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PAN Icon. Why is it a thing?

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« on: (17:43:31/12-10-18) »
A few recent threads  (particularly here and here) have got me re-examining the Matrix rules with a critical eye, going over things I thought I already knew.

Something I found is that of the 6 types of matrix icons, IC is not one of them as I thought.  Apparently IC have Personas.. but more to the point: to my amazement I realized PANs are one of the six possible matrix icon types.  And in reading up on PANs as a matrix icon as opposed to a wireless functionality, I've just been becoming less and less sure how they work. As matrix icons.

So, here's another "how does it work" thread...  A PAN icon is neither the master (a Persona icon) nor the slaves (device icons) but it's prima facie that it must have something to do with a PAN... so WTF is it, matrix-wise?

As a point of illumination, here are some questions I can't answer:

1) I presume, but I can't find confirmation, that the PAN master must be the piece of gear running the PAN icon.  Your commlink isn't both a device and a persona (only a persona!) but there is precedent for your cyberdeck to run multiple icons (your Persona, and your Agent's Persona).  So presumably, it's possible for your commlink to run both your Persona icon and your PAN icon?

2) What physical gear, if any, suffers Matrix Damage/gets Bricked by matrix attacks on the PAN icon? Hell, what do you use for values for a PAN icon to defend against matrix actions?  (if I'm correct on #1, I guess it has to be your PAN master device)

3) What's the rules purpose for PAN icons even existing as distinct from the Persona icon?  There's no provision for marks flowing upstream from PAN icon to Persona icon like there are for marks on slaved Devices up to Persona... plus there appears to be no mechanical reason to ever hack a PAN anyway.. you'd just hack the Persona (master of PAN) or the Devices (slaves in PAN).
« Last Edit: (18:33:22/12-10-18) 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.

Hobbes

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« Reply #1 on: (19:40:45/12-13-18) »
AFAIK PAN/WAN is simply describing the Master/Slave relationship between Persona and Device Icons.  PANs and WANs don't have an Iconic representation in the Matrix that I've ever seen described and I can't think of a mechanical reason for there to be one. 

Honestly I don't think you would know if a Device is in a PAN without a Matrix Perception test, and using one of your questions. 

Not everything in the Matrix is Icons, the little wisps of data that zing around between things aren't Icons.  PAN/WAN would be something like that. 

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #2 on: (20:08:16/12-13-18) »
Quote from: SR5 pg 218, Population of the Matrix, 1st Sentence
Every icon in the Matrix is one of six things: a persona,
a device, a PAN, a file, a host, or a mark.

Aside from that one instance, no crunch appears to ever revisit the PAN icon.

Even the description of the PAN icon (SR5, pg 219) has a curious formatting deviance from the other 5 Icon types to make it easy to think that the PAN Icon discussion is a subset of the Device Icon description.

I'm guessing the easiest thing to do is just ignore PAN icons, and treat the matrix for all intents to only have 5 icon types rather than 6.
« Last Edit: (20:09:57/12-13-18) 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.

DeathStrobe

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« Reply #3 on: (00:04:52/12-14-18) »
I was once upon a time trying to rewrite the Matrix a bit.

Anyway, life got in the way and they never asked me to work on Kill Code so I stopped working on it.

Anyway, aside from my person rewrite and simplification of the Matrix to make the persona the PAN icon, by RAW, a PAN is just a collection of icons/files/random-matrix-data abstraction. If you need to access someone's personal music file, it exists on the PAN, which is for abstract purposes the master icon.

Hobbes

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« Reply #4 on: (21:06:15/12-14-18) »
Quote from: SR5 pg 218, Population of the Matrix, 1st Sentence
Every icon in the Matrix is one of six things: a persona,
a device, a PAN, a file, a host, or a mark.

Aside from that one instance, no crunch appears to ever revisit the PAN icon.

Even the description of the PAN icon (SR5, pg 219) has a curious formatting deviance from the other 5 Icon types to make it easy to think that the PAN Icon discussion is a subset of the Device Icon description.

I'm guessing the easiest thing to do is just ignore PAN icons, and treat the matrix for all intents to only have 5 icon types rather than 6.

How 'bout that.  PAN Icon.  Reading closer, it looks like Denial of Service (Kill Code p. 37) can Target a PAN Icon even.  That's the only example I can find. 

Neat.  And I don't know what a PAN Icons stats would be. 

I'm going to keep on ignoring them, don't tell. 

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 on: (22:18:27/12-14-18) »
So I had an epiphany.  That answers problems in both this and another thread:

So, I had one of those epiphanies that are only possible while you're out for a walk.

Over in another thread I've been trying to juggle what the heck is the purpose of a PAN icon, what since commlinks run Persona icons and Devices run Device icons.

And it hit me that one answer works for that thread AND this one:

Commlinks are in PANs, but maybe Personas aren't in PANs.  The PAN icon is the matrix representation of a PAN, run by the master device.  It can still be a commlink, even if the commlink is also/simultaneously running a separate Persona icon. There is precedent in the rules for a comm device running multiple icons (Agents, AI, etc) so there shouldn't be any reason why a commlink can't run a Persona icon AND a PAN icon. It quite clearly can run both a Persona and a PAN at the same time, afterall.

So the line "PANs consist only of devices" actually CAN be read as a crunch term without problem. The SR5 quote "When is a device not a device? When it's a persona!" (pg 234) still works.  The commlink "is" a persona when the issue at hand relates to the persona, and is still simultaneously a device in other contexts... such as when powered off, not in active use, and when serving as the PAN master device!

So, for the purposes of this thread:

A PAN icon makes sense if you reconcile things stored on your Commlink like your Music files and so on are accessed/hacked via the PAN icon rather than the Persona Icon!
« Last Edit: (22:22:51/12-14-18) 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.

jtnlange

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« Reply #6 on: (09:35:56/12-15-18) »
Found something interesting

Core pg 219

    Most individuals have multiple electronic devices on them at once, and having icons for each one show up would provide too much visual clutter in the Matrix. Often, what shows up instead is an icon representing an individual’s personal area network. This icon often looks similar to the physical device that serves as master for the network, such as a commlink... if an individual is carrying a wireless-enabled gun—or any other wireless device that might kill you—it will show up separately so that it can be identified rapidly.

Bolded I think may answer the question of what a PAN icon is.

Does that help?

Trevor
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #7 on: (19:19:32/12-15-18) »
Found something interesting

Core pg 219

    Most individuals have multiple electronic devices on them at once, and having icons for each one show up would provide too much visual clutter in the Matrix. Often, what shows up instead is an icon representing an individual’s personal area network. This icon often looks similar to the physical device that serves as master for the network, such as a commlink... if an individual is carrying a wireless-enabled gun—or any other wireless device that might kill you—it will show up separately so that it can be identified rapidly.

Bolded I think may answer the question of what a PAN icon is.

Does that help?

Trevor
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #8 on: (19:16:45/12-27-18) »
There's a sidebar in Kill Code on page 22 that actually greatly helps illuminate the purpose of PAN icons for me.

PAN icons, like marks, aren't "stand alone" but they are the two icon types that only exist as attachments placed on another icon.  So PANs are "stuck" on to your Persona, not their own really independent icon.  The stuff relating to your PAN are in fact partitioned from your Persona into the PAN icon.
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.