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[SR6] Sanity check: Hacking scenarios

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #30 on: <10-11-19/1917:51> »
On Probe, your net hits are represented as a dice pool bonus to a Back Door test which may occur at some point a few hours hence.
The main point of the probe action is to successfully find an exploit to begin with. This is what takes time. And to be successful you only need a tie.

I agree that additional net hits will act as bonus dice on your backdoor entry test later (which might be useful) and since the test is resolved as an extended test you might as well keep rolling as long as you don't hit 40 OS.

But if your total net hits are 0, then the Probe mechanically still gives you no actual benefit.  Are you thinking there's a benefit to Probe beyond giving you bonus dice to a Backdoor Entry test?


Quote
And I have no idea what you're talking about with Matrix Perception.  I can't imagine how 16 dice are turning into 136 dice, nor how Matrix Perception factors into Probe in the first place.
There are only two actions in the entire book that have the format (Extended, x Minutes)

One action is Probe
The other is Matrix Search (not Matrix Perception).

Matrix Search have nothing to do with gaining illegal access to a host, but if the Probe action is really resolved as an Extended Test then so is Matrix Search action.

Matrix Search is not opposed. You just count net hits and compare it to the Legwork table on p. 70

If I have a dice pool of 13 dice then I will in practice have a dice pool of... 91 dice

First attempt 13 dice
Second attempt 12 dice
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Since this is a legal action there is no risk of convergence so I might as well always roll 13 times (or 91 dice) when using matrix search.

Buying hits on 91 dice give me little more than 20 hits. Twice as much as I need to find deep secrets others actively try to hide and other rare knowledge only available to a select few. I will always get 10 hits. Every Single. Time.

And again, the Host is rolling Firewall x2 against you in each interval of the Probe.  And as Banshee indicated, the intent is that the Host's pool is NOT reducing each interval, even though yours is.  You roll X Dice vs Fx2.  You might get zero, or less than zero, net hits.  Next interval is X-1 vs Fx2.  After that X-2 vs Fx2.  Just because you can buy 20 hit doesn't mean you're buying 20 NET hits.

Example, Probing a Firewall 9 Host, you have 16 dice:
Interval 1: your 16 dice results in a lucky 10 hits.  Maybe you spent edge or something.  Host gets an average result of 6 on 18 dice, you have net 4 hits.  You can sit on that and be happy, or push your luck.
Interval 2: your 15 dice results in a more average result of 5 hits.  Host again gets an perfectly average result of 6.  Lol.  A "net success" of -1.  You're down to 3 net hits now.  Press your luck, or be happy?
« Last Edit: <10-11-19/1928:47> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Xenon

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« Reply #31 on: <10-11-19/1943:27> »
But if your total net hits are 0, then the Probe mechanically still gives you no actual benefit.  Are you thinking there's a benefit to Probe beyond giving you bonus dice to a Backdoor Entry test?
You need to take a successful probe action (at least score a tie) before you can even attempt a backdoor entry action in the first place.


You might get zero, or less than zero, net hits.
Wait? Are you saying that if host get 2 more hits than me on the first attempt and we tie on the second I still need to get at least two hits to even reach a tie? This also mean that if you are at negative net hits by your third attempt you might as well just give up and start over. Even when applying Trying Again you will at least be in a better situation. This is quickly become one the strangest extended test I ever seen..... This test probably need a chapter of its own just to clarify how you resolve it :D


Just because you can buy 20 hit doesn't mean you're buying 20 NET hits.
Note that I was talking about Matrix Search here. Not Probe.

Matrix Search is using the same Extended test mechanic as Probe
But Matrix Search is not an "Opposed" Extended Test.
Matrix Search just count hits. There is no host opposing Matrix Search.

It is also not an illegal action which mean there will be no overwatch score. Before you reached 10 hits on the Legwork Table on p. 50 there is also no reason to not keep rolling (other than perhaps the fact each that new roll "cost" 10 minutes).


I refuse to think this is intended :-)
You don't have to.  But the guy who literally wrote the rule just said as much.
To be honest I still seriously think that the format of the action and the rules in general make a lot more sense if the test is resolved as a regular single opposed test that just have a one minute duration (and even more so that Matrix Search is resolved as a single simple test that have a 10 minute duration).

