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.
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
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
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
Host: blue.holodyne.computer.corp [659.222.920.0.115]
Security: 7 Complexity: 5 Static: 2
Camouflage: 0 Integrity: 5 Force: 3
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.