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Matrix Walkthrough

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MTCE

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« on: <03-08-20/1046:51> »
I'm aces at combat, social, and magical stuff in SR6. In my mind, I "get" these concepts. My difficulty is conceptualizing the Matrix. Has been since I started playing 30 years ago. I have a brain for history and humanities, not hardwires and high-res graphic whatevers. What I would *dearly* love is a walk-through/how-to for all things Matrix. Samples of data steals and other Matrix operations against individuals, corps, single devices, and hosts. Does such a thing exist anywhere?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <03-08-20/1220:39> »
I don't believe such a thing exists... but if it did, it'd only apply to a certain edition at best.  Matrix rules are something that change every edition, and usually it's not a minor change.


In SR6, we keep the wireless paradigm that started in 4th. Everything from your commlink to your car to your can of Dragon Piss energy drink all are Devices and communicate on the Matrix and can therefore be hacked.  Naturally, the business/industrial-grade computer networks run by the corps can also be hacked.

What's new to SR6 is the process is basically boiled down to 2 steps: 1) Gain the access you need in order to do the hack, and then 2) do the hack.  Much of the time it's no more complicated than 2 rolls. 9+/10 if you want to do an illegal matrix action, it's: compare AR to DR, then roll Cracking + Logic and if you want to do a legal matrix action it's compare AR to DR, then roll Electronics + Logic.  Note that doing illegal matrix actions results in Overwatch Score (see pg. 176)

Example: Let's say you want to destroy a Sec Guard's gun so he can't shoot you with it.
1) Gain the access you need: Data Spike (pg. 181) is possible when you only have Outsider status, so you don't even need to hack you way "in" to the gun. This step isn't even necessary.
2) Fire away with the Data Spikes (see the Step-By-Step on pg 175). First compare your Matrix Attack Rating to the defender's Matrix Defense Rating. If one is 4+ higher than the other, that side gets a point of Edge.  Next you roll Cracking + Logic, the Sec guard rolls Data Processing + Firewall of the device protecting his gun.  If you get more successes, you do damage.  If you fill the gun's Matrix Condition Monitor, you "brick" the gun and it's a useless beyond being a paperweight now.  And note that new to SR6, even if you do damage but don't brick it, the damage imposes penalties just like wound modifiers on a physical CM (see pg. 174).  Finally, you gain Overwatch Score because Data Spike is an illegal action.  You gain +1 OS for every hit on the roll to resist your Data Spike, +1 more OS for any illegal cyberprogram you used to augment your Data Spike (see pg. 184)

Example: Let's say you want to tap the comms network and listen to the Sec Guard's radio chatter to see if they realize your team has broken into the building.
1) Gain the access you need: the Matrix Action you plan to execute is the Snoop command, which requires Admin access.  Much like in 4e/5e, you can gain the access you need via brute force or via stealth.  Presumably this is a case where you want to not tip off the Sec Guard that "something is happening" to his commlink, so let's assume stealth.  That means Probe, and then Backdoor Entry.
Probe (See pg 183): Compare AR to DR, and distribute Edge. Then you roll Cracking + Logic vs the Sec Guard's Willpower + Firewall. You gain OS equal to the hits rolled against you.  You gain net hits as a bonus to the next step.
Backdoor Entry (see pg. 180): Compare AR to DR, and distribute Edge (whoever got one before should be getting one again). Then you roll Cracking + Logic + your net hits from Probe vs Sec Guard's Willpower + Firewall.  If you are successful you now have Admin access to his commlink, and you gain OS equal to his total hits on this test, too.
2) Do the hack: To listen to his radio chatter, you need to Snoop (see pg. 184).  Again compare AR to DR and distribute Edge, then roll Cracking + Logic vs Sec Guard's Logic + Firewall. If you're successful, you can listen in or even record the radio chatter.

Example: Let's say you want to hack a maglock so it opens the door barring entry into a restricted area:
1) Gain the access: What you want is Spoof Command (see pg. 184), and it can be done as an Outsider so no hacking is required to get "in".  (although note that it is possible for a Maglock's matrix signal to be hidden inside a Host, and you might have had to hacked you way into THAT to even target the maglock...)
2) Hack the lock: To send a fraudulent order to the lock commanding it to "unlock", compare AR to the defending host's DR and distribute edge as necessary. Then you roll Cracking + Logic vs Logic + Data Processing.  Note that an undefended lock will have 0s in both stats, and is a pretty easy hack! So, the lock "should" at least be defended by the host even if it's not hidden inside it.  Also note that Hosts don't have Logic, and will still have a 0 in that stat unless there's a Spider in the host! If you're successful, the lock pops.  Whether you're successful or not, you gain OS since Spoof Command is an illegal action.

