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SR5 TrackBack scenario

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Hanzo

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« on: <11-02-20/0836:51> »
Hi, chemmers

Is there any viable scenario where the Track back action is applicable?

According to Data Trails rule book

TRACKBACK (SPECIAL ACTION)
Marks Required: Owner
Test: Extended Computer + Intuition [Data Processing]
(special, 30 minutes) Test
This test is only possible on grids, not inside a host.
The datastreams that connect marks to their owners
are barely visible wisps of information. Calibrating your
filters to see them and not the billions of overlapping
datastreams is a painstakingly laborious task. Once a
mark has been detected on a device (see Matrix Perception, p. 241, SR5), that device’s owner can try to follow
the datastream back the mark’s owner. The number of
hits required is equal to 10 + the Sleaze rating of the
persona who marked the device. If the Sleaze rating
changes during the search, the number of hits required
changes as well. If the persona that placed the mark is
running silent, the trail will end in its vicinity, effectively
letting the tracker know that a silent icon is nearby


Any adequate decker can do anything with your device without proper countermeasures within 30 minutes.

How do you see a scenario where players can use this action?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <11-02-20/1027:26> »
How do you see a scenario where players can use this action?

It has niche applicability, that's for sure.

But I can think of 2 things:

1) someone put a mark on one of your/your teammate's gear for the purposes of tracking your location via Trace Icon.  If you detect this, it'd be a natural possibility to want to locate who's trying to locate you.  Normally you'd just attempt a Matrix Spotting test for the persona who placed the mark, but maybe due to distance and/or running silent you can't spot the other guy.  So this is a plan B.

2) The matrix equivalent of an astral tracking ritual via material link.  You have acquired some device that is properly owned by someone (you stole their ID badge, or whatever). As owner, they have marks on it of course.  You can use those ownership marks to track someone who hasn't been messing with you at all.  (again it'd probably only be a Plan B option, after you fail to Spot their Persona)
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.

Xenon

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« Reply #2 on: <11-02-20/1444:46> »
Is there any viable scenario where the Track back action is applicable?
If you detect the act of someone placing the mark on you or on your device (for example because they used brute force which is immediately obvious) then you would try to just spot them with a regular matrix perception test ("I try to spot the hacker that just attacked me"). In this scenario you would not use BackTrack.

BackTrack is instead used when you have no way to find / spot the responsible user directly and your only clue is that they left their MARK on you or one of your devices. Perhaps you invited someone to place a MARK on your device a few days ago and now you wish to find his Persona Icon - or perhaps someone tricked a MARK onto your PAN without you noticing - until later... and now you wish to return the favor.

You can also just reboot or, if you are a hacker, take the Erase Mark action. But then you also erase any chance of finding the offender...... :-/



someone put a mark on one of ... your teammate's gear
...
You have acquired some device that is properly owned by someone...
You need to be the owner of the device the MARK is on in order to take this action. You can't take this action to trace a MARK that is located on someone else's gear.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #3 on: <11-02-20/1507:19> »
someone put a mark on one of ... your teammate's gear
...
You have acquired some device that is properly owned by someone...
You need to be the owner of the device the MARK is on in order to take this action. You can't take this action to trace a MARK that is located on someone else's gear.

That's correct... but you can try to Spot the persona that issued the mark.  If successful, then you can mark that persona and THEN you can begin Trace Icon on that persona.

The Trackback allows a fallback option if there's a point of failure in the preceding process.
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.

Xenon

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« Reply #4 on: <11-02-20/1537:33> »
you can try to Spot the persona that issued the mark.
It seem as if you want to spot the unknown persona that placed the original MARK you need to follow the feint datastreams to the responsible hacker by taking the TraceBack action...

It seem as if you need to somehow be 'aware' of the specific persona you are looking for, otherwise you cannot directly spot it.

As I see it, if you could just spot it with a regular Matrix Perception test (even though he done nothing to reveal himself yet) then there would be no need to ever take the TraceBack action to begin with (same as there would also be no point in taking the time-consuming Astral Tracking action if you could directly spot the responsible magician with a regular Perception test).

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 on: <11-02-20/1606:19> »
you can try to Spot the persona that issued the mark.
It seem as if you want to spot the unknown persona that placed the original MARK you need to follow the feint datastreams to the responsible hacker by taking the TraceBack action...

