SR5 development: Wireless bonuses

Shadowrun 5 Logo with Text

 

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, one of the main design philosophies going into Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is that we like Shadowrun, Fourth Edition. One of the noble tasks of Fourth Edition was involving hackers more in the action, thanks to the existence of the wireless Matrix. Wireless activity gave them all sorts of cool things to do, including shutting down wireless-enabled guns. They may not be able to shoot as well as some of the other players, but by taking out another combatant’s gun, they can be powerfully effective in a fight.

This power, though, came with a hitch. If you were going into a fight, and you knew that your gun could be shut down by an enemy hacker, would you want to use a wireless-enabled gun? Would you take that chance? For many people, it simply was not worth the risk. So they went in with wired technology instead of wireless-enabled devices, and the tool hackers briefly had started to disappear.

We decided that one of our goals for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition was to make it harder for people to decide to turn off their wireless functionality. We thought about using carrots or sticks for motivation, and we settled on carrots. The way this works out in game mechanics is that gear comes with a standard bonus and a wireless bonus. Want to use it without a security risk? Great, you still get good functionality from your piece of gear. Want a little extra performance? Then crank up the wireless.

The type and size of the bonus varies based on the kind of item it is. Take, for example, the chemical seal armor modification. This is not something that you would expect would depend much on wireless performance, so its basic function–protecting you from inhaling or contacting harmful chemicals–does not depend on wireless functionality. The wireless bonus is very simple–when wireless is off, you need a Complex Action to activate the seal, while when it’s on, it only takes a Simple Action–and that’s in keeping with the low risk of having it wirelessly enabled. Of all the things a hacker might target on the battlefield, a chemical seal is pretty low on the list.

Vision enhancement, though, is a different story. This is a piece of gear that could stand to gain from being wirelessly enabled. The gear could collect data from signals flying all around, translating it into useful visual information. This means if you don’t have this enhancement wirelessly enabled, you add its rating to your limit on visual Perception Tests. Activate the wireless, and you also get the rating as a dice pool modifier on visual Perception Tests. The enhancement might be a more likely target for hackers, but it’s also delivering a solid bonus for having its wireless functionality on.

Is it worth the risk? That’s your choice. As with everything else in the game, the bonus comes with a price, and you have to decide if you want to pay it.

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30 Comments

  1. Steadfast
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like that an already complex game is getting now more complicated due to tons of extratrules for the gear. I very much hope it is not as cumbersome as I envision it now.
    And, on a sidenote, wireless killed this game for me back in fourth, I love the mechanics, I love the world – I hate wireless. It is an awfull security risk for everyone involved. I will take a looksee in fith of course, but I am very wary.

    • Shan
      Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      “SR is already too complex” AGREE STRONGLY.

      Pare back the HUGE crunch volume. Some of the systems need to be far simpler.

      Hacking is a great one for simplifying. presently the end result is you pass or you fail, with little or no variation on this theme. You hack it or you dont. There is a huge amount of bullshit required for this very binary outcome. thats just poor execution.

      “KISS” – What would be the down side of just making the hack more straight forward? could be be effectively dice-less? So what if it made Hacking good. I’d do backflips if players WANTED to play a hacker as it was a great choice. After all the game is meant to feature cyberspace and hacking.

      For example: ICE could come in different “configurations” i.e. have _Key-words_ and have a Rating score. ICE-breaking programs could come in “types” designed to defeat/beat certain “configuration” key-words and rating scores.

      The Hacking mini-game would then be about loading in to (deck) memory, the right Breakers. Thats cool. Sort of like you need the right spells (programs) memorized (in your deck) from your spell book.

      The hackers skill in game is brought to the fore in “re-purposing/recompiling ” the programs he has loaded on the fly, temporarily “buffing” a breaker programs Rating strength or changing its “configuration” _key -word_, (temporarily) to one which may give him a chance to hack through that ICE that is giving him trouble. The resource management angle is enforced with just how often he can “recompile” a program with out “corrupting” it.

  2. Darkfeather
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    This seems kind of backward. One would expect a bonus for wired use with guns as the would be no interference and no wait time for buffering etc. Is wireless use faster somehow than being directly linked to the device in question? It’s cool that deckers would gain a bonus against wireless users, but seems like too much of a risk for others.

