This is a simple cinematic system for hacking that focuses not on specific programs but on controlling whole systems to achieve major effects. It also allows the turbohacker to participate in the run in real-time. You can read the rationale for this game system at the end of the file.

A hacker is assumed to have spent years learning the tricks of the trade, infiltrating dozens of systems, creating backdoors, collecting hacking tools and making contacts in the hacker community. A hacker's skill in manipulating various systems in the webworks is a combination of the Turbohacking skill and theSuites described below. Each suite is a combination of the hacker's collection of hacking utilities, daily passcodes, addresses, and minute-by-minute connections. Each suite is ranked from 1 - 10 and is treated as an Easy Skill to learn.

                    Suite + Turbohacking + d6
            Domain Security + Host Barriers + d6

The basic roll involves adding the Suite rating + the turbohacker's skill + d6 versus a difficulty of Domain Security rating + Host's Barrier rating + d6. The number of successes indicates the degree of control over a host, the amount of damage inflicted, or the amount of information found by the turbohacker. Generally if the number of successes is high then the turbohacker accomplishes everything she set out to do, such "Get Smith's passport data and possible flight plans". The difficulty of the roll can be modified by the following:

+1 Unfamiliar foreign language
+1 Unfamiliar semiotics or iconography
+1 Repeated failed attempts within 24 hours
- 1 Custom-made tools for that host or domain
- 1 Inside information about host (scouting)
- 1 Several coordinated attackers (tactics roll)
- 1 Great Mind assistance


  • Cracking — crashing and damaging systems, cracking open vaults
  • Municipal — power grid, street control, sanitation, sewerage, zoning
  • Registry — public citizen databank, police criminal records
  • Eyesats — aerial full-spectrum visual, several functions
  • Mediafeed — news, vidphone, trideo, entertainment
  • Tracking — vehicle guidance, airports, highways, subways, elevators
  • Telematics — remote control devices, high automation, robots, appliances
  • Financial — bank transfers, deposits, securities trades, audit trails, taxes
  • Wiretap — intercepts, dataline monitoring, decrypting, origin/destination
  • Schematics — building layouts, equipment placement, appliances
  • Search — finding files, avatar searches, sifting databases
  • Military — top secret info, arsenals, intelligence info
  • Dossiers — info about corporate, government, or clan people
  • Environmental — heating & cooling, hydro, electrical & safety systems
  • Sensors — geneprints, iriscans, milliwave, optical, acoustic, pressure
  • Security — alarms, weapon systems, elevators, gatelocks, bio-screens


Hosts and Domains have seven traits : Security, Static, Complexity, Camouflage, Integrity, Speed and Force. These are rated 1 - 10.

  • Security — resistance to infiltration & cracking
  • Static — noise level, garbage, spawn activity and general efficiency
  • Complexity — size and difficulty of search/sift operations
  • Camouflage — resistance to tracking or finding (hosts only)
  • Integrity — resistance to crashing damage (hosts only)
  • Speed — rate of data transfer (optional)
  • Force — severity of reaction to an intruder

Barriers have a certain set of counter-measures which they can deploy against an intruder that has been identified (fails her rolls). The severity of the reaction is determined by the Force rating of the Host or Domain. Higher rating means nastier reaction. Some popular ones are listed, but feel free to add your own effects.

  • Crash — [most common] crashes a single suite
  • Erase — erases tools. Each success decreases a suite by 1.
  • Trojan — infiltrates a toolset, secretly decreasing a suite by 1
  • Tracer — traces the realspace location of the turbohacker via eyesats
  • Overload — overloads spiderig components and degrades them by 1
  • Spawn — semi-sentient net organism which eats software/data
  • Derezz — symbols and images are mixed up
  • Decoy — the turbohacker is fooled by a bogus host
  • Psycho — psychotropic light patterns brainwash the hacker
  • Worms — spiderig infected by memory-hogging programs


Spiderigs/connectors have two traits: Processor and Memory. Processor is the overall complexity & speed of your connector. Suites function up to a maximum rating equal to the Processor. So if you have Cracking 7 but only a Processor 6, your effective Cracking is 6. Memory determines how many suites you can run simultaneously. It is best to run redundant suites (if you have enough memory) so that even if a barrier crashes one suite the backup will continue to do its job.


