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Author Topic: [Notebook] ShadowCraft  (Read 9524 times)
ludomastro
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« Reply #225 on: September 22, 2012, 01:35:53 PM »

Other than considerations of verisimilitude, what are your objections to wireless AR?

Wireless AR? Nothing: it's something the setting has long desperately needed.
Wireless VR OTOH ...

Yes, I meant VR.

OK, so thinking from a thematic point of view:
If the team infiltrates a location and discovers that the Hacker needs to enter VR to get the goods, can she use the existing corporate  "workshop" to do so?
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #226 on: September 22, 2012, 02:13:24 PM »

Pretty much. A hardline would by definition contain the processing grunt to fully immerse you. If you're using 'trodes you're using your commlink as a router/firewall/reality filter (plug trodes into commlink. Plug link into hardline). A wetware implant would let you do that as an added layer of security or plug in direct trusting to the implant's native OS and access their prgrams from it like an external drive
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tfwfh
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« Reply #227 on: September 22, 2012, 05:22:06 PM »

While I'm a big fan of cyberpunk in general, Shadowrun kind of rubs me the wrong way.  So, I've only played just a cursory amount of it (a few sessions of what was probably 4e, I think I mentioned this already).  But, I am familiar with the problems that hacking introduces for an RPG.  I've been keeping up with this thread, and the last several pages consist almost entirely of everyone twisting themselves in knots trying to make hacking fun, or at least interesting, at the table.  I think the only good solution is to just not have it.  Or at least, not the way it normally exists.  Hacking should be the goal, rather than the task.  Suppose you have a mission to retrieve schematics for an experimental device.  The general pattern for that mission is to discover where the plans are held, infiltrate that location, defeat the defenses around the plans, and then escape with the plans.  In any other setting, each of those steps involves the entire group, but for some reason in modern or post modern settings, the default is to replace one or more of those steps with hacking.  It becomes something like hack emails to find out what server the schematics are on, hack into that facilty's LAN, hack the encryption on the files, hack the server logs so they can't trace it back to you.  Meanwhile the rest of the group is watching cat videos on their phones, because it's more interesting that watching the hacker spend hours making hacking checks that don't involve them.

There was a suggestion a little way back that would treat hacking very much like magic, with programs standing in for the spells.  Hackers would be able to bypass, manipulate, control, deceive, and damage electronics in much the same way a wizard would to the same to the guards in a fantasy setting.  Maybe it's not an accurate simulation of the way hacking works, but then neither is Shadowrun.  Given the assumption of the ubiquity of these devices, hackers will get to stay involved with the regular course of the game, and when a task comes up that only a hacker can accomplish, it's done in a matter of minutes with just one or two rolls rather than a matter of hours with what amounts to a private session for just the hacker.

If you want to describe the computer interaces of SR as a big elaborate VR simulation, that's fine.  It's nice flavor, and it helps to establish the setting.  But that should have the same effect on the mechanics of the game as describing a chest that is elaborately carved and made of exotic woods with fancy inlaid decorations.  The thief makes an open locks check hacker makes a hacking check and then they get whatever was inside.

EDIT: The spells suggestion wasn't this thread, it was in Modern Skills: More Skills vs More Checks per Skill.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 05:25:46 PM by tfwfh » Logged

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Sletchman
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« Reply #228 on: September 23, 2012, 09:37:18 AM »

To be honest, that's largely how I run Cyberpunk - the crew breaks in, steals something and the hacker breaks it open (back at the crashpad) in their downtime.  The bit that I handwave over and it takes maybe 15 minutes out of game of everyone telling me what they're spending their week off doing (usually working towards a new skill they want, or training up their existing skills).

I really love the flavour of Augmented Reality though, especially after seeing the Watch Dogs trailer, and playing Deus Ex: HR.  Overlaying additional digital infographics over what you're looking at in the meatspace would be really (really) cool.  Much more then full immersion VR, which always stuck me as kinda stupid (much as I enjoyed GitS: SAC, their full VR net kinda rubbed me the wrong way).
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Morganti
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« Reply #229 on: September 23, 2012, 12:26:04 PM »

I liked the street in Snowcrash.
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« Reply #230 on: September 24, 2012, 01:36:24 AM »

I don't think anyone is looking ot make Hacking more difficult, it's just the simple matter of trying to find the right balance of options.  Shadowrun is a gonzo mix of cyberpunk and fantasy with a twist of crazy thrown in for good measure.  So, I'm really not surprised that this is difficult.

