also that the transition can be abandoned just as easily as adopting it by simply resuming the opposed rolls.

Lets have an argument about the philosophical differences between PCs and NPCs elsewhere, ok?
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (15:39:28/03-07-19)
All I was saying is [..]
No you weren't. But if you truly believe 'There's no equivalency between hosts/NPCs defending against PC deckers and PC deckers defending against NPC deckers.' translates to that, there's no point in continuing.


Back to topic: If you're dealing with thresholds, I'd go with average dicerolls (rounded normally) for NPCs. No more risks of 'hey I rolled 6 hits on 8 dice, so enjoy wasting Edge to prevent triggering all opposition', without making NPCs way too weak. Just tweak the comms to deal with annoying numbers when you want as GM. I do like the mechanic: Goes much quicker, so a Decker could score those marks in a matter of 15 seconds.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (15:43:55/03-07-19)
Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with your being a self-appointed expert on what I was saying.  I suppose the rest of this conversation can continue in PM.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (15:45:26/03-07-19)
Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with your being a self-appointed expert on what I was saying.  I suppose the rest of this conversation can continue in PM.
Never said I'm a self-appointed expert. I was talking about your RAW, not your RAI. And please don't PM me if all you're going to do is try to lure out a flamewar.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: neomerlin on (16:08:04/03-07-19)
For the record, I have set the threshold at (Firewall/2) and (Dicepool/3) and the difference in play between the two was negligible. I settled on the latter. I also tend not tell my players thresholds before rolling so as far as I know the decker does not know beforehand how many hits she needs to succeed any more now than she did before. She just knows it is a threshold.

Other Personas generally still make opposed rolls to feel more like combat. It is just hosts, devices, and IC that have thresholds.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: PiXeL01 on (16:25:07/03-07-19)
Given the amount of rolls involved in hacking in general Iím inclined to change the NPC side of that to buying hits too, simply because all too often I have seen something which should be a simply task ruined by a GMs lucky dice roll.
This would be applied to to anything aside from ďbossesĒ of course or PCs throwing themselves at what should be very challenging endeavors. This will help especially Technomancers who then would not have to compile Primed Charge before each matrix action.
1-4 -> 1
2-8 -> 2
9-12 -> 3

I guess you could change the buy ratio to 3 instead of 4 for challenging targets.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:38:59/03-07-19)
If you combine the design of threshold benchmarks (pg 45) with the host benchmarks (pg 247) they pretty well line up with the results as if the host bought hits.
EDIT: I guess technically, they'd line up if you added +1 to the threshold value, since you need that NET hit.  Still, it satisfies my suspension of disbelief to call hacking a Stuffer Shack "Average" in a formal game mechanics sense, and your local Lone Star precinct "Hard".

Thresholds:
Easy 1 (corresponds to a host rating 1-2: Personal sites, pirate archives, public education)
Average 2 (roughly corresponds with a host of up to rating 4: Low-end commercial, private business, public libraries, small policlubs)
Hard 4 (represents 16+ dice, corresponds well with hosts up to rating 8 )
Very Hard 6 (hosts up to 10 or 11, the hardest stuff you'd normally attempt to hack)
Extreme 8Ė10 (the stuff off-scale hard for the chart on pg 247)
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (17:08:30/03-07-19)
Given the amount of rolls involved in hacking in general Iím inclined to change the NPC side of that to buying hits too, simply because all too often I have seen something which should be a simply task ruined by a GMs lucky dice roll.
But that's what makes the game fun.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: PiXeL01 on (18:33:42/03-07-19)
Being struck by convergence when you try to hack the library system even though you are throwing 16 dice isnít my idea of fun if it happens all the time.
ďThis is an easy target, low budget matrix SecurityĒ yet the Technomancer is left bleeding from all orifices and the deckerís cyberdeck is fuming and shedding more sparks than a greater spirits of storm in a thundercloud
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: neomerlin on (20:52:51/03-07-19)
because all too often I have seen something which should be a simply task ruined by a GMs lucky dice roll.
This, on top of speed, was one reason for the change. I like the inherent risk that comes from rolling dice, but too many times I watched a run quickly turn to drek because I rolled improbably well against the decker and now a whole system is on alert that it is being attacked/invaded. Without rebooting and starting again, it is difficult to come back from that.

As a general rule, unless PCs are going up against NPCs, I try and resolve things with rolls against thresholds. It is faster and it does tend to favour PCs making successful progress until they're in deep. Then if something goes awry, it tends to be a bigger and more dramatic disaster either because they made more progress before their luck ran out, or because there was an NPC involved and I think that should be more significant than computers and inanimate security.