Example: Let's say you want to get into a host so you can look around for a piece of information that's not being publicly shared to the matrix at large (Mr Johnson's Paydata, the home address of the branch manager, the secret ingredient that makes NERPS so addictive, etc)
This is a more complex procedure than the prior examples, as they were all basically 1 task "hacks", not including gaining the access necessary beforehand.  For something like this you need to a) get into the host, then b) find the data, and then c) steal the data.
a1) Get the access to get into the host: The Enter Host (see pg. 181) action can be done on certain hosts as outsiders, but not always.  Virtual Storefronts, Libraries, etc are happy to let the public in so they can do business, but presumably the paydata you seek is secured on a private host.  Let's say that only authorized Users can get in, so that's the level you need to illegitimately gain. Probe/Backdoor is covered upthread, so let's presume this is something you want fast, and don't particularly care if they know you were there because you plan to be out before they can do anything about it!  This calls for Brute Force (see pg 180). Compare AR to DR and distribute edge.  You roll Cracking + Logic and the host rolls Willpower + Firewall.  Again, Hosts don't have mental attributes, so Will is 0 unless there's a defending Spider, in which case that's subbed in.  If you're successful, you now have User Access to the host. Either way, your OS score is increased by however many total hits the defense test had.
a2) Do the thing!  You have User Access, so you can execute the Enter Host action. There's no test required, so this is automatically successful without a roll.  Note that your kicking the door in probably put the IC and spider on alert, so act fast!
b1) To find the data, you're going to execute a Hash Check (see pg. 182) matrix action.  Note that it requires User access, but you already have that.  You already have the access you need to start sniffing around!
b2) Do the hack! To find the file you need, roll Electronics + Logic as a basic Success Test (i.e. nothing rolls against you, and there's no AR to DR comparison). If Mr Johnson (or your prior legwork) gave you technical information about the file you need, the threshold is (1). OTOH, if you know the file "must be here" but that's all you have to go on, then instead the threshold is (4).  If you meet the threshold, you have identified 32 potential files that could be the one you seek.  For every net hit ABOVE the threshold, you halve that number. 1 net hit reduces 32 to 16, 2 net hits down to 8, and etc.  To narrow it down to 1 possible file means you had to have had 5 net hits over the threshold.  Note that you can perform successive Hash Check actions if the number of possible files is unreasonably high; net hits accumulate across multiple Hash Checks!
c1) get access to hack the file.  This require the Edit File matrix action (see pg. 181). Depending on the file in question (i.e. GM whim) a given file might require either User OR Admin access, depending on how tightly restricted it might be.  Since you already have User Access in this example, you're good there.  If the file is restricted to Admin access, another Brute Force is in order to raise the access level.
c2) Do the hack! Compare AR to DR and allocate edge. Edit File is Electronics + Intuition vs Host's Firewall + Sleaze. If you are successful, you can copy, change, or even delete the file in question. Also note that as a legal action, no OS accrues.
Note: Important files will probably have encryption and/or data bombs, and if so those will have to be dealt with before the Edit File action can be taken.
Also note: in this example where you kicked the digital door in, you may have spiders and/or IC trying to fight you in cybercombat.  You may ALSO be interested in finding the host's security logs (repeating the Hash Check action described above) and then editing them to erase the recordings of your hacking actions before you leave!
« Last Edit: <03-08-20/1222:53> 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, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

MTCE

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« Reply #2 on: <03-08-20/1414:00> »
You are. Officially. My hero.  :)

MTCE

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« Reply #3 on: <03-08-20/1417:00> »
Oh...say your persona takes Matrix damage, or you do from Black IC, is there any "soak" roll like rolling Body in combat when you get hit? I see Biofeedback Filter allows use of Device Rating or Body to soak Matrix damage, but what if you're not running that program. Do you just have to take it?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #4 on: <03-08-20/1710:04> »
Ok, so basic matrix damage(like from Data Spikes, Killer IC) is covered on pg. 179 and works like this:

The attack is resolved to deal X amount of Matrix Damage.  You resist that with Firewall.  Those hits are subtracted from X for a final damage that is applied to the Matrix Condition Monitor.  Remember, that every 3 boxes of matrix damage imposes a cumulative -1 die penalty.

