the Fear of everything

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« on: (15:19:01/02-03-18) »
So I tried to set the tone of the game world for my players, 3 of which have never played before and 2 who are old vets. I got deep into the pervasive technology and security, the depth of double and triple lives hidden behind fake ids and false data. I apparently did too good a job because I created a bunch of folks terrified of everything and afraid to take action because of this invisible boogey man they have created for themselves, as such Ihave to deal with the following

1- They constantly are turning their devices off and on and often insist on conducting large sections of missions while, making coordination and reaction to changing events impossible. They do this because they think that at any moment a decker will apparently, instantly be able to destroy all their cyberware and weapons as well as hack their device and find out all their info.

2 - They constantly bail on actions because they might have been seen by some camera, some where at some time and the team's decker wont risk hacking any devices to prevent this because the second they do everyone on the planet will apparently know what they are doing and the aforementioned decker, as well as an army of troll mage mercenaries will descend upon them instantly and rain down fire death and destruction upon them.

3 - Every enemy, no matter how they are described, scanned or found is too big a threat to tangle with and the team immediately runs for the hills, jacks out and goes crying into their safe space..

I've repeatedly attacked these assumptions with both scenarios, rules explanations and even going so far as to suggest tactics to avoid the thing they fear. Sadly it has had minimal impact. I don't understand.. My players are acting as if their characters were plucked from their cushy corporate wage slave jobs and thrust into the shadows, naked and without any skills, gear or contacts.. I fear I have broken them. Can anyone relate?


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« Reply #1 on: (16:30:51/02-03-18) »
Yeah, I can. It's a problem with the paradigma change that 4e brought with it.

You have to start with the basics: The game Shadowrun is build around Shadowrunners. Shadowrunner exist and are successful at performing Shadowruns. Everything else has to flow from there.

- Show them how inefficient many of those systems are, how underpaid security guards would rather hide inside their safe room then to engage heavily armed runners, how many actions it actually takes to detect and hack someone's PAN.
- Give them contacts that can help them take care of any indiscretions they might have committed (A contact at the local KE can make video evidence and eye witness testimony vanish in the wrong data storage, a fixer finds them a bunch of fall guys that have no problem going to prison for them, etc.)
- Show them that the corps on the whole are cheap bastards that undermine their own security through overworked and underpaid guards, unsafe access privileges for execs and a generally over extended and under funded police force, that's more interested in filling quotas with quick result through busting small time shoplifters than investigating a break in at some corp lab that isn't even in their own jurisdiction.

Get them to watch the 2012 movie Dredd with Karl Urban as Judge Dredd. It perfectly shows how in the over crowded cities of the sixth world criminals can operate despite the sophisticated tech the powers that be possess.
talk think matrix

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« Reply #2 on: (21:01:35/02-03-18) »
a couple of suggestions for alleviating their fear of the matrix boogeyman:

stress to them the action economy involved in hacking their shit.  First, the hostile decker has to realize they're within reach by noticing that there's silent running personas.  Then the decker has to succeed on a test to spot their silent running icons.  Then the decker has to get some marks on their stuff if he wants to do anything other than immediately start throwing data spikes... and odds are he'll want some marks anyway in order to make the data spikes more effective.

That's 3 passes before the sparks start literally flying out of one of their electronics.  It's a free action to shut off the wireless functionality, so that'll be the end of that 9 times out of 10.  Odds are very slim of being bricked all at once out of the blue.

Beyond the poor action economy in hacking the team's gear, the team can purchase an agent to run on someone's commlink.  A humble rating 3 is enough to just matrix perception everyone's everything over and over, buying at least 1 hit to see if there's any new and unexplained marks on anything's icon.  Even if the team has no hacker character, they can very cheaply use that agent as an early warning system to realize when they start to get hacked subtly.


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« Reply #3 on: (01:35:57/02-04-18) »
OK, so you got them deep into the Lore... and that is not a bad thing. Now you have to explain to them what that all means and how they live in that world.

First off, Cameras.

Yes, they are every where, and photograph everything constantly.. that's just the way things are. But that doesn't really mean anything as that is still thousands of man hours to search through even if you know the exact time of a crime. Its not a case of 1984 where if a single camera sees them, then every one, every where knows it. Its more like today, many of those cameras are private security cameras of businesses and Corps... and cars of private citizens, and vending machines looking for repeat customers... All of which just don't hand over anything to anyone without a warrant.
Now, having your face on a Renraku Office camera mowing down the night shift accounting department is very a good thing, it only means Renraku has that footage, Not the Police... So don't shop at a Renraku products store for say, EVER, and you're going to be ok...


Everyone has it, everyone leaves it everywhere. And unlike in CSI where they go from a gooey glob of glowy stuff to a Life sentence in 42 minutes, DNA takes time to process, like weeks. Now you leave enough of your self at crime scenes, enough agencies* are going to build up a profile, but that is the end game of you surviving getting arrested... Provided they even try to arrest you. So don't worry about it.

