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[SR5] Jammers

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martinchaen

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« on: (13:54:36/09-20-13) »
Two questions;

1. What actions does the Noise penalty produced by jammers affect?

a. Matrix only
b. Matrix and physical (i.e. any item with a wireless bonus)

Might be a silly question, as the Noise section is in the Matrix chapter, but seeing as how some devices need a Matrix connection to provide certain bonuses I was wondering if those devices would be affected as well.

This would be important in cases like the following scenario;
Say Character A (a street sam) carries a R6 Jammer set to not interfere with any of his own equipment. Character B (a decker) attempts to hack A's commlink (or smartgun, or whatever) in an attempt to cut off his Matrix access to slow A down.

The rules for jammers state that they can be "set [] to not interfere with devices and personas you designate.".
2. When hacking, is the hackers persona on the street sams device, and if so, would he be unaffected by the Noise created by the sam's jammer?

The above is a moot point to me if jammers only affect Matrix actions; a street sam (or adept) geared for close combat could then carry a jammer, run straight for the enemy hacker, and impose Noise on the enemy without (apparent) fear of reprisal, excepting the fact that  every single one of the opposing team will likely be throwing lead, mana, and/or electronic signals your way.

Thoughts?

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #1 on: (13:57:15/09-20-13) »
Clearly physical as well, because it's capable of cutting out wireless bonuses. If the non-distance Noise-Reduction reduced Noise exceeds the Device Rating, the wireless turns off.
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martinchaen

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« Reply #2 on: (14:17:46/09-20-13) »
Michael, see, that's what I thought sounded logical too. But I can find no reference in the book about it. In fact, the noise section on page 230 continually refers to "you and your target", implying that noise only applies when making a matrix connection to another device/node. Without making the game horribly complicated (where is the closest node I can connect to?), I don't see an easy way of implementing this mechanic on non-hackers/technomancers. Thoughts?

Examples against noise applying to anything but Matrix actions:
"The most common source of noise is distance from your target, but there are other causes, as listed on the table."
"To figure out how noise is affecting you, start with the noise level from real-world distance to your target and add the noise level from any other applicable situations, then subtract any noise reduction you are using."
"Any positive noise level you have left over is a negative dice pool modifier to your actions. Noise never applies to defense or resistance tests."

The first two specifically mention "you and your target". If a street sam is using wirelessly connected Hydraulic Jacks to run faster, what is the target in this equation? Furthermore, what if the same street sam is using wirelessly enabled Reaction Enhancers and Wired Reflexes; does he get the bonus to REA when defending against an attack (reaction + intuition defense test), but not when calculating initiative?

This seems hopelessly complicated.

Examples of noise counting against all actions:
"There are also spam zones and static zones to deal with. A spam zone has so much traffic (often commercial in nature) that everything gets processed slower. Static zones are areas with either a lot of electromagnetic blockage (like an underground tunnel, labyrinth of sewers, or ruins of a steel office building) or far away from civilization (the middle of a desert, the north pole, adrift in the Pacific, etc.)."

Then there's the table on page 231 that lists noise modifiers, titled "NOISE AND MATRIX USE", which can be read either way (matrix use being "matrix actions", or just anything that uses a matrix connection).

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #3 on: (14:28:48/09-20-13) »
Michael, see, that's what I thought sounded logical too. But I can find no reference in the book about it.
Page 421, Wireless Bonuses: "If there is a Noise Rating from a situation that is greater than the itemís Device Rating, not including distance, the item temporarily loses its wireless functionality (see Noise, p. 230)."

By the way, that's why it's interesting that Drones can run Cyberprograms: They can get 2 Noise Reduction that way.
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martinchaen

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« Reply #4 on: (14:43:46/09-20-13) »
Aha! Thanks! :D

EDIT:
Wait, so does that mean that a device slaved to a commlink uses the commlinks device rating, or it's own?

And how does that impact the hacker scenario? Does the noise affect his node (aka his link or deck or whatever), or the node he's in (i.e. my cyberware, or my commlink if the 'ware is slaved to the link)?

Jeeez, some of these rules are hella complex...