But Banshee was pretty clear on the matter. I will respect his response. No problem :)

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #32 on: <10-11-19/1949:42> »
It's probably in the spirit of Banshee's intent that a result of less than zero just counts as zero for your running total.  Otherwise it just gets weird if you start off with a terrible result you'll never dig out of and want to "start over".
« Last Edit: <10-11-19/1952:51> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Banshee

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« Reply #33 on: <10-11-19/2011:48> »
Actually it is part of the push your luck aspect of the probe ... if you fail at any point you lose your progress and have to start over .. if you take the time to log off and rest there is practically no fallout except for the time spent but still it is still a factor of at what point do you go for it or not
And not that it matters now but the original duration on probe was an hour so that's a lot of time to lose

As for the matrix search ... I feel that is a case where wites got crossed and really should just be a simple test that takes longer than a single action
« Last Edit: <10-11-19/2018:21> by Banshee »
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ZeroSum

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« Reply #34 on: <10-12-19/0013:40> »
A lot to take in over the last few pages. A couple of notes for my own benefit:
1. Probe as an extended test could benefit greatly from a designer's note, perhaps in a larger FAQ document
I do not believe that Errata is needed for this topic as there aren't really any mistakes per se, but the fact that we now have over two pages of discussions mostly revolving around how to resolve Probe as an extended test should provide ample proof that the rules as written entry is not inherently clear. That being said, thank you to Banshee in particular for chiming in; as always, your input is greatly appreciated!

Conclusion: As per Banshee, Probe can be performed as an Extended test without a threshold; the opposed roll is made for each attempted Probe action and determines the threshold for that specific test. Subsequent tests will incur a -1 dice pool penalty on the attacker, but not on the defender.

2. Matrix Search could benefit from clarification, a re-write, or house ruling
As Xenon points out, and Banshee alludes to, Matrix Search is in an odd position. As a non-opposed Extended test with no threshold, a player character could quite easily obtain enough hits to exceed the highest threshold for information on the Legwork Results table that the action itself refers to. While GM fiat/house rules could easily be implemented to make it more difficult to find deep, dark secrets, this does not alter the fact that the rules for Matrix Search is potentially a mistake or oversight.

Conclusion: Something for the change blindness thread, perhaps? Not sure if this qualifies as errata, per se.

On a personal note, I think Probe and Matrix Search would both have been better off as a simple or opposed tests; there is precedent for simple tests with duration greater than a Major Action; Medkit Healing comes to mind as an obvious example of this. The current hybrid approach of an extended/opposed or extended/non-opposed with no threshold test is, as far as I can tell, unique.

3. The lines between Initiative, Matrix Initiative (both AR and VR), and Astral Initiative are somewhat blurred and could benefit from a designer's note.
With all actions (physical, astral, and Matrix) happening simultaneously in one unified initiative system, it seems obvious that questions will arise regarding how the various initiative systems combine, whether they are in fact discreet systems at all, and what the intent is regarding various initiative boosters and their interactions with each other.

Conclusion: While 'ware and adept powers explicitly state that they do not stack with other initiative boosters, drugs and the Increase Reflexes spell do not. It is, however, highly likely that the intent is for these systems to be separate, otherwise you end up with odd interactions like wired reflexes affecting your initiative in the Matrix or the Astral.

4. Legal Admin access
This one is my bad; I should have more clearly defined that I was talking about "illegal admin access that does not count as such for the purposes of accruing overwatch score". It was just less cumbersome to write "legal admin access" is all. While I think the distinction is purely semantics from a game mechanics perspective (having legal admin access to your own device does not alter the legality of illegal Matrix actions you would make with said access), I agree that it is worth making the distinction from a conceptual point of view.

Conclusion: There is no such thing as hacking your way to legal admin access. Successful Probe and Backdoor Entry actions instead yields illegal admin access that does not count for overwatch purposes.

Before I move on to the next scenario I do want to question this particular statement by Banshee:
[...] if you fail at any point you lose your progress and have to start over [...]
While this may have been your intent while writing the rule, it does not seem to be supported by the text of the current rules implementation. Perhaps you could elaborate on what you mean by "if you fail at any point"?

Here is the first paragraph of the Probe action:
Quote
You probe a device for weaknesses, looking to gain access. You take your time not to alert any security to your presence, and you can create an exploit that may last until you are ready to use it. While not as fast as using Brute Force, Probing a device does not raise an alarm automatically. Even if your attempt initially fails, it will not trigger an alarm unless major mistakes are made. Systems and devices will not detect your presence until you have gained access to them. By Probing a device, you can create a lasting backdoor to the system.
I've emphasized what I think is the most relevant section; this clearly states that even if you fail (i.e. achieve no hits) an alarm is not triggered. The rule as written does not mention losing progress you may have made during preceding Probe attempts in any way, and neither do the the core rules for Extended tests mention anything about reversing existing progress.