We have the following:
  • Augmented Reality - this is a fact of daily life in the setting.
  • AR Hacking - makes sense as it addresses some core concerns about party integration.
  • VR Hacking - the sticky wicket and possible problem child.  I'm ready to give in on the suggestions that it be an extremely limited situation or a specific game.
  • Technomancers - these guys are the mages of the Matrix and should have the abilities that look like magic.


I don't have a hat (white, black or otherwise) so I can't speak with authority on Hacking but based on what little I know, RL hacking is boring.  It's a lot of probing for weaknesses and then exploiting those.  In game terms, a bunch of downtime checks that can later be used in-game (backdoor for the win).  That's not cinematic.  Thus, we need to focus on making Hacking work in real (game) time.  The suggestions so far seem to revolve around how to make Hacking feasible and I see that as a good thing.  It is so iconic in both this setting but in Hollywood style settings as well, that it must be included.
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« Reply #231 on: September 26, 2012, 06:02:27 AM »

When I think of hacking I think of Hardison from leverage. Sometimes he's in the field with the team, parker opening the way for him, racing against the clock while eliot keeps the bad guys off him, or it's him versus chaos (wheaton's recurring character) in a back and forth battle for control of a system.

I was watching leverage last night before work and while at work I kept thinking about it and kept coming back to dramatic conflicts from SC 2.0 as the most elegant way to handle hacking at the table. You got your thief opening up the way in, your muscle keeping the bad guys at bay, and you with the DC to handle hacking. Everyone is doing something and no one is setting around bored.

I know at one time there was plans for some form of mutated DC in Mastercraft, but that should be a set back to adapting the current DC's.
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« Reply #232 on: September 26, 2012, 07:26:23 AM »

[thinkingoutloud]

You know what I'd rather see?

THE Dramatic Conflict.

The problem with having a bunch of Dramatic Conflicts is that it's usually 1 guy  being amazing while everyone else has their thumbs up their asses.  Which is not cool.  Unless you're that one guy.

For Chase, it's the Wheelman.  For Seduction, the Faceman.  For Hacking, it's the Hacker.  While these archetypes exist in fiction and have to be represented*, by breaking Dramatic Conflicts into several segmented conflicts you end up having someone being cool because it's their schtick (and everyone else being a little bored for half an hour) - or worse, the team is a hindrance (you have multiple vehicles and one Wheelman, and the chase isn't any good because only 1/3rd the team is really in it).

Azhad, you suggestion made me realise that if you just had a single big Dramatic Conflict, with it's own scene type and special rules (Dramatic Scene in style, if not function) you could pull that off.  Instead of a Hack, it is just a Dramatic Conflict and the players each contribute in their own special way - the Face can use his Flawless ID ability to walk the group in (a micro-infiltration), the Sleuth gets info on a weak spot (a micro-interrogation), the hacker hacks a computer in the weak spot (a micro-hack) and the Soldier plans an Ambush in case things go sideways.  That's one round of the conflict - no one gets left out, everyone takes actions and it's far more fluid.

Instead of the hacker sitting there and hacking while the other player's attention starts to wander.

[/thinkingoutloud]

EDIT: Totally not a relevant thread for it, I guess...

* EDIT2:  I mean like the Chase Specialist (The Transporter franchise), the expert Infiltrator (Hitman, most espionage films), the expert Hacker (any film / tv show with a computer on screen).  All masters of a given existing DC.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 07:34:59 AM by Sletchman » Logged
ahzad
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« Reply #233 on: September 26, 2012, 05:27:53 PM »

[thinkingoutloud]

You know what I'd rather see?

THE Dramatic Conflict.

The problem with having a bunch of Dramatic Conflicts is that it's usually 1 guy  being amazing while everyone else has their thumbs up their asses.  Which is not cool.  Unless you're that one guy.

For Chase, it's the Wheelman.  For Seduction, the Faceman.  For Hacking, it's the Hacker.  While these archetypes exist in fiction and have to be represented*, by breaking Dramatic Conflicts into several segmented conflicts you end up having someone being cool because it's their schtick (and everyone else being a little bored for half an hour) - or worse, the team is a hindrance (you have multiple vehicles and one Wheelman, and the chase isn't any good because only 1/3rd the team is really in it).