EDIT2:
And what options do we have to reduce Noise? A data jack seems like it would be a ubiquitous piece of gear for a street sam as a last line of defense. The sattelite uplink specifically states that it only reduces noise from distance, so seems like that's out... Programs can't be run on commlinks, allegedly, so Signal Scrub is out except for the team hacker. Anything else?

EDIT3: I also find the wireless bonuses on page 421 odd, given the statement on page 237; "Matrix actions are special because certain rules apply to them, like noise and the Overwatch Score." Noise obviously applies to other things as well, so why mention it specifically?
« Last Edit: (15:06:33/09-20-13) by martinchaen »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #5 on: (15:03:09/09-20-13) »
I think Slaving merely means you get to use their attributes vs defense, but still use your own device rating. Thus a Noise rating of 3+ means non-Wired smartguns stop working. (Unless you got the Smartlink in its Scope I guess?)

There was a statement by Aaron on whether Noise is on side A or B once but I forget what it was.

There's a cyberprogram providing Noise Reduction, which is useful for Drones. Maybe use a spydrone for communication measures?
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martinchaen

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« Reply #6 on: (15:13:59/09-20-13) »
Hehe, yeah, all of the above would suck for a street sam.

If you cannot use another devices rating for noise calculation, a cyber-heavy street sam could easily be slowed/hindered by a 600 nuyen R3 jammer, or an 800 nuyen R4 jammer if he has a datajack.
Furthermore, If the noise has to apply to the device being hacked as opposed to the hackers devices, the street sam cannot use a jammer himself, as it would hinder his own gear.
And Signal Scrub on a drone would still be subject to other sources of noise level...

To my mind, this definitely needs to be included in errata;

1. Does noise from a jammer affect hacking if the device is excluded from the jammer? (i.e. the jammer affects the hackers persona on his own device, but does not count double for being on the devices of both the hacker and the hackers target)

Xenon

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« Reply #7 on: (15:36:54/09-20-13) »
in SR5 wireless have higher I/O speed / bandwidth than wires.
if you wireless connect a device with your DNI you often get a wireless bonus
if you connect your device with your DNI with a wire you don't have enough I/O speed / bandwidth to get the wireless bonus.

A jammer increase noise.
Noise reduce speed/bandwidth.

If you have more noise than your device rating then you don't have enough speed/bandwidth to get the wireless bonus. The still transmit wireless information and still receive wireless commands (the device still "work"), it is just the wireless bonus that is shut down by high noise. In the case of a smartgun / smartlink you would still get ammo levels, ammo type, heat buildup, and material stress (which give you +2 accuracy) and you can still use the on-board mini-camera to shoot around corners for -3 without exposing yourself - you just have to spend a simple action to eject clip or change firemode and you don't get + dice pool bonus to all attacks with the weapon.

So to answer your question:
Noise might affect matrix actions (if it exceeds noise reduction) and if high enough it will also remove wireless bonuses from physical devices.

I am pretty sure that situational noise (such as a jammer) affect deckers at the physical location of their deck or at the physical location of the device they are trying to access. Situational noise does not affect deckers if it is between the deck and the target (except in very rare situations); signals will be routed along a less noisy route to and from the destination. The decker is affected by the highest situational noise rating (at the deck or at the target location).

A jammer set to not affect a physical device still affect a decker trying to hack the physical device unless the decker is physically attached to the device with a cable. Noise never affect the ability to defend. So a jammer set to jam everything will also affect the decker but it will still not reduce a device's defense pool against matrix attacks (but in this case it might jam the device's wireless bonuses if it have any).