And most Importantly: Law Enforcement.
Law Enforcement is a FOR PROFIT business. Meaning there are several corporations out that bid on the business of enforcing the laws of the city/state/government. And you the tax payer get exactly what you pay for! Which means, not a whole lot when you break it down. In one of the books they list out just how many hours a sample crime got, and it was pathetic. It was something like 13 man hours of stolen property. Meaning they would only actively investigate the case for a total of 13 man hours (a single day for a 2 man squad), before a new case was assigned.
So what this means is, the more lower the Runners keep their profile the more chance they go unnoticed. They avoid mass shooting, building collapsing, chemical agent spreading mayhem from downtown, the less time they have to hide out waiting for some other scumbag to occupy spot light.
Also note that even the "AA" and "AAA" mega corps have their own security and law officers. They are entitled to thanks to extra-territoriality! But that doesn't mean they share what they know with the local law enforcement, and vise versa. Shoot a guy at Neo-Net, and make it to the sidewalk and Neo-Net can't do anything. Shoot someone on the sidewalk and make it into Neo-Net, and the local police are screwed! At least until some hasty phone calls are made and some arrangements are made. But there is no guarantee that they will be, especially if the two Corps naturally hate each other, or you have paid some bribes.

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.


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« Reply #4 on: (05:39:02/02-04-18) »

Everyone has it, everyone leaves it everywhere. And unlike in CSI where they go from a gooey glob of glowy stuff to a Life sentence in 42 minutes, DNA takes time to process, like weeks. Now you leave enough of your self at crime scenes, enough agencies* are going to build up a profile, but that is the end game of you surviving getting arrested... Provided they even try to arrest you. So don't worry about it.

Not to mention there are a few easy ways of not leaving DNA behind.  Since you're wearing clothes and probably gloves also (to avoid fingerprints), you just have to wear a balaclava or motercycle helmet (which you probably want to do anyway to avoid almost all facial recognition cameras as well) to avoid shedding any hairs.  If you don't start spitting or throwing sigarette ends around, they amount of material they can collect for DNA testing should be insufficient (you need a certain amount of material before you can run a test).

Besides, budgets being what they are and DNA testing being quite expensive, they're not going to do that for anything short of assault or higher.  So if you stick to crimes that are under the 13 man hours that Reaver mentioned, there will be no budget for a DNA test.  If you start shooting everybody in sight, they will make the budget.
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« Reply #5 on: (11:29:35/02-04-18) »
I do have a counterpoint to bring to the DNA discussion...

It doesn't take weeks/lots of resources to do a DNA identification in the setting.  DNA can be instantly (or in as few seconds as to be good as instant) be verified against your SIN or Fake SIN if the checker is rating 5+ (SR5 pg 368).  Granted, that's a binary check consisting of "does the sample match this one DNA file associated with the presented SIN?".. while checking "what DNA does this sample match out of ALL the SINs out there in all the registries" is obviously an exponentially more complex task.  But still it boils down fundamentally to a very specific data lookup, which shouldn't take TOO long given how powerful computing has become in 2070s.

Just off the top of my head as an example about DNA identification, in CMP 2010-02 Carbon Copy the plot hinges on the runners finding a blood sample to identify a killer.  Once the DNA "fingerprint" has been collected, for the purposes of that plot it takes 2 hours for an appropriate contact to come up with the killer's SIN, and a bribe of 400 =Y= covers the contact's costs/risks involved in performing the query on the SIN databases. Now whether the resources required for the police to perform a DNA lookup can (or should) be extrapolated from that one example are admittedly debateable, and I don't mean to lead us off into that tangent.  My bigger point here is that it requires a LOT less time and resources than it does IRL to pull a name out of a drop of body fluids.

That being said however, I do want to close out with strong agreement about the importance of not giving a reason for the For-Profit Police forces of the Sixth World to prioritize investigating the Runners' crimes.  Even if Lone Star or Knight Errant can pull your SIN within 2 hours while only spending 400 =Y= out of a hair you didn't know you left behind, the principle still stands that they are less likely to bother doing so if the Runners only embarassed corp security.  Granted, the Corp itself may be more motivated to learn who's DNA was left in their research facility that got Shadowrun'd than the Police will, but even then so long as the runners were professionals the Corp might just prefer to retain the demonstrated services of capable Runners.  Extra-judicial revenge ops don't help the bottom line afterall, even if they are occasionally used (or threatened) to keep the Shadow community paranoid and honest.
« Last Edit: (11:34:02/02-04-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »


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« Reply #6 on: (11:36:58/02-04-18) »
One thing to assure the players could be to explain that, for the most part, the enemies in the game still have to stick to what the rules say are possible.  If your hacker actually knows how to do anything in the matrix, they'll know what an enemy decker would have to do.  Also, telling them to have everyone slave their commlinks to the deck and have the deck running a R4+ Agent with instructions for the agent to regularly use Matrix Perception to check for any unknown marks on the device.  There; the decker's paranoid can hopefully calm down.
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Jeeze.  It would almost sound stupid until you realize we're talking about an immortal elf clown sword fighting a dragon ghost in a mall.

