Monday, November 5, 2018

//GLoG.dat -hackr -?



Really backed myself into a corner, title wise, by placing the .dat file in the root.

So anyway, the idea here was to find a solution for a hacker that didn’t have them playing their own mini session with the GM while everyone sat around bored. Honestly, I had very little in the way of ideas on how to do that until I came across this blog post by Michael Bacon while casually looking at the Cyberpunk 2020 hacking section in an SRD. The two just sort of meshed. Yeah, last post made it seem like I had something lined up, didn’t it? A very clever lie.

Anyway, the short of it is, the cyberspace of 20XX is heavily dependent on meatspace, and is accessible through augmented reality. This slows hacking down to the speed of every other action, rather than Shadowrun’s “speed of thought” deal.

Is it the best solution? Maybe not. But it seems usable and opens the door for other ideas.

Hacking in a Vague Description
You get one cache slot per level that can hold a single program. You load these at daily wakeup.

You get one processing die (d6) per level that can be used to execute a program. These are refreshed by a night's worth of defragmenting.

You execute programs by allocating your processing die in a program and then rolling them. The more dice, the more effective the program execution. Each die you invest has a 50% chance of returning (on a 1-3) into your processing pool.

So...Wait...What?
There’s two things you’ve got to keep in mind during all this: 1) The tech of 20xx isn’t like the tech of today. Gone are the days of CD-ROMs, USB, and platter hard drives. Now is the time of solid states, high capacity cassettes, and ZIP-disks. 2) The programs your running, for the most part, aren’t standard programs. They’re major resource hogs, probably originally developed by a world military to run on specialized computers. Low- to mid-level AIs generated to perform a very specific purpose. Kaung grade MK11 type stuff. Definitely shouldn’t be in the hands of a street user. Your deck is bleeding edge and modded all to hell, but can still only execute a minor handful before needing some serious garbage collection.

Actually, a third thing. Given the saturation of technology (from wearable devices to microcontrollers in weapons, nearly everything is part of the IoT) and the advancement of security (signal dampening paint for instance), cyberspace takes on a skewed, yet similar image of the real world. People appear as clouds of processing points within personal area networks, and objects can vaguely be made out based on their thickness, material, and the way signals bounce off them. High level AIs (thems with the ability to reason and self initiate) roam cyberspace carrying out tasks by their owners, or potentially going rogue and casing trouble.

Your Deck
This is your portable supercomputer. I say portable, but I mean it in the way a cooler is portable. “Yes, technically”, but still a pain in the ass. While you can store up to 10 programs in the data storage of the deck, only programs in the cache slot can be executed. Loading programs are typically done before deployment to the field, as they take roughly an hour to transfer.

The most typical way to interface with your Deck is over AR (augmented reality) - a pair of goggles that display the virtual world overlaid on the real world, allowing for the viewing of both cyberspace and meatspace at the same time.

Cassettes
I could try telling you these are Special Command Read-Only LogLess Scripts (see what I did there?), however that would be unimportant. Also complete gibberish. What these are are high capacity analog magnetic tape that store the ones and zeros for a military grade program, suitable for one time use. Inserting the cassette into your deck allows you to execute the stored program, providing a free processing die from the on-board processor. Should you choose, you may allocate your decking resources to the execution of the program. Again, being military, these are single use items that self destruct after a single use.

Transferring programs from cassette to deck, and vise versa, is possible, but a huge pain in the ass. It also takes about an hour, but any number of programs can be swapped between the deck and cassettes.

If you seek to execute a program that you’re not sure of what it is, consult your GM.

Faults and Snowcrashes
Because of the experimental nature of it all, sometimes you encounter system errors. Faults are relatively minor errors and occur when the processing die produces doubles. Snowcrashes occur when triples are rolled, and are horrible. Don’t roll triples.