It seem as if you need to somehow be 'aware' of the specific persona you are looking for, otherwise you cannot directly spot it.

As I see it, if you could just spot it with a regular Matrix Perception test (even though he done nothing to reveal himself yet) then there would be no need to ever take the TraceBack action to begin with (same as there would also be no point in taking the time-consuming Astral Tracking action if you could directly spot the responsible magician with a regular Perception test).

Ok a walk thru:

Player: I tell my Agent to do a matrix perception test on every piece of gear in my PAN. What I'm concerned about is if new marks show up.  That can be the 1st question I get with 1 hit, right?

GM: Sure.  It'll do that 24/7, every pass of every combat turn until you unload the program or give it new instructions, that's your intent?

Player.  Yep.

GM. Ok.  It's got at least 4 dice in its pool, so we'll just say it buys the 1 hit.

GM (some time later): BTW, your agent found a strange mark on your (fill in the blank).

Player: Drek! Can I tell who placed it?

GM: nope.  But if you can get 1 hit on an unopposed matrix perception on your own device you can spot that mark too.  And that'll be enough to begin searching for the guilty party. (commence matrix spotting test)

*assume the spot fails*

Player: Crap.  Now what can I do?

GM: well you can always try the Erase Mark to get rid of it.  Or simply reboot the device.

Player: naah, I still want to find who did this.

GM: you can Try Again at -2 dice.

Player: what other options do I have?

GM: Well, Data Trails has this trackback action where you don't even have to spot the persona in the first place...
« Last Edit: <11-02-20/1610:04> 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.

Xenon

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« Reply #6 on: <11-02-20/1630:49> »
Yes, I understand your point of view. I just don't agree with it.
Let me use your example to illustrate what I mean:

...

Player: Drek! Can I tell who placed it?

GM: nope, not directly. The hacker have not yet successfully attacked you nor have it failed a sleaze action against you. But perhaps you could try to filter out the faint datastreams in order to trace the MARK back to the responsible hacker, but it will take at least 30 minutes.

Player: OK... Guess I don't have much choice if I wish to find out who hacked my PAN...

GM: Just as you started to filter out the datastreams you get hit by a dataspike out of nowhere.

Player: Eek! Can I tell how is attacking me?

GM: You don't immediately spot the offender, so it is probably running silent. But now when the hacker made its move and successfully attacked you, you are now aware of that this specific hacker is out there and you can now try to directly spot it with an Opposed Matrix Perception test.

Player: OK. "I am trying to spot the specific persona icon that just attacked me"
« Last Edit: <11-02-20/1633:35> by Xenon »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #7 on: <11-02-20/1701:27> »
Well, there are some (iirc) undefined billions of matrix users in the Sixth World.

You can ostensibly search for any of them.  But you have to have something to go on to suspect any ONE of them to try to spot. 

For example, you can't just go "I wanna try to spot Mr Johnson's persona."  You have to have a commcode.  Or a message that was sent to you.  Or even an idea of what his persona looks like because you remember seeing his persona in AR at the meet.  You have to have SOMETHING to go off of.

Sounds like we disagree as to whether a mark that the persona places counts as something you can fairly go off of.

I tell you what... any game I GM it's absolutely fair game for the Spider and/or Patrol IC to start trying to spot you (and subsequently trying to mark you and Trace you) if the host's nature is such that a new mark is odd.  They gonna see it sooner or later, it's literally only a matter of time.
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.

Xenon

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« Reply #8 on: <11-02-20/1729:22> »
...you have to have something to go on to suspect any ONE of them to try to spot. 

For example, you can't just go "I wanna try to spot Mr Johnson's persona."  You have to have a commcode.  Or a message that was sent to you.  Or even an idea of what his persona looks like because you remember seeing his persona in AR at the meet.  You have to have SOMETHING to go off of.
Agreed.



Sounds like we disagree as to whether a mark that the persona places counts as something you can fairly go off of.
Agreed.

I read it as while the act of placing a mark on another icon is illegal (and can be used to spot the offender if it was successfully placed there with an attack action or if it was failed with a sleaze action) simply having a mark is not (but you can still back trace the owner of the mark with the action we are discussing in this topic).