    • Thunderspeaks
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      From what I’m reading the use of a piece of tech can be done without wireless, ie thermographic vision. With wireless you get a bonus. Perhaps your cyber eyes are taking advantage of the local matrix nodes to add triangulation to your target allowing you to better zero in. This comes in the form of a bonus. When you do this though, you open yourself up to attacks from deckers. I’m not sure that they would be able to shut your eyes off entirely, perhaps this is the case, but they would at the very least be able to deny you the wired bonus.

  3. MIchael
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    The first character i ever made from SR4 was a hacker. Every other character i made after that, I wanted to be partially hacker too. But both as a PC and GM I found the rules behind hacking were broken, and far far to slow to be useful in combat. it takes a complex action to even FIND an opponents weapon, let alone hack into it. In the time it took me to hack into an enemys AR or gun, my teammates would have already killed that enemy. In order for shadowrun Hacking to work, hackers need to be 10x faster than they currently are, and the hammers and eggshells scheme needs to be replaced with something more reasonable. I wish you guys would ask the fans more about what needs to be changed before releasing sr5. PLEASE unbreak this game so my friends and I can continue enjoying it…

    • Case
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      If you want a character who waves his hands and makes the enemy drop dead, play a mage. If you want to play a hacker, do what a hacker is supposed to do instead of complaining that your matrix skills cannot deflect bullets or banish spirits.

  4. Posted May 4, 2013 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    I think I’m missing something…

    Under the suggested rules, couldn’t someone simply use a skinlink to get the advantages without the penalties?

    And is this even an issue? In my games, people have their devices slaved to their commlink (via skinlink or wireless), and they keep their commlinks turned on to enable them to communicate, share sensory feeds, run tacnets etc, which means that their devices are always available to be hacked. Why would someone run without the ability to communicate all of this rich data without their team mates?

    • Wraith
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Because it is sometimes more valuable to -not- communicate all this rich data to their enemies.

  5. James Ewert
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    I like the effect on game mechanics, but I’m pretty concerned about the fluff that you’re going to use to rationalize these bonuses. My favorite way to play is to get very nitty-gritty with the fluff, allows the team to add depth to our game, and facilitating a whole load of interesting solutions.

    So.. do you have compelling fluff for this carrot business?

  6. russell
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    that example doesnt fully make sense , inless my gogles or eyes are hacking the incomming and surrounding signals to tell me what they are doing. meaning I have to have active softs running basic ecm/eccm going ontop or doing my visuals checks to see what im seeing.
    If my thermal/nightvision/smartgun goggles/eyes have wireless on they might be able to say that dot of heat over their is putting out these 5 types of signals, but that shouldnt help my aim and i cant tell what they are seeing or doing with out hacking their signals wich would be an active hack that would prevent me from just droping rounds on target. if you make it so dependent on wireless signals i think your embracing the worsts parts of 4th ed.

    my cyber arm might need software updates that can be had over wireless, but i should be able to do them via cable at a secure local also no sense leaving it on and mechanicly giving me a bonous is nice but how would having “wifi” on my arm be better for anything that my coms is not already doing.

    Its like your making an exscuse to give wireless hackers and in to mess with people that shouldnt be their to make them viable on an open warfare setting like a desert wars.

    • raevyn
      Posted June 8, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      My first SR4 character was a technomancer I built to basically run around messing around with npc wireless devices while simultaneously buffing my team. Basically, minmaxed for search progs to minimize time finding those pesky wireless signals and then hacking the gear, and more points dumped into tacnet progs. Highly effective at those few things, but other facets of hacking were uh, lacking. Specializing has it’s drawbacks too.

