Harvest of Flesh
Tuna's 1337 Hacking Rulez Clarificationz
Hacking for Dummies
I find the Hacking rules in the Interface Zero core book to be a bit…cumbersome and inconsistent. It’s sad, but true. I think that chapter could have used a few more revisions and at least one major round of edits before prime time. Therefore, I offer to you “Tuna’s 1337 Hacking Rulez Clarificationz.”
1. Hacking a system and acting in VR/HR combat must be done while “Ghosting.” Even if you are physically at the location where you are hacking into a system, you are totally immersed in the virtual world as your avatar while attempting a hack. This simplifies the mechanics mightily. Make sure your meat body is safe, ‘cause it’s pretty much an inanimate object while you are hacking. You can’t ghost and take physical actions at the same time, Ami, and you can’t wield a virtual weapon in physical hands. Players operating in meatspace can see VR/HR combat in progress, but must ghost if they want to join in. Ghosting takes an action, but no roll. Likewise, if you are ghosting and your avatar is still in HR near where your meat sack is, you may choose to log off to go avoid danger. Unless you are in HR/VR combat, this is an action with no roll. If you are in combat, this involves a Hacking roll modified by wounds as normal.
2.Taking damage in the physical world can force you back into your meat body. If your physical body takes damage, you can attempt to maintain your ghost-self with a Spirit roll, modified by your physical wounds. Failure forces you to log off and go physically active.
3. Programs are reusable! Just because you’ve used your program 4 or so times doesn’t make the code disappear. Repeated use may cause the program to run less efficiently or hog too much memory, causing it to crash or become unstable. When you have used the program for it’s prescribed number of uses, you must take an action to “reload” the program from scratch. It’s like reloading your gun, but virtual.
4. CHEAT SHEET – Your Avatar’s derived hacking combat stats are as follows:
* Pace – Determined by your TAP Pace
* Parry – 1/2 your Hacking Skill + TAP Defense Rating
* Toughness – 2 + TAP Firewall Rating + Rating of any ACTIVELY RUNNING Armor programs
Cracking the Firewall
1. Roll your Cutter program’s Die (no Wild Die, as this isn’t a trait roll) modified by the difficulty of the firewall. Success means you’re in. Failure means you’ll have to try again, but it could mean you’ve been noticed.
2. If you fail your Cutter roll, the GM will roll the systems’ die vs. your active Masking program’s die. This is a contested roll. Success for the system means you that the system is alerted to your presence, which the GM will address as he sees fit. Success for you means that the system ignores you…for now.
Running Utilities vs. Using your Hacking Skill
Utility programs can literally be created for any type of task. However, I feel that it is cumbersome to have a Utility program created for EVERY type of action you will attempt on a system. Instead, utility programs would be useful to perform repetitive, automated tasks. Your Hacking skill, however, would be used to perform specific, targeted tasks.
Examples – Use your Hacking skill to:
* Open one specific automated door
* Control one specific camera
* Open a specific secured database record for viewing
Examples – Use a utility program to:
* Open all automated doors in a particular area
* Control and monitor multiple cameras, alerting you of any movement
* Querying an entire database for a specific set of criteria
To use your Hacking skill in lieu of a utility program to handle a specific task, roll your Hacking skill against the system’s Parry rating. A hit means you’re in. A raise means you did really well. If you fail, it could mean you’re seen again. Follow the rules above to see if the system sees you.
What Types of Programs Do I Need?
- Cutter Programs – If you have to hack through firewalls on networks or TAPs, this specialized attack program will help you through.
- Masking Programs – If you want to hide your avatar or your HR callout from prying eyes, this program can make it more difficult to be seen. Think of it like a virtual Stealth skill.
- Attack/Armor Programs – When the crap hits the fan, and a combat hacker or IC program comes to forcefully extract you from the system, these programs are your weapons and armor for cyber combat. If you are actively hacking in a system, you will want to have these loaded, because you don’t want to spend the first rounds of combat getting your armor on and drawing your weapon!
- Alarm Programs – Even non-hackers will want to have an Alarm program running at ALL times! If not, and a hacker or virus tries to access your TAP, you may never know it until it’s too late.
- Trace Programs – When you absolutely, positively HAVE to know where a hacker or system physically is in meatspace, the Trace Program will show you.
- Utility Programs – These general purpose automator scripts will automate most system access tasks that would take too long to do by hand. Need to search a big database for a file? Run a search script and let it work for a few turns while you do something else!