Azhad, you suggestion made me realise that if you just had a single big Dramatic Conflict, with it's own scene type and special rules (Dramatic Scene in style, if not function) you could pull that off.  Instead of a Hack, it is just a Dramatic Conflict and the players each contribute in their own special way - the Face can use his Flawless ID ability to walk the group in (a micro-infiltration), the Sleuth gets info on a weak spot (a micro-interrogation), the hacker hacks a computer in the weak spot (a micro-hack) and the Soldier plans an Ambush in case things go sideways.  That's one round of the conflict - no one gets left out, everyone takes actions and it's far more fluid.

Instead of the hacker sitting there and hacking while the other player's attention starts to wander.

[/thinkingoutloud]

EDIT: Totally not a relevant thread for it, I guess...

* EDIT2:  I mean like the Chase Specialist (The Transporter franchise), the expert Infiltrator (Hitman, most espionage films), the expert Hacker (any film / tv show with a computer on screen).  All masters of a given existing DC.

yea something like this is what i was envisioning the hacker doing his DC while everyone contributes in some way whether it's adding to what he is doing, or b/c the rival hacker is slowing him down the GC is sending security his direction every so many rounds that the muscle have to deal with via ambushes or direct conflict.
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ludomastro
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« Reply #234 on: September 26, 2012, 05:50:38 PM »

While I understand that this is desireable, I have a simple question:
Why can't the GC do all that outside of a DC?
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« Reply #235 on: September 26, 2012, 07:38:39 PM »

Why can't the GC do all that outside of a DC?
No reason.

Why can'twon't the GC do all that outside of a DC?
Because the rules tend to discourage it.  You have a hacking skill and a bunch of things you can do with the hacking skill.  Then one of the players decides to be good at the hacking skill, and everything becomes "Well, I hack into the mainframe; that way we won't get shot at."  And whenever game rules try to make hacking more interesting, they also make it more complicated and time consuming without involving the non-hacker characters (or, more to the point, the players of those characters).

This applies universally to every game I've ever played where hacking was a thing.

Normally, I just sidestep the whole issue by disallowing my players to make dedicated hacker characters.  If they decided that for some reason they really need an honest-to-god dedicated hacker, the agency will provide one, just like they would provide an honest-to-god dedicated lawyer or an honest-to-god dedicated pilot if one turns out to be needed.  But this conversation isn't about that solution.
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« Reply #236 on: September 26, 2012, 09:10:30 PM »

While I understand that this is desireable, I have a simple question:
Why can't the GC do all that outside of a DC?

He can and I've done it that way in the past, but I've found and my players who have used the hacking dc find that using the dc a more satisfying experience. I think the play between the predator and prey options are what we liked.

Sorry not enough time to get all my thoughts out on a 10 minute work break
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ludomastro
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« Reply #237 on: September 27, 2012, 01:41:35 AM »

hmmmm, what to do?

Personally, I've run hacking that way as I didn't want my players sitting around doing nothing.  There again, my Shadowrun GM back in my college days would have the player who had the decker (if there were one) show up about an hour early to run through any hacking he thought would be relevant.

Why not do this:
Provide relatively simple rules for Hacking on the fly (through AR) for those times that you basically need the PC to open a door or shut down a camera.
AND
Provide other rules more along the lines of the DC for what's described here.
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tfwfh
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« Reply #238 on: September 27, 2012, 06:24:42 PM »

Provide relatively simple rules for Hacking on the fly (through AR) for those times that you basically need the PC to open a door or shut down a camera.
If you want to describe the computer interaces of SR as a big elaborate VR simulation, that's fine.  It's nice flavor, and it helps to establish the setting.  But that should have the same effect on the mechanics of the game as describing a chest that is elaborately carved and made of exotic woods with fancy inlaid decorations.  The thief makes an open locks check hacker makes a hacking check and then they get whatever was inside.

AND
Provide other rules more along the lines of the DC for what's described here.
I still think that hacking should be an activity that is left to narrative and NPCs and downtime, not regular gameplay.  At least not this kind of hacking.  The cyberpunk equivalent of open lock or disable device is fine and I'm not arguing against it.  What I am arguing against is elaborate extended hacking battles.  But, I've said that already.  So, whatever way things go, I'll continue to monitor and comment if I have anything to say.
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« Reply #239 on: September 28, 2012, 02:46:46 AM »

I'm also against digital avatar battles to the death, because it's a concept that has always struck me as stupid.  It just reminds me a bit too much of Masterminds.  You can't hack someone by beating them at Halo, and that isn't going to change.

I understand that many Cyberpunk (and Shadowrun) fans like it though, so like tfwfh, I'll just leave my opinion here and be happy to provide mechanical critique and aid.

Yeah, still a Tron fan though...  I'm a complicated fellow, allright?
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