I could certainly see a glitch (and especially a critical glitch) causing your Probe to fail, or for previous progress to have been reversed, but I think we need to more clearly define what you mean when you say "failure" compared to what the rule itself considers as such.

Again, thank you to all who've contributed so far. It's been illuminating. Tomorrow I'll tackle my next practice scenario: Brute Force, Data Bombs, and Format/Reboot Device.
« Last Edit: <10-12-19/0018:31> by ZeroSum »

Xenon

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« Reply #35 on: <10-12-19/0408:49> »
On a personal note, I think Probe and Matrix Search would both have been better off as a simple or opposed tests; there is precedent for simple tests with duration greater than a Major Action; Medkit Healing comes to mind as an obvious example of this. The current hybrid approach of an extended/opposed or extended/non-opposed with no threshold test is, as far as I can tell, unique.
I agree.

Rather than introducing a completely unique and unprecedented  "extended-opposed-test-without-threshold"-mechanic that is not used anywhere and not described anywhere in the book it would be a lot more streamlined, easier to understand and easier to explain for new players if the test was just a regular opposed test that take a minute to complete. That would also mean that matrix search would be a regular simple test that take ten minutes to complete and where net hits from the test is used on the legwork table directly. It also does not seem to require any errata at all. Smooth.


Here is the first paragraph of the Probe action:
Quote
You probe a device for weaknesses, looking to gain access. You take your time not to alert any security to your presence, and you can create an exploit that may last until you are ready to use it. While not as fast as using Brute Force, Probing a device does not raise an alarm automatically. Even if your attempt initially fails, it will not trigger an alarm unless major mistakes are made. Systems and devices will not detect your presence until you have gained access to them. By Probing a device, you can create a lasting backdoor to the system.

Just wanted to note that even this would fit well if probe was just a regular opposed test with a duration of 10 minutes as if you failed your initial attempt to probe you will not trigger an alarm and you may immediately spend another 10 minutes using Trying Again (or wait a few hours, or even until the next day, to attempt again with a full dice pool).


Again, thank you to all who've contributed so far. It's been illuminating. Tomorrow I'll tackle my next practice scenario: Brute Force, Data Bombs, and Format/Reboot Device.
No, thank you!

Keep them coming. I love dissecting matrix scenario threads :-)
« Last Edit: <10-12-19/0808:19> by Xenon »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #36 on: <10-12-19/0622:29> »
Not all information you can find with a Matrix Search, some things people know but aren't available in the public grid. Keep in mind that anything inside corporate Hosts will be off-limits, and people often keep things offline too. So honestly, I don't see the problem in that if you dig long enough, you can discover everything that's publicly available. You still won't get everything. Compared to the SR5 system, it's much more friendly to the hackers.
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Banshee

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« Reply #37 on: <10-12-19/0916:07> »
We were actually discussing this recently and will be addressed in the FAQ, sovyes I fully agree it comes across as too vague.

Couple of things that came up during that discussion that particularly pertains here. When you fail at any single point during a probe action you lose all progress and have to start over, but only a glitch would actually raise an alarm. That means you also lose any net gained on previous checks in the test ... that's part of the risk. Also of particular note that if you log off and reset you also lose and progress and have to start over.
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ZeroSum

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« Reply #38 on: <10-12-19/0936:59> »
We were actually discussing this recently and will be addressed in the FAQ, sovyes I fully agree it comes across as too vague.

Couple of things that came up during that discussion that particularly pertains here. When you fail at any single point during a probe action you lose all progress and have to start over, but only a glitch would actually raise an alarm. That means you also lose any net gained on previous checks in the test ... that's part of the risk. Also of particular note that if you log off and reset you also lose and progress and have to start over.

Thanks!

ZeroSum

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« Reply #39 on: <10-12-19/1215:11> »
Another day, another scenario.

Scenario 2 - Seek & Destroy: Hack a device and disable it.
This time we're going in guns blazing; the target of our hack is a street samurai's cybereyes, and our goal is to blind them to stop them from attacking our friends.

Right off the bat we have two choices; go with Data Spike to damage the hardware, or use Brute Force and Format Device/Reboot Device or Control Device. I'll split these up in three sub-scenarios, because I think there are some important variables to consider. A few assumptions will be made that are common to all three scenarios:

Assumption 1: The cybereyes are wirelessly enabled. Obviously, the hack won't work without this core foundation.
Personal note: I can't actually find a reason why you would run your eyes wirelessly. There are no bonuses to be gained but many obvious risks, so from a game mechanics perspective why would a PC ever do this?