« Reply #7 on: (11:43:24/02-04-18) »
Oh yeah one more thing about SINs:

Runners are normally presumed to be SINless... that's why it's a negative quality to actually have one :)

If you're SINless, feel free to leave DNA samples all over anything you like (although keep it PG-13 in FLGS games!).  It doesn't matter if your DNA is collected and checked because if you're SINless it will just come back as "no associated SIN".  If you're a chronic headache for the police or perhaps one specific Corp (you have a high Public Awareness and/or Notoriety score) that entity MIGHT begin a dossier on your SINless DNA in case you ever are caught in the future... but that just goes back to reinforcing the point of "act like a professional on your Shadowruns".
« Last Edit: (11:46:07/02-04-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »


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« Reply #8 on: (14:03:11/02-04-18) »
The urban patchwork of extraterritoriality is another factor. Think of any book, movie, or TV episode where the plot involved complications caused by an embassy or diplomatic immunity. Now crank that up to eleven. Every property owned or leased by a megacorp (or recognized subsidiary) is sovereign territory. Imagine the jurisdictional nightmare that would exist in a typical shopping mall. Not to overlook the actual embassies and consulates for all the countries that have interests in the area.

Official requests for cooperation, access to locations, even surveillance data are wrapped in all kinds of bureaucratic red tape; they could take days or weeks to process, depending on how accommodating the corp feels like being, and half the time they'll be rejected anyway. And when the for-profit police force itself is a megacorp (Lone Star) or megacorp subsidiary (Knight Errant), corporate rivalry ensures that cooperation actually becomes less likely, not more.


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« Reply #9 on: (15:28:52/02-05-18) »
Imagine the jurisdictional nightmare that would exist in a typical shopping mall.

A small point of correction, if only because I happened to read some source material on it recently.

This is from 1993's Corporate Shadowfiles, which I am currently reading because I have a bit of a backlog:

>>>>>[For people who wonder where to shop safely, most normal malls don't count as extraterritorial corporate turf even though corporations own them, because most malls don't meet Legal Begal's requirements of continuity and contiguity. Westlake Center, Southcenter and the rest aren't extraterritorial. The Renraku Arcology Grand Arcade is extraterritorial, because it's inside the arcology. Get it?]<<<<<
   -VickiD (17:24:29/4-14-54)

And, to wit, here is Legal Begal's explanation:

>>>>>["Continuous and contiguous" means the area involved must be recognizable as a single area distinct from its surroundings. Throw up a fence around a tract of land, or lease an entire floor of an office building, and it's "continuous and contiguous." As long as you can see some kind of intuitively obvious distinction between corp property and surrounding territory, like "the tenth floor as opposed to the ninth floor" or "all the offices that can only be reached via the Gaeatronics lobby," the area qualifies as extraterritorial. A hypothetical Yamatetsu rep who shares a bullpen style open office with reps from other corps couldn't claim her desk is extraterritorial, because you can't see a clear distinction between her territory and everyone else's. It sounds complicated, but the "intuitively obvious" rule makes a good guideline.
   "Recognized" means the area must have official and public recognition as a corp territory. For example, MCT can't open up a secret office under the name of a local sole proprietorship and then claim extraterritoriality for it. It's not recognized as MCT turf, so it doesn't get those benefits.
   "Long-term" means an official lease must exist, signed by a duly authorized officer of the corporation. A couple of court cases tried to hash out exactly how long the lease has to run to qualify, but the corp has to have the lease with the officer's signature. That means a Renraku suit can't stand in the middle of his living room just as Lone Star goons kick down his door and claim his apartment is Renraku corp territory. That's how extraterritoriality works.]<<<<<
   -Legal Begal (17:38:00/3-18-54)

Any errors are my own because I have to manually transcribe things.

Anyhoo, don't mean to derail an interesting discussion. Good input, everyone.

« Reply #10 on: (15:42:10/02-05-18) »
It's also of note that even when a AAA mega owns a subsidiary, such as a consumer goods brand/chain of the sort you'd find in a shopping mall, they don't necessarily exercise extraterritorial rights.  For example Aztechnology the king of consumer schlock, but it's going to be more expense than it's worth to exercise those rights on Tex-Mex restaurants and trendy clothing stores that they own.

Sometimes even the high-security targets don't have legal extraterritoriality, because enforcing that status is a tipoff of which mega owns said facility.  Sometimes that's something they're deliberately trying to keep secret.


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« Reply #11 on: (18:35:25/02-08-18) »
Have their magician, if they have one, pick up the sterilize spell from street grimoire and spells such as imp. Invisibility, Trid phantasm and maybe spells such as chaff, chaotic world. ..etc. There are many magical aids that will hinder detection or identification.