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[Gun Metal Games] So, a 3rd edition of Interface Zero...

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  • Mr. Hexes
    replied
    As a GM running a 2.0 campaign with a hacker PC, I generally like where you're going. There's some cool flavor in the 2.0 system, but it is a little difficult to parse or know what to do in some situations.

    I agree that Dramatic Tasks for crunchier hacking is the way to go, especially with how they've been modified in SWAdE.

    That said, I think you may he going down a somewhat unwieldy road with the number of successes for more secure systems. You may be better off beefing those up by increasing the penalty to the Hacking roll for the DT, and having harsher consequences for failing rolls mid-Hack.

    Back of the napkin brainstorming, something more like:

    Unrestricted: Success (possibly with penlties to the roll for minor upgrades)

    Restricted: 3 successes (with penalties from 0 to -2 depending on, say, Firewall quality? decent notice, and non-lethal IC)

    Corporate: 5 Successes (with penalties from 0 to -2, high Notice, and non-lethal IC in all but the most secure/secret areas)

    Government: 5 Successes (with penalties from -2 to -4 with very high Notice, and much more common lethal IC)

    Corporate and Gov data would also have nasty surprises riding them. Trackers, Trojans, slow counter-hacks, TAP and gear disabling viruses, etc.

    After running Savage Worlds for years, I've come to think large penalties and even things like large numbers of successes for Dramatic Tasks become cumbersome at the table. Yeah, the lower number of required successes mean PCs will crack systems more often which may seem like it's not in keeping with the bleaker aspects of Cyberpunk. To really hammer home the seriousness of the risks involved, I think you do that with severe consequences.

    Outside of hacking, something to consider. A couple of times it's come up at the table what gear and cyberware (if any) require a TAP to be active to use. The two non-hacker PCs I have end up switching off their TAPs for any kind of encounter, which can really take the wind out of a GM's sails. And there's nothing anywhere that says something like a Smartgun System needs an active TAP to function. And most of the entries only describe mechanical effects. The Smartgun System description, for instance, only tells you what it does mechanically. Not what it is in-universe. This makes it difficult to adjudicate things like the situation I described above.

    I don't expect everything to require a TAP, but some things feel like they should.


    ​​​​​​Anyway, just some thoughts. Love the setting, and I'm looking forward to what you do with 3.0!
    Last edited by Mr. Hexes; 12-27-2018, 08:44 PM.

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  • Gunmetalgames
    commented on 's reply
    The Pizza Delivery driver was a nod to Snow Crash, and the taxi driver artwork is great, imho. Art is subjective. Interface Zero embraces a lot of styles. I like Ghost in the Shell and Bubblegum crisis, but...you're saying the concepts in IZ were 80's cartoon, and you referred to actual cartoons as things that inspire you? Ghost in the shell and Bubblegum crisis were "cartoons" as well, so I'm not really sure what the point is here, other than to throw shade on the setting.

    I think Interface Zero is probably not your cup of tea.

  • mikeZekim
    replied
    Thoughts part 2.

    Thought A: Tone

    Pizza Delivery Driver and the picture for Taxi Driver generally make me roll my eyes. It is very '80s cartoon. I generally dismiss that stuff as drek that shown on the vids for kiddies.

    I generally stick to Ghost in the Shell or Bubblegum Crisis when thinking on how a cyberpunk society would look and feel like.

    Thought B: Flavor vs Information

    While I'm all for describing the world in an "in character" voice, the description needs to actually have information in it.

    Even after reading the description of Virtual Racer, I haven't a clue about the occupation.

    Thought C: Environs

    What the heck are "Wastelands"? They are mentioned often in the book and made out to be fairly common; however, there isn't a real description of them.

    I'd like to see the different environs described better. Defining features, who lives there, what is produced, etc...

    Thought D: Economics

    With the world moving towards a post-scarcity economy with more and more automation along with the rise of the gig-economy, what are the economic drivers of the world at the end of the 21st century?