The options you have as a decker to reduce noise are
1) using a wireless data jack -1
2) running signal scrub cyberprogram -2
3) using a satellite link (let you connect from static zones and limit noise due to distance to max +5)

(Riggers with an RCC have multiple options to reduce noise)



re. matrix actions.
Noise and overwatch score does not affect resonance actions.
« Last Edit: (16:10:07/09-20-13) by Xenon »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #8 on: (15:44:15/09-20-13) »
in SR5 wireless have higher speed/bandwidth than wires.
if you wireless connect a device with your DNI you often get a wireless bonus
if you connect your device with your DNI with a wire you don't have enough speed/bandwidth to get the wireless bonus.
That sounds rather like balooney, honestly.  The device itself must be online, yes, but it's not a blind matter of bandwidth.
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Xenon

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« Reply #9 on: (15:46:13/09-20-13) »
1. Does noise from a jammer affect hacking if the device is excluded from the jammer? (i.e. the jammer affects the hackers persona on his own device, but does not count double for being on the devices of both the hacker and the hackers target)
the device icon is excluded and does not suffer noise. The decker persona icon is not merged with the device icon and will suffer noise.
The only two exceptions where a decker persona actually is merged with the device are:
1) if the decker got a control rig headware, the device have a rigger interface, the decker have 3 marks on the device and is jumped into the device.
2) if a decker use the device to jump into the matrix (this is normally his cyberdeck).

martinchaen

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« Reply #10 on: (15:47:20/09-20-13) »
Thanks, Xenon, that's kind of where I'm at.

However, I'm less concerned about how a decker reduces noise compared to how anyone else does it. If what you say about jammers are true (they can affect the decker at the deck location), then my samurai could potentially use a jammer with wireless on to exclude his own gear to introduce noise to the decker (if he is close enough to him).

Also, how the hell does the noise rules make sense for devices with wireless bonuses? So if a Rating 4 jammer is in play in Chicago where the background noise is 2, any device not excluded is going to be affected by Noise 6, enough to disable alphaware wireless bonuses. However, that same noise is NOT enough to affect the device when it's being hacked? Huh?

I'm certainly going to be carrying a jammer at all times, that's for damned sure... Talk about nerfing wireless bonuses, when you can basically "turn off" wireless bonuses of gear worth tens of thousands of nuyen with an 800 nuyen jammer and a short sprint...

EDIT:
Michael, seconded.

Xenon, source for that statement? I'm having trouble finding rules that specify how noise affects a persona on another device.

Xenon

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« Reply #11 on: (15:49:14/09-20-13) »
That sounds rather like balooney, honestly.  The device itself must be online, yes, but it's not a blind matter of bandwidth.
It might be, but I will stick to it until I hear a better fluff explanation why you don't get the same benefit if you connect the device to the matrix with a wire...

Do you have a better theory Michael?

Xenon

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« Reply #12 on: (15:53:19/09-20-13) »
However, that same noise is NOT enough to affect the device when it's being hacked? Huh?
A device does not add situational or distance noise modifiers when taking a defense test against a matrix attack for the same reason you don't add environmental modifiers (like heavy rain or glare) when taking a defense test against a ranged attack...
« Last Edit: (15:56:08/09-20-13) by Xenon »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #13 on: (16:04:51/09-20-13) »
Yes, my theory is "we made it like this to give Hackers more openings to hack people through", like they stated in their development blog.

As for fluff explanation: I/O is the lengthiest part of calculations, having to constantly communicate with a serial device will not give you the fast calculations you need and you'll have to constantly write stuff, making it hard to run your math. Now being able to run the math in parallel means you can get more data processed than with your own device. Unfortunately, if it has to be run through a wire protocol, you are involving multiple layers of communication and thus get a delay that no longer is in time to get things done, since you are then using 4 I/O steps rather than 2.

@Martin: The background noise is only 2 in the CZ, not in all of Chicago, and Jammers reduce in rating in range.

By the way: You should carry a jammer with you anyway, since that way you can block wireless grenades. Doesn't help against motion sensor grenades though.

As for wireless bonuses: I still consider part of them utter bullcrap that shouldn't be in the game to begin with. -_- Smartguns, Laser Sights and Visual/Audio Enhancements included.
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Xenon

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« Reply #14 on: (16:09:51/09-20-13) »
Fair enough.

Edited my post to:

in SR5 wireless have higher I/O speed / bandwidth than wires.
if you wireless connect a device with your DNI you often get a wireless bonus
if you connect your device with your DNI with a wire you don't have enough I/O speed / bandwidth to get the wireless bonus.


:D
« Last Edit: (16:17:46/09-20-13) by Xenon »