  7. Murdoch
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Same here.
    The idea is not so bad in principle, but implementation can make it awful.
    And while the second example given is quite witty, the first introductory one
    is feeling pretty “pushing people to be wireless whatever the convoluted and not
    convincing explanations given”.
    Actions costs is a central point of fight/stressful situations, and while all the game is not
    all about that, well, knowing that you can activate a seal fast enough to protect yourself
    of a deadly gaz is quite important. Not as important that being able to fight more effectively
    by detecting ennemies more accurate, but still.
    But the rationale about it is not rational at all.
    Why a wire linked to a datajack would not be as fast as a wireless signal?
    I think the microseconds of time taken to reach the command parts don’t account for a simple
    action (and actually I am not even sure it is on the order of microseconds)
    And I think this is trying hard.
    Some equipment should not be touched by such a difference.
    Most implants should not be. Who want some arms who could turn off for
    diagnostic in the middle of a fight? Really? And that is the guy in the novel
    you took for representing the “obsessed to be a pro and to behave like it” persona.
    Really? What a joke!
    Most implants work by wiring themselves on nervous system and there is no way
    that wireless would be usefull to this, or faster.
    You want an answer for balancing the hackers? Well, don’t take the possibility
    of them toying with people implants into account, because appart of really specific
    cases, it has no reason to be. Invasiveness (and so, Essence) is not even a good point,
    since wiring something on the nervous system were it has to connect anyway don’t make so much
    of a difference with just having an emettor/receptor. And if such a tech would be used instead,
    it would be more of the kind of skinlinks than wireless loads of crap that anybody with a brain in
    our era is already concerned about letting open for script kiddies to mess with.
    There has been a lot of concern about a hacker able to hack a pacemaker.
    So I think that 70 years later that would be even more of an important concern,
    above all with the technomancer scare and so on (oh, yeah, a guy can hack my legs? With his mind?!)
    And, if really wifi had to be used, the range of signals (0), coupling with specific encoded adresses
    in hardware chips and with the pan would make it nearly impossible to do.

    At last, you are trying to make the hacker a combat type to appeal on roleplayers,
    but there are more ways to fight and win a battle than just attacking directly your opponent.
    And that is the smart way hackers already had before, while implants and so on have no reason
    to be unwired, the environment has plenty. And when you can turn lights of, activate alarms,
    soakers, and potentially deadly security countermeasures, you don’t need awful reasons
    to hack a gun, an armor or an implant. And if your environment is not deadly enough to help
    you dispatch your opponent, well, that’s too bad for you if you are not counting on your
    team, a hacker is a specialist, as such, even if Shadowrun is not a class-type characters RPG,
    he can be as good for kicking ass as a samuraï who dedicated its life to the brim of its flesh.
    That’s the way life is.
    So please quit the “let’s BALANCE character classes even if doesn’t make sense” bullshit
    which comes from the MMORPG community and had to stay with it, because
    RPG and videogames should not be played the same, or in the end it just makes for
    failed RPGs and I think that is not what you want Shadowrun 5 to be.

  8. Murdoch
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    *he can’t be, sorry

  9. Wraith
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    This entire design idea makes me even more leery of shelling out $50+ on SR5. As you note in the blog, players went out of their way to not interact with this mechanic in SR4, because they did not like it. Punishing them with an orange-painted stick for not wanting to interact with it in SR5 does not particularly seem like a good, or fun, concept.

  10. Michael Brown
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Very nice. As the player of a technomancer, those tricks were often all I had. I’m eager to see the in-game “events” that led to this wireless vs. not-wireless. The fluff, as mentioned above.

  11. Case
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    >> So they went in with wired technology instead of wireless-enabled devices, and the tool hackers briefly had started to disappear.<<

    They did not "start to disappear", the concept never existed in actual play because it is utterly stupid. Not just from a fluff perspective, but also from simple gameplay economics: Hacking a gun to eject a clip takes around 5 IPs at best, but most enemies do not even last 3 IPs.

    Here's an idea: If players everywhere kicked a concept from their games as soon as 4th Edition was released, maybe the concept just failed and should not be forced upon players with bogus fluff about wireless being better than wired transmissions.

  12. Dr. Curiosity
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Why would anyone make a chemical seal system that you can’t just smack a simple button to engage in an emergency? Or say a word? Or link it to a sensor that triggers in the presence of known contaminants? Sounds like an OSHA nightmare. If that kind of system doesn’t work fast regardless of the interaction mode, then it’s a big design flaw.