Faults
1. Resource hog - Dice only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours.
2. Short Circuit - Take 1d6 damage
3. Static Arc - CyberDeck takes 1 endurance damage
4. Zombie process - An unterminated process is taking up a processor. Lose one processing die for 24 hours.
5. Feedback - Headache inducing patterns overwhelm your AR interface. Agony for 1d6 rounds.
6. Ctrl+Alt+Del - Cannot execute any programs for 1d6 rounds while the tasks restart.

Snowcrash
1. I/O board is fried - It’ll take you 24 hours to fix it
2. Motherboard is burnt out - It’ll take you 72 hours to fix it
3. Prison of Your Own Flesh - A feedback error causes you to hallucinate for 48 hours straight. As it dies down, you find yourself unable to return to your deck, the horrors you saw scaring you off it again and again.

Wait...I can get hurt by this?

Oh yes. From Faults and Snowcrashes, to any number of AI, anti-personel programs, or ICE protocols can assault your deck, or other devices, causing it to play havoc on your cerebellum. Such is the trade off for modern day godlike ability: Sometimes you’re the only one able to see the monster.

Anyway, on to the brass tacks -

Hacker
You're a console cowboy; master of the realm digital. You collect military grade computer hardware for nefarious activities in cyberspace. Stay outta Memphis hotel rooms.

Starting Skills: [1] - coding, [2] - cryptocurrency, [3] - dive bars
Starting Equipment: CyberDeck; light pistol; 2 casettes

A.     +1 processing die, + 1 cache slot, +2 programs
B.     +1 processing die, + 1 cache slot, +2 programs, Projection
C.     +1 processing die, + 1 cache slot, +2 programs, Virtual Agent
D.     +1 processing die, + 1 cache slot, +2 programs, Merge Programs

Projection
You've finally been able to afford the 'trodes upgrade. While wearing them, you may close your eyes and concentrate, leaving the prison of meatspace behind. Your consciousness falls completely into Cyberspace, allowing you to move freely through the system. Spatial relations lose meaning, becoming more abstract; PANs take on the form of geometric shapes. Networks outside the Cloud appear as large, black monoliths. AIs appear in their cold, logical true form - four dimensional shapes, ever in motion and pulsing with light.

For purposes of other programs, your current location within Cyberspace counts as the origin of the range. You are fully visible to any in AR, and a silvery digital trail leads back to your deck. Programs that target a device can target your deck if your projected location is within range.

Virtual Agent
    You've managed to incorporate a secondary array of RAM into your deck, and allowed an AI to take up residence within it. It can perform simple tasks on it's own, such as executing a program at a given time, however it is only a mid-level AI and still requires commands from you. Should the deck fall into a "broken" state, it will take 24 hours after completely fixing the deck for the AI to return.

Merge Programs
   By putting two different programs on cassettes into a special virtual machine, and forced to combine based on survivability. Think of it as a genetic algorithm thunderdome. Don’t worry, they’re probably not sentient. After the week of retraining, the combined programs produce one of the following:
1) A random program
2) A mutation of one of the programs
3) A new program based on the combined  programs

Note: I considered making "Create Program" an ability, however that basically translated out to "Do the GM's work." Which is a suck power. If you have an idea for a program, talk to your GM about it.

Programs
This is a non-exhaustive list of programs, and many more may exist out in the world. Typically a program comes in one of three catagories: Offense, Defense, and Utility. I've not labeled them.

Object saves: If the equipment is on a person, use their save. They’ve clearly fiddled with the settings. AIs save as NPCs.

Programs
R: Range     T: Target D: Duration

Babel
R: Self     T: Self D: Concentration
A language program for decrypting or encrypting files. The process operates on [dice] files at a time.

Charm12
R: Connected     T: Device D: [dice] real time minutes
You temporarily reactivate the low level AI in a broken device and are able to query its memory. May know how it broke if the event was logged in time.

Credentials
R: 20’     T: [dice] Device    D: [sum] turns
Makes a device believe the user has authorized access. Invest 3 [dice] to instead target an AI and convince it you are admin level user.

Disguise
R: 50’     T: Device  D: [dice] hours
Makes a device appear as another within Cyberspace.