    Do stores even exist or are they simply a virtual interface over a fabber? Do offices exist or does everyone tele-commute via TAPs?

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  • Gunmetalgames
    replied
    Hi everyone,

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday! I'm popping in to give you a preview of the base framework for the Hacking rules Interface Zero 3.0 will employ. This is just the basic framework. We'll have a bunch of elements that support the system; things like gear, edges, programs, and a list of security add-ons and Intrusion Countermeasures you'll be able to use to make your computer systems/Tendril Access Processors and other things unique without messing with the core framework.

    The idea is simplicity: Keep things FFF while providing a robust toolkit to create cool stuff.

    ______________________________

    HACKING THE WORLD

    In 2095, computers and networks are the nervous system of society, linking people and things together in ways past generations could only imagine. Some users can link multiple drones together and create swarms that are an extension of their mind. Personal weapons can link with the TAP, becoming an extension of your body. Those who know how can invade multiple computer systems or hack the world around them with the right skills and cutting-edge programs.

    The following section gives you everything you need to know if you want to hack in 2095. We discuss linking multiple devices to your TAP and show you how you can use programs to aid you in your assault on an individual computer, an entire network, or even someone’s brain via their Tendril Access Processor. For more detailed information on the development of information technology, hyper reality and the Tendril Access Processor, see Computers in 2095 on page XX.

    SYSTEM
    In 2095, computer technology has reached the point where things we only thought possible in the realm of science fiction movies and other media are a daily reality. Artificial Intelligence is ubiquitous. Entire city infrastructures are monitored and maintained by AI. Indeed, the sprawl you live in is often best described as a “smart city,” where everything is monitored; communications, air and ground traffic, the power grid, the TAPnet, and other critical regulatory services are all controlled by AI…

    And it all happens at the speed of thought.

    Gone are the days where a hacker spent hours and even days pounding away at a keyboard trying to penetrate a secure website. Now, hackers make use of exploits, Line of Sight Trigger (L.O.S.T) technology and Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to invade computers, networks, individual devices, and the Tendril Access Processors of their targets as fast as you can flip off the safety on your AGA Vindicator.

    Interface Zero uses both the Hacking skill and the Dramatic Tasks rules found in the Savage Worlds Adventurers Edition to quickly resolve any hacking attempts your characters attempt while on a mission. The following rules define when to simply use a Hacking skill check to invade a system, or when to use a Dramatic Task. We’ll also discuss the levels of security you’ll encounter and what they mean, the types of intrusion countermeasures (I.C.) you’ll have to deal with if you activate them and introduce new uses for the Hacking skill.
    COMPUTER SECURITY SYSTEMS

    As computer technology advances, hackers and others also increase their proficiency at breaking into secure computer systems. To counter hacking attempts, the evolution of anti-hacking software must increase exponentially. In 2095, those who wish to protect sensitive information make use of all manner of tech; cutting-edge antivirus software, smart machines, and even Artificially Intelligent entities capable of bringing a world of hurt down on any script kiddie or brainer stupid enough to venture into their domains are used to keep a computer system safe.

    This section shows you how to quickly apply beefed up defenses to your computer systems. We’ll introduce various elements of security including intrusion countermeasures, firewalls, smart machines, and AI machines.

    Note: When we refer to computers in general, we call them computer systems. When specifics are required, we use the terms computer, device, network, or Tendril Access Processor (TAP).

    SECURITY RATINGS

    All hackable systems have a security rating based on the tech level of the system. The security rating determines how many successes (if any) are required to penetrate the computer system. Some systems (like a simple lock on a door) might only need a single success on a Hacking skill roll (4 or higher), while other systems (like an automated gun turret) might require four or more successes within five rounds!