Biofeedback matrix damage is resisted by Willpower instead of Firewall, and is applied to your character's Physical or Stun CM (depending on circumstances) rather than Matrix CM.  If you're running Biofeedback filter, you can add Body or Device Rating to Willpower.

In the specific case of Black IC, they inflict BOTH matrix damage AND biofeedback damage.  Bad juju!


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

MTCE

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« Reply #5 on: <03-08-20/1738:08> »
I'm working from the first printing book that was purchased at GenCon last year. My copy doesn't have any information about resisting damage with Firewall or Black IC hitting the device *and* the hacker's meatbody. Am I missing errate/reprint info?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #6 on: <03-08-20/1814:50> »
I'm working from the first printing book that was purchased at GenCon last year. My copy doesn't have any information about resisting damage with Firewall or Black IC hitting the device *and* the hacker's meatbody. Am I missing errate/reprint info?

You are.  There's been some fairly significant errata since that 1st printing of the hardcopy.  The most recent reprint is from January 2020, but it's only available in digital format thus far. 

There is a resource here that at least has the August 2019 errata in a changelog style format, but sadly no related doc is available yet for the January 2020 errata.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Bishophawk

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« Reply #7 on: <03-09-20/0028:07> »
How do you determine which damage is matrix damage and which is biofeedback damage?

penllawen

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« Reply #8 on: <03-09-20/0735:41> »
What's new to SR6 is the process is basically boiled down to 2 steps: 1) Gain the access you need in order to do the hack, and then 2) do the hack.
Is that true? Letís look at your examples.

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Example: Let's say you want to destroy a Sec Guard's gun so he can't shoot you with it.
So, per your write up, the 6e process is

1. Compare AR & DR for Edge
2. Roll the data spike opposed test

In 5e, the data spike roll is the same, but there is no step 1. Data spike does not require any marks in 5e (although it does do bonus damage if you have some.)

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And note that new to SR6, even if you do damage but don't brick it, the damage imposes penalties just like wound modifiers on a physical CM (see pg. 174).
Which means more stuff for the GM to track; this is the opposite of streamlined.

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Example: Let's say you want to tap the comms network and listen to the Sec Guard's radio chatter to see if they realize your team has broken into the building.

6e:
1. Compare AR/DR & roll a probe opposed test
2. Compare AR/DR & roll a backdoor entry opposed test
3. Compare AR/DR & roll snoop opposed test
5e:
1. Roll a hacking opposed test to get a mark
2. Roll a snoop opposed test

Itís not clear to me you can run Snoop with 1 mark, but itís not clear you canít, either. If you need more, you may need to repeat the first step in 5e, or take a penalty to the first roll.

Having said that, in either edition, why canít Spoof Command be used to add your commlink to the guardís network and snoop that way? I have little grasp of what the intended limits on spoof are supposed to be.

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Example: Let's say you want to hack a maglock so it opens the door barring entry into a restricted area:
This is the one 6e shines in. 6e:
1. AR/DR; then roll Spoof opposed test
5e:
1. Hacking opposed test
2. Spoof opposed test


Quote
Example: Let's say you want to get into a host so you can look around for a piece of information that's not being publicly shared to the matrix at large (Mr Johnson's Paydata, the home address of the branch manager, the secret ingredient that makes NERPS so addictive, etc)
6e:
1. Compare AR/DR & roll Brute Force opposed test
2. Enter Host action
3. Roll Hash Check threshold test; possibly repeated
4. AR/DR then Edit File opposed test
5e:
1. Roll Brute Force opposed test
2. Enter Host action
3. Matrix Search threshold test; possibly repeated
[edit to add] 3b. Brute Force or Hack on the Fly opposed test against the File - I forgot this
4. Edit File opposed test

With one exception, 6e takes longer to resolve these actions than 5e does, because you need to compute and then compare AR/DR each time. (Matrix AR, in particular, is a derived statistic from cyber deck stats, so it canít be pre-computed like it can for weapons.)
« Last Edit: <03-09-20/1249:50> by penllawen »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #9 on: <03-09-20/1122:29> »
How do you determine which damage is matrix damage and which is biofeedback damage?

It's only biofeedback damage if it's explicitly said to be.