Fireball
R: 200’     T: AI D: Instant
Does [sum] 'fire' damage to all higher level AI within the sphere. Save for half.

GlobalQuery
R: Self     T: the Cloud    D: Instant
Through accessing various backdoors of common public record databases, user may as [dice] yes/no questions. If [sum] is 10+, user may ask any question using [dice] words.

JuryRig
R: Connected     T: Device D: Instant
Communicates with the Device’s low level AI and attempts to find a work around for the damage done to the device, though at a price. Temporarily removes [dice] quality checks for [sum] rounds, before breaking completely until properly repaired.

Knock
R: 30’     T: Device  D: Instant
Injects a litany of various common “OPEN” commands into the targeted equipment. Has a [dice]-in-6 chance of working. You’d be surprised what uses an “open” command: automated doors, smartgun actions, parachutes, etc.

Powerword: Blind
R: 20’     T: User D: Instant
When targeted against visual equipment, generates blinding light which...uh, blinds the user for [dice] rounds. Save negates. Cyberoptic implants count as “visual equipment.”

Powerword: Deafen
R: 20’     T: User D: Instant
When targeted against audio equipment, generates a high pitched squelch that deafens the user for [dice] rounds. Save negates. Cybercochlear implants count as “audio equipment.”

Powerword: Stun
R: 20’     T: User D: Instant
Generates a power loop feedback in the device of a user, stunning them for [dice] rounds. Save negates.

Ratatalk
R: 20' T: Device D: [dice] real time minutes
Allows communication with currently functioning device AI. Program translates between machine and human.

Rati
R: 20' T: Device D: Concentration
Allows for the accessing of networks not connected to the Cloud. Any network worth breaking into has ICE patrolling its systems, always comparing activity against Suspicion Profiles. However, there is a [dice]-in-6 chance the program will hide you well enough for ICE to ignore you.

RevealAI
R: 100’     T: Device D: [sum] turns
Allows for pinging and probing a device to determine if it’s an AI disguising itself. AI must save to remain hidden.

SignPost
R: 0’     T: Location    D: [dice] days
User is able to leave [sum] length message within the cloud, bound to their current location. This message is viewable by all. Note, this is different from Message Boards or AR advertisements, as those require a dedicated device. This steals a bit of space from surrounding devices to avoid the need of a hosting device.

Shatter
R: 25’     T: Device  D: Instant
Generates feedback in the device. Device must save or take [dice] damage to durability.

ShieldWall
R: 50'     T: Device  D: [dice] turns
Adds +4 to device’s saves.

Static Wall
R: 100’     T: Location   D: Concentration
Generates a solid wall of static in cyberspace. Moving through the space in meat space does [dice] durability damage to devices. AIs take [sum] damage.

Stiltskin
R: 50’     T: Device  D: 5*[dice] turns
Puts a device into a sleep mode.

VirusScan
R: Connected     T: Device D: [Dice] turns
Detects whether current device has a virus or other malicious code

Watchdog
R: 50’     T: Self D: [dice] hours
Detects devices/AI/ICE moving within Range and alerts the user.

Web
R: 20‘    T: Self D: Concentration
Your deck begins to spew garbage signals within a radius around you, making it look like there are a multitude of devices within the area, requiring [sum]/2 rounds to sort through to find you. Flammable.

The Turing Institute has cataloged the following programs, and keep them securely contained in non-networked computers. (They’re ideas I thought of, but deemed too powerful - or just odd. Could be usable for plot, so here they are):

Powerword: Kill
R: 20’     T: User D:Instant
Sends a massive power surge through the device, killing the user

Doom Song
R: 20’     T: Device   D: Instant
Does [dice] worth of durability damage to the device. If this breaks the device, add +1 to the [dice] value and target all devices within 25’ of the original.

Implant Suggestion
R: 20'     T: User D: Instant
Over loads sensory equipment to produce a frequency that implants a [dice] word command into the target's brain.
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