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How much do you use the matrix in your games ?

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #15 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".

RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Ducharme

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« Reply #16 on: (08:07:13/01-31-19) »
How exactly can you mitigate it through GM Craft btw?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #17 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!".

« Last Edit: (10:43:48/01-31-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Tarislar

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« Reply #18 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.

farothel

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« Reply #19 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'.
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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #20 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.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #21 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 :)
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

CanRay

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« Reply #22 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.
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #23 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. :)

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #24 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.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Overbyte

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« Reply #25 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.
Nothing is foolproof. Fools are so ingenious.

Reaver

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« Reply #26 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!)
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mcv

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« Reply #27 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.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #28 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.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #29 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.
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