Assumption 2: The cybereyes are slaved to the samurai's PAN, and are Rating 4.
While not explicitly specified, we can (safely?) assume that the Rating of the eyes are equal to their Device Rating, which is used to determine their Matrix Condition Monitor. In this case, DR/2 + 8, for 10.

Assumption 3: The hacker has enough initiative for 1 Major Action and 4 Minor Actions
Whether through hot-sim VR or AR with initiative boosters, we just need the +3d6 total dice to get here.

Question 1: If the eyes were not slaved to a PAN, what would their Firewall be? Would the owner still apply their Willpower to defend against a data spike, for example, or just the device rating?

Scenario 2.1: Raw Matrix Damage
Turn 1:
Major Action: Data Spike
Major Action: Data Spike

Result: The Matrix attributes of the hacker will determine Matrix damage. The cheapest deck has A/F 4/3 while the most expensive is 9/8, and base DV is Attack/2 so base DV will range from 2 to 5. Causing enough damage to brick the device in a single attack is mathematically improbable; modified DV would need to be 11+ in order for enough damage to be inflicted assuming a Willpower of 3 for one probable success on the damage resist test. This means you would need 6+ net hits on the attack test.

However, with 2 attack actions your base DV is 5+ net hits - damage resistance; even a mere 2 net hits will be enough to brick most device rating 4 or lower devices.

Action economy: Possible, though improbable to accomplish in a single Major action. Usage of Overclock and Fork exponentially increases odds of success as well as action economy.

OS: No user or admin access required; 1-2 illegal actions performed so +X from defense tests, and most likely modified by hacking programs for additional +2. Even with Fork, you could potentially perform this routine 6-10 times before your overwatch reaches the high 30s (average 1 defensive hit per 3 dice, +1 per action, +1 per action modified by hacking program for 3-5 per attack on average against Willpower 3 + Firewall 2).

Pros: Device is permanently bricked until repairs can be performed. OS accrued is relatively low, as no user or admin access is required. Action economy is good, especially if Fork is used.
Cons: If the device/PAN is running Biofeedback Filter, this can (somewhat oddly) be used to resist Matrix Damage; a troll could more easily resist the damage inflicted this way
I personally think this is a mistake in the description of Biofeedback Filter; it seems more likely that this should only be applicable when Biofeedback damage is inflicted (stun or physical), and not generic Matrix damage

Scenario 2.2: Format Device
Turn 1:
Major Action: Brute Force
Major Action: Format Device

Turn 2:
Major Action: Reboot Device

Result: The device "loses all wireless modifiers but can still be used as a normal mechanism". It is unclear what this means, precisely; the examples are a door handle can still be operated manually, and a gun with a trigger can be fired. In this case we are dealing with cybereyes with no wireless modifiers, but if "shuts down for good" doesn't mean that the eyes are no longer working then this whole scenario is moot.

OS: +3 after turn 1 for illegal admin access, +X for defensive hits, +1 per illegal action, +1 per action modified by a hacking program. With three actions over two turns needed, you're looking at at least 6+X+1+(3) for a minimum of 10 (Format and Reboot Device are both legal actions)

Pros: None?
Cons: The ambiguity of what exactly "format device" does and what "wireless modifiers" actually pushes this option solidly into GM fiat territory. Action economy is worse than just flat out bricking the device, and you are more likely to accrue more OS as a result of having to gain illegal Admin access and spend more actions which means higher potential for defensive hits.

Scenario 2.3: Format Device
Turn 1:
Major Action: Brute Force
Major Action: Control Device

Result: Control Device states that one of it's uses is "including turning the device off if you have Admin access". However, no action is given for what it takes to turn a device back on; Reboot Device gives us an indication that when a device reboots it "comes back online at the end of the following combat round". Potentially, then, this action could be used to turn off a device which forces the opposition to spend actions (minor or major may be up to GM?) to turn it back on, and then wait for the end of the following turn before the device is actually back.

OS: +3 for illegal admin access for one round, +x for defensive hits, +1 for illegal action, +1 per action modified by hacking programs.

Pros: Action economy is similar to bricking the device with data spike; may force opponents to spend their own actions to react (controlling the flow of an encounter)
Cons: Results are non-permanent


Overall conclusion: this type of scenario has actually made me appreciate Data Spike for it's beautiful simplicity. It's direct, it's aggressive, and it cannot easily be reversed once enough permanent damage has been inflicted.

Of the three, I think format device has the least immediate use in a combat encounter, but I could see other uses for this action that are more insidious (most often used with Probe and Backdoor Entry so the hack isn't immediately obvious; hack a bunch of guards' commlinks and set them to format when they reboot in the hopes that they do so during a guard shift, for example).