Of course every rule has to have exceptions, and in this case it's with Technomancers.  Because their Living Persona doesn't HAVE a Matrix Condition Monitor (not after errata, anyway...) when they suffer Matrix Damage it goes against their Physical/Stun CM.  And it gets awful deadly for them when they're taking BOTH, since both go against their Physical/Stun CM...

...
With one exception, 6e takes longer to resolve these actions than 5e does, because you need to compute and then compare AR/DR each time. (Matrix AR, in particular, is a derived statistic from cyber deck stats, so it canít be pre-computed like it can for weapons.)

Alright, a couple observations on your observations:

The streamlining is in "system access".  Access is no longer particular to devices, access is measured by entire Hosts/PANs.  5e had the complication of needing to get access (i.e. marks) on each device you plan to mess with, whereas in 6we you just hack access to the PAN/Host once and you have that access for every device in that PAN/Host.  It's particularly streamlined in the case of Hosts.  The Data Steal example upthread, if it was 5e, would incorporate needing to get marks on the file(s) in question whereas in 6we whatever access you have with the host, you also have with those files.  This streamlining advantage is compounded as you do more things in the host. Edit camera feeds.  Unlocking maglocks.  Faking bogus orders from dispatch. Suppressing alerts from going out to Lone Star.  Etc etc... each thing has a "gain the necessary marks" step in 5e whereas in 6we once you have access to the PAN/Host it need not be re-done for every device/file/icon in that PAN/Host.

AR to DR comparison: it's not like you have to look these numbers up every time you do it. Most of the time the values will be the same numbers they were during the LAST matrix action you attempted, so most of the time the task only takes as long as it takes you to do simple arithmetic. Most of us can do the "Is X 4 or more, or 4 or less, than Y?" problem in our head in less than 1 second.  And again, when the numbers didn't change, that mathematical operation returns the same answer it returned last time, and ergo it doesn't even take that <1 second. I think it's safe to say that this "added step" imposes a negligible impact on how long it takes to resolve tasks.  It literally takes longer to gather your dice.  Is that faster than having to do lots of additional Brute Forces/Hack on the Fly actions? Drek yes it is.
« Last Edit: <03-09-20/1126:11> 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, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

penllawen

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« Reply #10 on: <03-09-20/1248:57> »
The streamlining is in "system access". Access is no longer particular to devices, access is measured by entire Hosts/PANs.
Sure, but that wasn't what you post said, and I thought the clarity was useful.

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The Data Steal example upthread, if it was 5e, would incorporate needing to get marks on the file(s) in question whereas in 6we whatever access you have with the host, you also have with those files.
That's fair, and I forgot that.

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AR to DR comparison: it's not like you have to look these numbers up every time you do it. Most of the time the values will be the same numbers they were during the LAST matrix action you attempted, so most of the time the task only takes as long as it takes you to do simple arithmetic. Most of us can do the "Is X 4 or more, or 4 or less, than Y?" problem in our head in less than 1 second.
DR changes naturally of course, as the hacker targets different things - just as AR changes when they reconfigure their deck. Which can be pretty often if they optimise for it.

Quote
And again, when the numbers didn't change, that mathematical operation returns the same answer it returned last time, and ergo it doesn't even take that <1 second. I think it's safe to say that this "added step" imposes a negligible impact on how long it takes to resolve tasks.  It literally takes longer to gather your dice.
Well, if you can keep track of that in your head from one decker turn to the other while GMing 5 players and some number of NPCs through a combat scene then you're smarter than me. And if you can't keep track of it, and have to ask the player each time, I submit it doesn't take less than 1 second. It's still a step.

Quote
Is that faster than having to do lots of additional Brute Forces/Hack on the Fly actions? Drek yes it is.
I accept there's less of that when the decker has hacked a host and is doing multiple things within that host, as per the above. But I still think it's important to remember that in many other situations, such as a combat situation where the decker is facing multiple PANs, the amount of dicerolling in 5e and 6e is going to be the same for those actions.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #11 on: <03-09-20/1255:20> »
... But I still think it's important to remember that in many other situations, such as a combat situation where the decker is facing multiple PANs, the amount of dicerolling in 5e and 6e is going to be the same for those actions.

