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How much do you use the matrix in your games ?

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Seras

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« 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
I apologise for my posts beeing weird to read, I am fluent in english, but almost never write in english anymore :-(

Nebulous

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« Reply #1 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. . . .
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wraith

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« Reply #2 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.

Reaver

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« Reply #3 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.
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Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #4 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.
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 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.

Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #6 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.
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PiXeL01

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« Reply #7 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 Code’s 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.
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PMárk

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« Reply #8 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.
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #9 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!

Reaver

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« Reply #10 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.)
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Mustakrakish

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« Reply #11 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.

Reaver

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« Reply #12 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.
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #13 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.

Beta

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« Reply #14 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)

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