Control Device deserves an honorary mention; I think the ability to force your opponents to react to you instead of taking the initiative can be quite invaluable. Unfortunately, this relies heavily on GM interpretation of the Matrix at a conceptual level, as using Control Device to crash a car off a cliff or eject smargun clips or any other action you can think of depends on your GM's decisions for how exactly this impacts the game world.

Question 2: One option I did not explore was using a data bomb; unfortunately, I'm just not sure what kind of options can be used here. For example, could I data bomb a smartgun so that when someone uses the targeting data the bomb goes off unless the correct code is supplied first? I could see all kinds of hilarious uses of this, but even more so than Control Device the interpretation for "what constitutes reading a file" is made entirely up to the GM.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #40 on: <10-12-19/1232:55> »
Just replying to the Data Spike portion in this post:

Assumption 1: Smartlink would be the most likely reason.  You could run a cable from your eye to the gun perhaps, but that looks funny.  Likewise, if you have obvious cybereyes yet they're not broadcasting on the matrix, security might see that as suspicious.  Of course, if you wanted to be in AR, your eyes would have to be wirelessly enabled as well or else your image link won't be giving you any visual AROs.

Assumption 2: I don't think it's safe assumption at all that Rating corresponds to Device Rating.  It's an unfortunate omission that suggested Device Ratings was left out, but still I'd recommend using 5e's yardsticks until such time 6we gives something explicitly different.  So, the cybereyes should (IMO) have Device Ratings compared to their grade rather than rating.  Probably DR 2 for standard grade.

Question 1: no firewall stated = Firewall 0.  Pays to protect stuff you don't want hacked. Or, like you opined, turn the wireless off if at all feasible.

I don't see anything to quibble about on the mathemetics on the Data Spike.  Although I do want to point out that in 6we there's a very important new aspect to Matrix damage: it applies penalties.  So if you Data Spike say a gun or drone, and only do 6 damage, you may not have bricked it but you're still imposing -2 dice from the damage!  Harder to say what -2 dice to using Cybereyes would mean, but surely it'd at least apply its penalty to Perception tests.

« Last Edit: <10-12-19/1239:41> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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« Reply #41 on: <10-12-19/1342:17> »
Because it's happened twice, I'd like to do a math correction on buying hits with an extended dice pool.

13 dice is an extended dice pool of 91 dice.  It it is 3+3+2+2+2+2+1+1+1+1+0+0+0 = 18 purchased hits At 4:1, not "over 20".

Mind, it's still a lot. But the difference could wind up mattering.
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #42 on: <10-12-19/1351:36> »
Given glitch chances which are bad for extended tests, it's unlikely people risk the low pools anyway, since at that point the GM might decide a roll is required due to glitch chances. But yeah, 1 hour will indeed net you 14 hits anyway if you're buying with a pool of 13. Buying with a pool of 12 will still net you 12 hits in 1 hour. At 11, you can reach the important 10 in 1 hour by buying.

A small asides: At 7 dice, glitch-chances are 1/57 and crit-glitch 1/244. Those are still passable odds. At 5 dice we're at 1/28 and 1/74, so the chances your GM wants an actual roll go up.
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Xenon

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« Reply #43 on: <10-12-19/1507:39> »
My point was that you will reach 10 hits easy. Every. Single. Time. Not really to focus on the math. Having said that, with 13 dice (which is not that much to be honest) you will most likely reach 10 hits after 40 minutes. Even if you buy hits.

On phone so my formatting will probably suck. Will comment on items in order. One by one.

The device rating table is missing in SR6, but at least in SR5 the device rating of augmentations were tied to grade (alpha, beta, delta etc) which was used for things like matrix condition boxes.

A reason to keep your eyes wireless enabled and working in concert with DNI and a wireless enabled smartgun is to gain a positive dice pool modifier to your firearms skill.

In previous edition device rating was generally equal to firewall. In this edition devices generally don't have a firewall at all, unless they are protected by a network.

Fork let you attack two icons with one major action. It does not let you attack the same icon twice.

(Scenario 2.3 description is a copy pasta mistake from 2.2)

Not at book but to turn augmentation that are connected via neutral interface (not to be confused with DNI) used to be a free action, and in this edition it is probably a minor (probably the Switch Device Mode Anytime Action)..


Michael Chandra

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« Reply #44 on: <10-12-19/1557:07> »
Let me ask: Is it a problem a Decker can basically find anything that is located online in publicly accessable places, as long as they take their time for it? Basically, should this be foremost a matter of time and secondarily a matter of skill, or solely a matter of skill?
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