SR3R Project Forum

A Look Forward at FrankTrollman and Alt-SR4 Rules
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Author:  Eyeless Blond [ Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:54 pm ]
Post subject:  A Look Forward at FrankTrollman and Alt-SR4 Rules

Okay, first off, READ THIS SHIT!

Okay, you back? Right, so: what can we steal from that? Because a whole lot of that kicks ass.

Author:  Kagetenshi [ Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:08 pm ]
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Ok. Well, that is huge and ginormous and also long, so I'm going to read it in chunks (where each "chunk" is a separate post of Trollman's), and respond after each one with my thoughts on it.

So, first chunk. His view of the Sixth World in terms of information overload is reasonable—so reasonable that it isn't even new. Likewise the idea on the transient nature of identity and the issues with authoritativeness.

Some of his statements on the human brain are worthless in the sense of "not even wrong". I can create a mechanical computer which represents a non-negative integer by the number of grains of sand in a bucket. This mechanical computer can perform as many add-1 operations per second as the shovel delivering the sand can fit. Giving the human brain's abilities in terms of operations per second is meaningless, because the basic operations are totally different (try racing your computer to calculate 2^2000000. If you'd prefer to use a highly parallel task, instead race it to mergesort a 5000-element list of random numbers). I'm not even sure it's been proven that the human brain is Turing-complete, though I'd tend to assume it is.

I'm probably preaching to the choir there. Most of the first post seems to be setup, so probably more substance later.


Author:  Eyeless Blond [ Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:33 pm ]
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Some of the mood stuff, in particular the storage issues and notes relating to why, if security cameras are everywhere, you can still get away with crimes, may be good ideas to include in flavor text, to explain how the world of SR hasn't completely crystallized into a world where crime is essentially impossible.

But more important is some of the stuff in the later posts:

-the text involving the decker's brain essentially merging with the machine when decking is an interesting thought; the idea of it being required to create a Matrix Persona even moreso.
-the possibility of the decker being able to brainhack people with datajacks or trodes is especially interesting
-his solution to Agent Smith is elegant; unfortunately I don't think it quite applies to SR3R:
FrankTrollman wrote:
Computing power in Shadowrun is abstracted. We don't keep track of how many processor cycles you have dedicated to whatever processes. We don't even care. If IC is running on a system, it is protecting the entire system to the best of its own capabilities. It is not possible to run another copy of the IC to get better protection. Hell, you can't even benefit from having a copy of a different IC system protecting your system.

IC is kind of like virus protection software. Running it is great, and it will ward off a number of potential threats. But running Norton and Macaffee at the same time isn't helpful. If you have processing cycles to burn, you should get yourself an IC system of a higher rating rather than getting more copies with the same rating.

-Playing up the creepiness and general not-quite-right nature of the Otaku, though obviously we can't go to the extent that SR4 does (especially with the whole radio brain thing, ugh.)
-Veracity rules are interesting, in particular the idea that "truth" in the Matrix is only how often something is repeated in the "trusted" data stores.

Some other stuff in there is kinda neat too.

Author:  Eyeless Blond [ Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:16 pm ]
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More importantly, he also has this:

FrankTrollman wrote:
This system is not the only answer to the basic questions of how hackers operate, and what they do as player characters, and what corporations do to defend themselves. But it's an answer to those questions, and like any other system of delicately stacked assumptions it comes crashing down if you pull the legs off. I predicted the existence of at least 4 more competing Matrix systems. Unwired is going to come out eventually, which means that there's room for 3 more Fan creations. If you don't like my system, make one of your own with assumptions you do like. All you need to do is explain:
  • Why Hackers are valued members of the team.
  • Why corporations defend themselves from Hackers with IC instead of shutting off antennas.
  • Why rogue computer code doesn't DDOS your ass into the 19th century.
  • Why Hackers participate in the actual run rather than just the legwork.
  • Why the Hacker has anything to do on runs where the objective is something other than "stealing the paydata."
Answer those questions with a coherent system and then come and talk to me about how you don't like my system of brain hacking. Then we'll put you up as one of the competing systems of Matrix use that people use.

Author:  Kagetenshi [ Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:27 pm ]
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Well, #2 is easy—they do shut off (or not turn on or deploy in the first place) the antennae, for the most part :)


Author:  Eyeless Blond [ Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:12 am ]
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Well, in our case yes, because we are not dealing with all the Wireless silliness that is in SR4, naturally very few things will have wireless capability by default, or you will be able to turn it off very easily.

But one of SR4's design goals was to include the hacker/decker on the actual run team, rather than having him stay with the majority of players in the riggermobile as currently happens in SR3. In SR3 the mage projects in and keeps his spirits on standby, the face is wheeling and dealing on the sidelines somewhere, the rigger is using drones, the decker is coming in via remote, the sam only comes in when stealth is no longer a priority (eg. people start shooting). The only guy who is breaking in is the B&E stealth adept, maybe with a few choice pieces of electronics to make it easier for the decker and rigger to hack the building.

SR4 decided this was a problem, so they made everything wireless and put Faraday-cage paint on everything. Frank's alternate rules go a bit further to explain why you can't just turn off the wireless: his explainnation is that it wouldn't matter if you did, because the hacker can shoot mind-control rays from his commlink/brain gestalt. That's no sillier than the SR4 main rules, but we're not starting from that piece of junk.

We're starting from SR3's piece of junk instead, so we have to come up with other barely-plausible reasons why the decker can do what he's doing. That doesn't mean we can't find stuff in Frank's rules worth stealing; it just means we have to be careful about some of his core assumptions, and how they factor into things.

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