Yes, the task resolution is basically no faster in 6we than in 5e.  That's not what I was talking about when I said "streamlined".  Again for clarity, I was referring to fewer tasks being necessary to do the hack is what got streamlined. Agreed, easy peasy stuff like throwing Data Spikes is basically mox nix, but the complicated dives into Hosts (or hacking various bits of gear on one NPC) got much faster.  And that's a big improvement when  Shadowrun has long had everyone else wondering if they should go get pizza when the Decker dives in.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Sir Ludwig

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« Reply #12 on: <03-09-20/1502:44> »
MTCE, good question.

SSDR, thanks for the examples, it helped me and I'm going to Copy/Paste them to my new players.

Regards,
Ludwig
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Xenon

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« Reply #13 on: <03-10-20/1901:48> »
Spotting.

In 5th edition you had to spot devices. Each individual device you wanted to interact with. If you wanted to interact with 10 different devices during a run (maglock, elevator, lights, whatever) then you had to take 10 matrix perception tests to spot them. Two exceptions to this, the device is running silent then it will oppose the test. If not and within 100 meters spotting is automatic.

In 6th edition you don't have to spot devices. One exception to this, the device is part of a silent running network. Then you need to take an opposed matrix perception test to spot the entire silent running network. Including all devices connected to the network.


Access.

In 5th edition you had to gain access on each individual device you wanted to control. If you wanted to control 10 different devices during a run you had to hack on the fly / brute force access to them one by one (after you spotted them).

In 6th edition you gain access to the entire network and all its devices by taking one single test (or two in the case of probe / backdoor entry). After that you will have access to all devices connected to the network.



Which means more stuff for the GM to track; this is the opposite of streamlined.
This is a change from the situational modifiers that we used so heavy in 5th edition. Situational modifiers are 'passive' and 'boring'. They are also scattered all over the book which mean that it is often the GM that have to keep track on all situational modifiers.

The new Edge mechanic is 'active' and 'fun'. Players themselves have control on how and when and where to spend their edge. Players will keep track of their AR themselves. And since you will often interact with the same target over and over the DR will remain the same for several combat turns as well. You basically only need to figure out if you have a tactical advantage or not in combat turn 1. After that you mostly just repeat rather than resolve. It will normally not evaluate differently when you interact with it in combat turn 2.

Same with the new initiative really. You just need to figure out the initiative score for combat turn 1. After that you mostly just repeat and keep on acting in turn. This is something that players will help you keep track on. Rather than evaluate if you have an action phase or not in each initiative pass and recalculating everyone's initiative score and re-sequence act order after each combat turn. This is something that puts a lot of heavy bookkeeping on the GM.

Hard to explain in text perhaps, but in practice GM bookeeping is far less in 6th edition compared to 5th edition.



Matrix AR, in particular, is a derived statistic from cyber deck stats, so it canít be pre-computed like it can for weapons.
The Attack Rating is the sum of your Attack Attribute and your Sleaze Attribute. So it doesn't really matter if you optimize your deck for attack or stealth, the Attack Rating will probably still be the same.

SR6 p. 179 Cybercombat
Attack Rating is the personaís Attack + Sleaze.



just as AR changes when they reconfigure their deck. Which can be pretty often if they optimise for it.
Reconfiguration is used a lot less in 6th edition than you seem to think ;-)

SR6 p.178 Hacking the Matrix
Once you have initiated a hack, you cannot swap the base values of your Attack or Sleaze Attributes as long as you have access to the place you hacked into.

Xenon

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« Reply #14 on: <03-10-20/1921:45> »
Spoof Command vs Control Device

Spoof Command is an illegal action
A drawback is that each use may potentially generate overwatch score
Another drawback is there is a short delay between you spoofing and the target actually acting
An advantage is that you don't need to have access to the network
Another advantage is that most devices will just defend with its network's Data Processing rating.

If used on a drone it will act later, on its turn - which might be a drawback
It will also use its own auto soft ratings - which might be an advantage if you don't have piloting & engineering
The legal counterpart to Spoof Command is the Command Drone action.


Control Device is a legal action
A drawback is that you first need to have access to the network (brute force or probe/backdoor entry).
Another drawback is that most devices will defend with both its owners Willpower and its network's Firewall rating.
An advantage is that it will not generate any overwatch score no matter how many times you use it.

If used on a drone you will remote control it directly, on your turn - which might be an advantage
You will use your own ratings - which might be an advantage if you have piloting & engineering
This is the same legal action that the owner would use when remote controlling their drone.
« Last Edit: <03-10-20/1923:43> by Xenon »