    That trigger seems like a much more useful advantage in a wireless-enabled ChemSeal system: talking to other sensors (either on the PAN or in the environment) to handle that kind of thing for you automatically, while you’re worrying about more important things that require human intervention: shooting intruders, putting out chemical fires, checking that Patient Zero really is still in his holding cell, etc… Here, wireless gives the advantage of letting your devices anticipate and automate default actions for you.

    On the other hand if you’re linked into your lab’s envirosensor node during an alert, and the enemy decker spoofs out the “all clear” signal while you’re still wading around two metres deep in Neurostun… yes, there are definite advantages to a manual system too.

  13. Ryo
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted hackers to be useful in combat in 4th, but the mechanics were too clunky to make it worthwhile to try, and as soon as it happened once, every player just went ‘wait, why is this gear wireless anyway?’ and just started specifying that it was all turned off. Giving them a reason to keep it on is awesome, but if you implement it wrong, you will just alienate people by making them feel like you’re making up an excuse to let them be hacked, like some of these replies give.

    I think the main thing most people think of when they think of a hacker trying to hack them is their cyberware. So why would that be wireless? Well in order to use any kind of implant, it has to be connected to your brain, unless you want to put a button on your chest that you press to turn on your adrenal pump. So how do you connect a piece of cyberware to your brain? I think there should be three options for that.

    A: a radio transmitter is implanted in the brain that allows it to communicate with all implants wirelessly, and then all implants have wireless enabled. This is the least invasive option, so it would cost the least essence, but it means your implants can be hacked.

    B: Your implants are hooked into your nervous system directly. This isn’t any more invasive and it can’t be hacked, but the simple fact of the matter is that radio signals move at the speed of light, and your nervous system, well, doesn’t. Might not be a big deal most of the time, but when we’re talking about cybered out ubermenches with 4 IPs, every millisecond counts. Not entirely sure what would be the best way to implement this, but I imagine the simplest would be ‘using it is a simple action instead of a free action’ kind of thing.

    C: You install cybernerves to connect the implant to your brain, which would essentially be fiber optic cables. Just as fast as wifi and can’t be hacked, but way more invasive, so it costs more essence.

    Or maybe rather than giving neural connections an action penalty, wireless would have an action bonus, going with the carrot vs stick idea. Maybe if its wireless or connected via cybernerves, you can activate something as a free action instead of a simple? Or maybe it gives you a kind of bonus IP, where you can take actions on an IP you normally don’t have, but only when its related to that piece of cyberware.

    The only thing that doesn’t really work with is wired reflexes, since that’s essentially replacing your entire nervous system with the cybernerve idea, so there’s no reason to let that be wireless.

    • Wraith
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      That just begs the question of why, if cybernetic replacements have been up and running for over 50 years, is it just now coming to anyone’s mind to do this.

      It doesn’t follow from the established setting, unless we accept that the entire world is just holding the Idiot Ball to make the mechanic function. There’s no real need for the vast majority of cyberware to be wireless-accessible, and cramming it in just to make the edge-case of a combat effective decker work at the cost of badly hurting the suspension of disbelief of the setting is poor form.

      After all, you don’t see things being touted to rewrite rules to make the dedicated Face characters combat effective. The response to them is just ‘you should spread your skills out and pick up some basic self defense’.

      • Ryo
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        It’s only coming to their attention now because the entire world was already holding the idiot ball by taking an extra 80+ years to even figure out wireless was a thing, let alone implement it. According to the Shadowrun fluff, cell phones weren’t even a thing when cyberware first came on the scene, let alone any kind of wireless technology. Technology advanced in very different ways than the game developers who designed the setting in the 80s were able to predict, and they’ve been playing anachronism catchup ever since. The fact that neither Wireless nor AR existed until 4th edition is proof of that.

        • Wraith
          Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Cell phones have been a thing since SR1. The pocket secretary is in the original main book. Wireless technology existed, as noted by the Sat Uplink in the original Virtual Realities. Things were kept hard lined because it was more secured.

          By SR3, there were local pockets of wireless Matrix service, but again, they weren’t connected to anything major because they were not secure. Jamming wireless everywhere for the sake of trying to ‘modernize’ a setting that split from our world in the 80′s did not do it any favors.