The process of creating the necessary utilities and tools to infiltrate networks is very time-consuming. A hacker is assumed to be devoting at least a quarter of his time to improving his suites through coding, exchanges, theft or even purchases from codeboys. The process is reflected in a simple Computer + Intelligence roll versus a difficulty of two times (2x) the desired rating of the suite. The street cost of doing so is a doubling scale from $500 (Rank 1) to $256,000 (Rank 10). Cost is halved if the hacker is doing all coding by himself, but time is doubled.


For every month spent improving a suite, the hacker can roll Computer+Intelligence versus 2x Suite Rating to see if he can improve the suite. If successful, the suite is improved by one point and stays that way for a number of months equal to the successes, then degrades. Unimproved suites can degrade once per month. Roll a d10. If the roll is higher than the Suite rating, it degrades by one point.

Hacking Basics

A hacker wishing to illegally enter a restricted host can take several approaches. Basically, the options are to either a) attack the host to weaken it; b) trick the host; c) sneak into the host.

The first and most crude approach involves 'cracking' a system's defences, crashing the main programs, cutting a large hole using destructive viruses or databeasts, and then plundering the host when it is weak and on the verge of collapse. This method has the side-effects of leaving obvious evidence, immediately alerting the operators of the host, and possibly damaging the contained databanks beyond salvage or use by the hacker. It is used in the most extreme circumstances when speed is critical.

The second approach involves gaining a legitimate identity within the host by posing as a user/operator/admin, aka Infiltration. This requires the judicious use of parasite programs which latch onto legitimate Avatars and allow the hacker to hide behind the mask of a normal user. The success of the parasite program will determine the status of the forged identity. A poor result would create an identity with access to only the most basic files, while an amazing result would create a superuser identity which could do anything. The benefit of using parasites is that once the false identity is installed, the host will not bother you again until you switch nodes.

The third approach involves sneaking into a host in such a manner that none of the sensor nodules notice the intrusion. Stealth, Cloaking, Skulk and Ghost programs are used for this purpose, and they involves hours or days of background research to locate forgotten backdoors, misplaced loopholes, and other tricks. Once the hacker has snuck in, he can use a variety of programs within the host. The drawback of sneaking in is that the host is constantly searching for intruders, so the hacker has to constantly hide (roll to hide each round).

Example of Play

          Adept Turbohacker
          Turbohacking 7, Computers 6, Netlore 6, Communications 5
          Intellect 8, Perception 5, Reflex 4

          Spiderig: Genesys "Flambe"
          Processor: 7    Memory: 9     

          Suites:  Cracking 7      Dossiers 8
                   Wiretap 5       Search 4
                   Municipal 4     Registry 4
                   Eyesats 3       Tracking 5

          Domain: Atlantis 
          Host: blue.holodyne.computer.corp [659.222.920.0.115]

          Security: 7      Complexity: 5     Static: 2
          Camouflage: 0    Integrity: 5      Force: 3

          Barriers: 5
          Types: warning, fuzzyball, crash, erase, wipeout

So how does all this work together? Let's use the above two examples and say that Nullfactor has some information about a Registry codeboy named Pamis who stole from the Yakuza and is on the run somewhere in Delta City. Nullfactor is in SeaPort, but that won't slow him down.

Nullfactor initiates his spiderig links by using Communications + Intellect +d6 to connect to the global infosphere. The difficulty is the Security + Static + d6 rating of the domain (Columbia; 6 and 3) he is currently in. Optional: the number of his successes can determine how long he can stay illegally online before some domain hunter-killer bots 'bill' him for non-payment.

