by David Jarvis/Gun Metal Games
In a nutshell: Combat hacking is small scale attacks on your opponents (or something in the environment you hope to use to your advantage) that can be countered by a capable hacker on the other side. It's in a way a third means of attack next to ranged combat and close combat (fourth if we count support by drones).
Trying to hack into a big system on the other hand is a task that might take days and require you to program a worm or trojan, find a way to inject it into the system, then use it to create a backdoor for you. All taking a lot of inplay time and only a few inplay rolls, allowing the other players and characters to do some legwork as well. And only once you use that backdoor things pick up a bit when you try to get what you want in the system without raising any flags. If you do your job right, you'll end up with what you want while the owners of the system are none the wiser.
I also get the feeling we will see a lot of drone riggers with at least some skill in hacking and a lot of hackers with at least some skill in rigging.
FWIW I think noticing a hack in progress makes perfect sense within cyberpunk tropes. :)
Ahh ok I see what you mean. Generally, in a stable environment, if your using regular weapons (not improvised), have regular illumination, etc., then there are no modifiers. But this assumes all things are equal. If any of these issues (and others, like recoil) come into play, then modifiers are applied.
Generally we don't think of hacking as a combat skill, so doing it in combat requires a hacker to focus on what their doing in an environment that is not well-suited to hacking... Just like you said (more clearly, too). This is the original rationale behind the -2 penalty.
Now that said, this isn't anywhere close to real hacking, which could take hours, days, and even weeks or months, depending on what the target of the hack is, and how you go about doing it.
Obviously, that won't work in a game. So we've chosen to go for a more cinematic approach, and we want to keep the hacker with the group, rather than off someplace else. This requires a framework (and rules to support it) where the hacker can:
A: contribute to combat in an effective way without taking the spotlight from characters who focus on melee or ranged combat, or healing.
B: Do so in a way that doesn't take a bunch of time.
So this was the compromise; giving the hacker the ability to aid the party by dealing with threats in real-time, either by providing "debuffs" or "buffing" the team.
Now, all that said, this is a new edition, and I'm nothing if not creative. I can go back and make revisions. I can change setting elements to reflect a more "old-school" approach, but it will impact the role hackers play.
I think what Michael means is that the Savage Worlds system does generally assume combat environment for rolls and thus a combat hacking roll should not be penalised.
I'm not so sure myself. I think there should be a clear difference between hacking rolls that are made in calm environment and with no outside stress applied on one side and on the run, while bullets are flying (and sometimes bodyparts) on the other.
I'm not sure I follow you. Can you elaborate?
I understand that it is a brief overview and things will be in flux as rules are written and tested.
I'm just a bit confused as Savage Worlds is generally setup on the assumption that combat is occurring. For example, Shooting assumes that the character is in combat and not simply shooting at a firing range.
The idea is to reflect the stress of hacking in a combat situation. One thing to remember, is that it's not set in stone right now.
The main goal of the update is to give you an overview. Notice I didn't include edges,
actual combat programs, or anything else that might aid a hacker while hacking in combat.
Why does combat hacking start at -2?
I'm on the fence about that. I put Smarts in there for now, but an unskilled hacking roll could work best, too.
Even actually noticing a hack is in progress was something I've been giving a lot of thought to. heck, someone could be hacking my compright now, and I wouldn't necessarily know it.
"Failure allows the target of your hack to make a Hacking skill roll (Or Smarts roll if the person doesn’t have the Hacking skill)"
Wouldn't it make more sense for them to make an unskilled Hacking roll? (d4-2)
Otherwise a smart person (d10) with a little bit of Hacking (say d4) will be better at noticing stuff than a normal person (d6) who is good at Hacking (d8). Unless that's what you're going for and the intent is just "use the higher of Hacking or Smarts"?
Awesome short story! :)
This is awesome! It seems like you did a great job tying all of those things together in a succinct way. I'm excited to see the finished product when it comes out. :)
Very pleased with this. I am excited to use it. Honestly, I never bothered with Hacking in the previous versions. I always used an NPC hacker and had the hacker succeed/fail based on the way I wanted the mission to go.
Thanks for the feedback, Michael!
Right now, almost everyone has a TAP (maybe about 98% of the world's population). But if you don't have one, it's fairly cheap to get one installed (about 500 to 1k cryptodollars depending on the model).
I'll be doing some writing in the GM section about tracing and how it affects your TAP, ways to get it replaced via cyber surgery, using multiple TAPS, spoofing GISP addresses (IP addresses of the future) to avoid detection etc.
Burner "SIMS" are definitely going to be an option.
About NFC. Yeah I understand it's all about induction, but the concept is close enough for what I want. I'll think about some technology ideas to tighten it up.
I'm glad you like LOST. Much of the_idea_behind it deals with the fact that anything with a TAP is essentially wirelessly transmitting their location to a satellite, which records their GPS position to within 5 feet or so. Combine that with Augmented Reality Objects (which I call Hyper objects), and suddenly everything with an HR signal shows up in your field of view.
Here's a Brazilian video that perfectly illustrates this. Heh. They even call it hyper reality.
I like it - fast & flavorful. Certainly takes care of the "pizza problem".
How do poor people, who perhaps didn't have a registered birth, get a TAP? Seems unlikely everyone has one, though maybe for the same values of everyone as currently have smartphones.
What's involved in getting a new TAP (or TAP registration? ) if yours gets traced? Doing this from a device that ties to your identify seems to violate the fifth Hack Commandment ("Number five, never do no hacks where you rest at
I don't care if you own a house, use a bounce", 0x0A Hack Commandments by Dual Core - actual good advice). Perhaps the could be external and possibly disposable devices hackers could use, or maybe there are something like burner SIMs available? There should be some way to separate identity from access.
Last, NFC works via magnetic induction rather than radio, which means there are physics reasons the range is sharply limited. It's not like Bluetooth where a good antenna extends range indefinitely. From the descriptive text, it might be better to replace the term NFC with some new Future Tech term - SRW or NeighborNet or something (I'm in tech, not marketing; can you tell?)
I like LOST. It's magic not tech, I think, but it's cool. Do you have an idea how it might work? I haven't given it a lot of thought, but my idea involves a huge semi-public database of exactly where everything is. Are there ways to prevent LOST targeting?
This is where the networking rules in SWADE will really shine. Everything you just mentioned can be handled during the networking phase of a given mission. Networking rules really go a long way towards streamlining legwork.
I haven't decided exactly what kind of benefits will work the best in terms of game balance, but yeah, there will be a tangible benefit for this type of legwork.
In my experience hacking in RPGs does often lack a concept of legwork (or even the notion that it is helpful to prepare for a hacking job). Is it possible and what is the impact of spoofing identities, finding employees that seem to have weak passwords, dumpster diving and ill secured printers?
I feel that there are some interesting (and funny) stories and alternative routes in that, and would appreciate to see some mentioning of that as well as a hint on how to handle it IZ3.0 (a free token for the hacker? a flat bonus? some free bennies during the hack? other ideas?).
I can't comment on Shadowrun. I haven't looked at the rules since 3rd edition.
They did this in Shadowrun and in my own personal experience ruined a lot of games. Granted, hackers need "important stuff to do" but this level of hacking doesn't end well. Make it too complicated and combat is over before the hacker ever gets a chance to do anything. Make it too simple and suddenly the hacker is the only member of the party getting to do anything significant. I've not seen anyone discover a middle ground yet. That's my two cents.