          • Civilian_Zero
            Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:57 am | Permalink

            I just want to thank you for being the only person who seems to agree with me.

            I’ve never needed Shadowrun to be an accurate representation of our future as we see it from the present. Inevitably, it will be outdated eventually anyway, and Cyberpunk has always screamed 80′s to me.

            They should have either rebooted it if they wanted to update the whole thing to a “modern future” or just left it to progress naturally from where it began in SR1.

  14. russell
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    If you want a combat decker, thats great but they combat up to the computer and have the team hold the line while they deck, they should not be shooting bursts from a sandler while opening a door and checking the guards implants for weakness at the same time.
    I gotta say the idea that everyone is capable of battle is not needed.
    Just make the decking fast and quick that way it doesnt turn into its own night of the game while the rest of the players come back and do the leg work anouther night as it was in 2nd and 3rd edition.
    And the whole you have to broadcast your ID through your pan at all times seems a little rediculas why would any populas allow this, its like basicly keeping your credit score , a come rape me address , your birthdate and facebook page on display to the world so you can go get some soy caf. Its not secure and we always drop the cops ask you why you are not broadcasting your ID at all times thing as no one wants an easy to hack personal file with heck even your dna and finger prints on file to just be floating around your AR or VR head.
    that has to go as well if you ask me. Its serriusly a problem for any good looking or weak looking person to have your home address and all floating out their at all time so some perverted rapist now knows your home adress by getting into a lv4 system. not to hard.

  15. Mara
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    This does make me hope that hacking gets sped up. However, I don’t see the opposition some people are having to the idea of having an
    advantage if you take the risk of going wireless. I also am more inclined to believe that this is a case that they are writing a blog, and not
    putting the explanations in the book as to exactly why the wired and wireless bonuses work, and leave it up to GMS to explain.
    For the Vision Enhancement, for example, I would be more inclined to explain it as that your wireless connectivity is picking up all the
    passive wireless information in the world, and the enhancement is making it easier for you to see(I figure most people actually know
    either someone who can or how to themselves block out AR stuff that is not important) something, like, say, the RFID on that shellcasing
    under the dumpster, or in the bullets in the guy waiting in ambush’s gun. For the Chemseal, I would figure that it is normally a more involved
    process: pulling the mouth piece up, turning the air-recycling on and overpressure on, which has to be done with multiple steps if it is
    not wireless enabled, but wireless lets you send the command as you pull the face-piece into place.If the things to do that are not all inside
    the suit, then you run into an issue where the wire from your datajack could actually mess with the suits integrity.

    • russell
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      im just going to say that for the chemseal as you are saying it just saying “chemseal on” or hitting a button or using your head jeck thats wired into your combat helmet should be just as fast if not faster than a wireless signal that can be blocked and interfeared with or even over ridden.
      It should not be faster , and again with the leaving your eyes or goggles on wireless, smartgun optics already trace bullet paths and why would all their ammo have rfid’s and not yours , just like every good shadowrunner runs a rfid tag remover over all their stuff so do the bad guys.
      It just seems like a way to make it so you have to get hackable for no reason other than keeping the deckers and otaku constently in the loop.

      Its like when they added in the magic book that anyone can go on your astral journeys to ascened , its basicly something added so the street sam and the decker didnt have to sit around all night becuase the mage was going to go through the planes for a bit. they dont do you any good but as extra targets for what ever your fighting to hit at. The benifits of having your guns armor and cyber not open to being detected and turned off remotly should be pretty clear. and having wireless on should not help much.

      If your on a roof with a sniper rifle and you turn on your wireless for your scope and rifle. whats the range on your signal 0 or 1? your not going to reach the target. so inless you can raise the range via your pan or a knob you wont see any benifit except that the rules want to give you a carrot for giving away your postition and being the worlds dumbest sniper for doing so.
      I just think its a cherecter balance thing they added and its not needed, we are all not created equals when it comes to our abilities and possesions why should our SR chars be?