First, Nullfactor wants some basic info. He uses his Registry suite to sift the contents of various Registry files in Delta-Z to find everything he can about Pamis. He rolls his turbohacking (7) plus his Registry suite (8) plus d6, scores 18. His difficulty is Delta-Z domain's Security (7) plus Registry Barriers (8) plus d6, total 17. Barely succeeding, Nullfactor only retrieves a brief physical appearance (blonde, green eyes, 5 foot 8, two missing teeth, genesequence ACAAGGBDDGBA).

With the physical appearance he can now search all the databanks at his disposal using his Dossiers suite. Nullfactor rolls his Turbohacking skill (7) plus his Dossiers suite (8), but wait, his processor runs all his suites at rating 7 or less, so the Dossiers is actually only 7, plus d6 (4) = 18 again. The GM figures that since Pamis is just some dweeb codeboy, his personal records would probably be kept on some cheesy Clan databank like Programmers United (rating 5). Difficulty is now Delta-Z domain's Security (7) plus P.U. Barriers (5) plus d6 (3) = 15. That's 3 successes for Nullfactor, giving him a complete profile on Pamis from Programmers United. The profile indicates that Pamis' work sucked and that he often stole code blocks and was reprimanded. Someone shielded him from getting fired, obviously, since he still worked there until he fled. Nullfactor takes a guess: Maybe a corrupt boss?

Nullfactor makes another Dossiers roll on people who might have been Pamis' managers, but this time he's caught by a Barrier in a Heartlands host in St. Louis called Holodyne, which only issues a warning and rebuffs him. Deciding to go easy on the next step, Nullfactor goes into Stealth Mode and uses Pamis' identity profile to see if anyone currently matches Pamis' previous movement patterns on the subway. Turbohacking 7 + Municipal 4 + 2 +3 (extra die for Stealth operation) = 13 vs. Delta-Z 7 + subway Barriers (GM figures it about 4) + 1 = 12. Just succeeding, Nullfactor skims the pedestrian control Psi and catches a glimpse of Pamis getting into a streetcar. Nullfactor then uses his Tracking suite to shadow Pamis across the city, using his genesequence as a marker. Pamis shows up at the house of his second-but-last boss, a Mr. Andully. Nullfactor makes a Dossiers roll on this guy. Skill 7 + Dossiers 7 + 3 = 17. Difficulty is Delta-Zone Security 7 + Holodyne Barriers 7 (where Mr. Andully now works) + 6 = 20. Oww! Holodyne wins and erases 4 points off his Search suite, effectively destroying it. Nullfactor gets mad. He summons all his black ice connections and makes a wild attack on several Holodyne hosts in Delta-Z. Nullfactor rolls Skill 7 + Cracking 7 + 6 = 20 versus Security 7 + Holodyne Barriers 7 + 1 = 15. This does 5 points of damage to Holodyne hosts and crashes them in a flash of scrambled code. Nullfactor takes over a small eyesat and zooms in on Mr. Andully's residence using milliwave scanners....and sees a dozen people frantically running around inside. He smiles.


As you can see, the whole exercise is fairly simple but requires some judgement on the GM's part about the Barrier ratings of various hosts that are being invaded by Nullfactor. These numbers can be extrapolated from the status of the company running a host and its Domain location. Nullfactor invades many hosts during his runs, but they are generalized and quickly resolved. The GM should add virtual-reality background as Nullfactor cruises through the Delta-Z Transportation Corporation's rainbow-colored multi-layered traffic grids and talks to the Routing Pseudo-Intelligence to see if anyone matches Pamis' description. And Nullfactor can be doing all this while he rides in the van with the rest of his fire team.

Other notes: Nullfactor can be running up to 9 operations simultaneously on his Flambe spiderig, but each action still takes a round for Nullfactor to initiate. If holodyne had a turbohacker defending it, he would go head-to-head with Nullfactor. Initiative would be determined by Processor + Reflex, higher goes first. Damage would shut down 1 suite per point of damage. Once a hacker's suites are all crashed, he goes offline and must re-initiate his links using another Communications roll.