SR5 p. 248 Patrol IC
While the act of placing a mark is an illegal activity, the act of simply having a mark is not. Once you have the mark, you are considered a legitimate user.

But I don't think there is any strictly Right or Wrong here =)
(We just resolve it in different ways, and that is also fine).



I tell you what... any game I GM it's absolutely fair game for the Spider and/or Patrol IC to start trying to spot you (and subsequently trying to mark you and Trace you) if the host's nature is such that a new mark is odd.  They gonna see it sooner or later, it's literally only a matter of time.
First of all, in 5th I typically don't require that you run silent while hacking a Host.

DT p. 69 Avoiding the watchful eye of GOD
Most importantly, look like you belong. If you’re going into a crowded host, for example, why run silent? That’s a great way to call attention to yourself, oddly enough. Just let your icons move with the crowd of others, and make sure your actions are so smooth that they don’t call attention to you.

In SR5 I would typically have Patrol IC take a perception test at intervals given in Data Trails, and if the last action used was an illegal attack or sleaze action then it knows you don't belong and alarms go off. But if your last action was a legal data processing action then it does not - and it will believe that you are just another legit user.

If you successfully land an attack action I will have Patrol IC take Matrix Perception each action, looking specifically for you, while the Host start to launch IC every combat turn (and if you are not running silent by then it will automatically spot you).

If you fail a sleaze action then the Host will automatically both Spot you, gain a MARK on your Persona and it will start to launch IC every combat turn.

SR5 p. 236 Noticing Hackers
If you succeed with an Attack action, your target becomes aware that it is under attack by another icon, but it doesn’t automatically spot you. It will most likely actively search for you on its next action...If you fail with an Attack action, you are not noticed, because you failed to affect your opponent...On the other hand, if you succeed in a Sleaze action, you do not increase your visibility. If you fail a Sleaze action, however, your target immediately gets one free mark on you (or its owner does if your target is a device). This means it spots you right away, along with the whole owner-alerting and IC-launching thing.




In 6th edition I typically instead require that you always run silent while hacking a Host. And that it will be immediately obvious that you don't belong in case you do get spotted. In which case alarms will go off.

Alarms will also go off if you take an attack action (no matter if you are successful or not) or if you glitch a sleaze action.

If alarms go off then Host will start to launch IC and Patrol IC will spend actions trying to spot you (in case it doesn't already).
« Last Edit: <11-02-20/1731:25> by Xenon »

Hanzo

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« Reply #9 on: <11-03-20/0131:25> »
BackTrack is instead used when you have no way to find / spot the responsible user directly and your only clue is that they left their MARK on you or one of your devices. Perhaps you invited someone to place a MARK on your device a few days ago and now you wish to find his Persona Icon - or perhaps someone tricked a MARK onto your PAN without you noticing - until later... and now you wish to return the favor.

You can also just reboot or, if you are a hacker, take the Erase Mark action. But then you also erase any chance of finding the offender...... :-/


Well...

Let's do some calculations:

10+Sleaze will give us average 14-16 thershold.
That means that a decker with 20DP will spend at least 1 hour (if the decker's lucky) looking for the mark's owner.
1 Combat turn = 3 seconds in the "meat" world.
1 minute = 60 seconds
1 hour = 60 minutes = 3600 seconds = 1200 Combat turns (bricking, stealing your favourite music collection, collecting intel etc. when you are just sitting and doing no countermeasures)

Do you realy believe that someone is gonna wait for you to spot them?)))
1 hour of waiting is 8d6 of OS))) That is just a good way to call GODs upon yourself)))

So I really see a scenario, where Trackback is viable, is when another decker is using a mark as a distress beacon .

Xenon

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« Reply #10 on: <11-19-20/1401:49> »
The second he attack me or my devices i will be aware of him which mean I can attempt to spot him with a regular matrix perception test. No need for Trackback.

The second he fail a sleaze action I will be aware of him, I will automatically spot him and I will also automatically place my mark on him. No need for Trackback.



If I just find a MARK on me or on one of my devices (perhaps someone is using it to track my movements without me knowing) then I can for example take the Trackback action in order to locate the hacker.