      • Ryo
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Because it’s a game, and people who sit around not doing anything tend not to have fun when they play games. Every shadowrun game I’ve played has fallen into the same problem with hackers. Either they steal the show, and all the meatpeople are sitting around not having fun, or while the rest of the group is actually doing the run, the hacker is sitting there not having any fun. End result almost always goes towards nobody wanting to play hackers anymore.

        • russell
          Posted May 7, 2013 at 4:15 am | Permalink

          Same thing happens for the rigger once they pick up or drop off.
          “deckers” can do anything a rigger can with drones and piloting these days.

          Also if you want to play out the “Faces” stuff at some high society event or somewhere that the Troll and dwarf razor boys and the ecentric shamen wouldnt fit in, then its boring for everyone else agian . its near immpossible to run the whole party through every section of a game as a whole once you raise above street level runs.

  16. Tim
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure that the reason hackers weren’t hacking more in combat wasn’t that there was a lack of things to hack, but that the rules for hacking were so clunky that the street sam wasted all the bad guys by the time the hacker finished hacking the first dude’s gun.

    This seems like they’re creating solutions to problems that don’t really exist.

  17. Kandalon
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    As a player since 1989, I’m disappointed in this ‘must keep wireless’ mentality. Having worked in a high security field, I find the concept of wireless to be ludicrous from a security standpoint, even with the total uptake of wireless technologies, I cannot see high security targets not utilizing a hardened, physical carrier as their methodology for data transfer. Even with the need for wireless communication due to the mobility of security assets, the ability to have a very large encryption key would prevent hacking in a time-frame that would be useful to the players. To me Decking is more like real world hacking, where the time-frames are longer than 15 seconds to achieve something worthwhile.

    I have almost always ran a ‘Decker in a box’, utilizing an off site NPC-eqsue decker to achieve those goals, or when it’s a PC they’re more often a partial rigger utilizing drones and such for surveillance purposes. Never forget the power of lead pipe decryption utilizing the party to apply that physical force.

    I consider 3rd edition to be the best (so far), with it’s only flaw being able to handle target numbers higher than 7 with any sort of semblance of possibly succeeding. I loved 4th ed for having a jump in technology for most things, such as rigging a dog. But from any sort of semi-logical security engineers standpoint, especially with implanted cyberware, I cannot see any reason not to shut off all wireless capability. Where we currently have wireless technology, we also have ways to protect ourselves from it; running a Secure Personal Radio the encryption would take approximately two weeks to brute force, yet the encryption key is updated every twenty-four hours.

    How is stealth useful when everything is emitting? Just use a broad frequency antenna to detect all signals and plot them, avoid any of the ones moving, this negates stealth as you just physically aren’t around to be detected.

  18. JustAChummer
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    Might I suggest the Ghost in the Shell:Standalone Complex model for wireless functionality and hacking?

    The most basic cyberization requires a cyber-brain implant, which allows wireless access to communications and the Net. Cybernetic implants operate through one’s cyber-brain and are thus vulnerable to adept hackers. Some examples:

    The team’s sniper Saito has a cyber-eye and cyber-arm and can access military satellite data for hyper-accurate shooting. His target hacks into the feed and is able to anticipate and dodge the shot.

    A friendly fighting contest ends when The Major hacks her burly opponent’s cyber-body and he knocks himself out with a single punch.

    Our burly agent Batou hacks an enemy’s eyes, making it appear that he (Batou) is lying dead.

    The uber-hacker The Laughing Man (or is it?) is so adept at hacking cyber-brains that he can appear invisible.

    The use of dedicated terminals for more Shadowrun-style decking (“diving” in the parlance).

    Finally, cyber-brains can be placed in “autistic mode”, isolating the users from anything but dedicated, weapons-grade hacking, but also depriving the user of the benefits of constant immersion in the wireless world (instantaneous communications, etc.).

    There are many, many more examples, including “dummy barriers” for wired-in linking and even remote cyber-body piloting; I heartily recommend the series. It seems that using this model hackers could go two different, though not exclusive, paths: the “combat hacker” whose specialty is real-time manipulation of enemy wireless components in combat, and the “Net hacker” whose specialty is infiltration and information warfare. Both would have their place in a run.

    Why go wireless? Massively increased situational awareness, responsiveness, and team coordination. The downside? You might get your eyes hacked.

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