That is a more satisfying, narrative in my view.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Hobbes on (21:56:30/03-07-19)
Buying hits for NPCs is a pretty standard way of speeding up the game.  If there is a Spider or something that the Decker is tangling with then roll dice. 

And Railroad your hacker player.  A lot of Players (IME) will tend to Hack stuff, just to Hack stuff, and then don't know what the hell to do with it.  Before they roll dice ask what they want to accomplish in a narrative sense, and spell out the mechanical steps for them.  "Okay to do that you'll need to make a Hack on the Fly, then Matrix Search, then Control Device." 

If the player doesn't have a Narrative goal, then give them a couple easy options and make it a multiple choice question.  And then spell out the mechanical steps for them.  After they do this a few times, they'll start to memorize the steps and dice pools and it'll click along quite fast.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (22:06:05/03-07-19)
Being struck by convergence when you try to hack the library system even though you are throwing 16 dice isnít my idea of fun if it happens all the time.
ďThis is an easy target, low budget matrix SecurityĒ yet the Technomancer is left bleeding from all orifices and the deckerís cyberdeck is fuming and shedding more sparks than a greater spirits of storm in a thundercloud
I'm torn between three responses on this one, so I'll give all three:

A) It sounds like your hackers don't know when to jack out.

B) Unexpected difficulties add challenge, drama and fuuuuuuun to the game.

C) You say "Technomancer is left bleeding from all orifices" like it's a bad thing.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: PiXeL01 on (22:15:04/03-07-19)
I was basically just stating an extreme example. Up to now we havenít had an instance of convergence because the two hackers on the team more or less jack out if spotted by security.

But that is my point: the hackers, who are supposed to be experts at what they are doing shouldnít be forced to jack out within 9 seconds of a hack, because of blind luck.

A combat samurai can shine from the beginning more or less in every case because NPCs in general are weak, so itís like bringing a bulldozer to a mudshack village.
But hackers they have to face even the lowest budget shop as if charging the worlds of a castle armed only with a spoon.

Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Overbyte on (21:15:02/03-08-19)
Given the amount of rolls involved in hacking in general Iím inclined to change the NPC side of that to buying hits too, simply because all too often I have seen something which should be a simply task ruined by a GMs lucky dice roll.

This sort of statement baffles me. I can't imagine letting my entire game be slave to a single die roll.
If something is going to turn out really badly for the players (or really too easy) I change it.
This is main reason I don't roll in front of my players. I never reveal their dice pools or their rolls.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (21:28:12/03-08-19)
Ah the old "behind the GM screen" shenanigans.

I used to love throwing a giant handful of dice behind my screen just to make it sound like the opposition had giant dice pools, but in reality I'd only be counting the red dice. or whatever.

Such tricks, and dice fudging, has become much less in fashion in modern RPG tastes though.  Some players even get upset if the GM fudges dice.
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Overbyte on (13:54:46/03-09-19)
Ah the old "behind the GM screen" shenanigans.

I used to love throwing a giant handful of dice behind my screen just to make it sound like the opposition had giant dice pools, but in reality I'd only be counting the red dice. or whatever.

Such tricks, and dice fudging, has become much less in fashion in modern RPG tastes though.  Some players even get upset if the GM fudges dice.

In reality, all GM's "fudge" and use "tricks" constantly to make the game fun and interesting, which is after all the whole point. Anytime the GM makes a decision about the plot that wasn't previously written down, one could say they were "fudging". And even if they did write it down it would be "fudging" to adjust for the player's capabilities. The whole point of even running a game is to make it fun and exciting for the players. When a single die roll in the opening moments of a fight obliterates the group, that is neither fun nor exciting, and therefore is just bad GM'ing since it fails at the task.

But.. as a another poster said "you do you"..
Title: Re: How much do you use the matrix in your games ?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (18:11:57/03-11-19)
I've had a Decker end up using 2 Edge because he was trying to score 2 Marks and then Trace Icon on six cheap commlinks and ended up with bad luck a few times. I also have rolled 5 hits on 6 dice and made summoners practically bleed as a result, so the same chances can easily apply forDeckers At that point threshold would be more reasonable, so only their own bad luck matters, not craziness in my rolls against them.

Automatically throwing all enemy pools to /4 seems too harsh though, but /3 should be plenty to balance things out.