    The five security ratings are as follows:

    UNRESTRICTED
    Unrestricted computer systems and networks are found throughout the sprawl in libraries, coffee shops and other places that offer free WIFI service to their patrons. In a combat situation, extras have unrestricted security on their gear and TAPs. Wildcards never have unrestricted security for their gear/TAPs.
    Security: Hacking roll
    Security Variables: Low-level I.C. are the most common software installed on unrestricted systems, though some rare servers might have extra firewalls and alarms.


    RESTRICTED
    Restricted systems are the most common type of system found in the sprawl. The average sprawler’s TAP security is restricted, as are home security systems, vehicle controls, weapon TAP links, security cameras…pretty much any type of computer system you’ll encounter outside of a coffee shop, library, restaurant or some other public venue has restricted access. Wild cards at Novice, and Seasoned ranks typically have, at the bare minimum, restricted-level security for their TAPS and gear. Extras can also have this level of security if the GM wishes.
    Security: Dramatic Task [ between 3 and 5 successes in 5 rounds]
    Security Variables: Anti-virus software suites, intrusion countermeasures, offensive programs and other special software may be installed in these computer systems.

    CORPORATE
    As the name implies, corporate computer systems are often found in buildings and other properties owned by corporations. Wild Cards of Veteran and Heroic rank have these systems installed in their gear and TAPs. Extras can have this level of security at the GM’s discretion.
    Security: Dramatic Task [between 5 and 8 successes in 5 rounds]
    Security Variables: Alarms, Antiviral software, Smart systems (d8 Notice skill) monitoring peripheral components, AI systems (d10 Notice skill) monitoring mainframes and networks,

    GOVERNMENT
    Government security systems are state of the art. Fast processing units, AI monitoring systems, and intrusion countermeasures capable of generating enough heat in your TAP to fry your brain like an egg. Wild Cards at Legendary rank typically have this level of security installed in their gear, though extras might have a lower tier of security.
    Security: Dramatic Task [Between 7 and 10 successes in 5 rounds]
    Security Variables: Alarms, A.I systems (Notice d12 -D12+3) lethal I.C. and other elements.

    __________________________________________________ ____

    Here is a framework for computer systems. This will be where we give the basic statblock on systems, so you can tell at a glance what needs to be done to hackj a system, and what a character can do once they have hacked it.
    TYPES OF COMPUTERS

    The categories of computers define a number of things, like whether or not a simple Hacking skill check is appropriate or a Dramatic Task (and the appropriate number of successes within 5 rounds) is needed, the consequences of failure, and what you can do once you have hacked it.

    Entries
    Each type of computer system is formatted as follows:

    Name: The name of the computer system. This can be anything. Some examples are “Home Entertainment System,” “SATA-22G TAP,” “Century-series 9 Weapon Processor,” “Kenta Cyberdynamics Anti-Theft System,” etc. While we will certainly have many types of computer systems, devices, and other stuff designed for you, get creative when making your own!

    System Type: This entry defines whether the system is a computer system, device, network, or a Tendril Access Processor.

    Security: The security entry tells you if you need to make a Dramatic Task or a Hacking roll. If resolution requires a Dramatic Task, the entry will also tell you how many successes you need to achieve within 5 rounds. For more information on the Hacking skill and Dramatic tasks, see the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition.

    Success: If you successfully hack into the computer system, this entry tells you what sorts of things you can do. For example, successfully hacking a micro processing unit for a security camera allows you to change the security protocols, turn the camera on/off, edit the feed, and even overload the processor itself, which can cause the camera to explode!

    Failure: Failing a hack can have a variety of consequences, depending on the type of system, its tech level, and any intrusion countermeasures (I.C,) or programs running on the system. Before anything happens, the computer system must recognize the failure.

    If a character fails her Hacking roll, the system gets to make a Notice roll. Success indicates the system has recognized the intrusion attempt and launches an intrusion countermeasure. This entry lists the Notice skill die of the computer system, and what countermeasures it can run.

    Critical Failure: Critically failing a Hacking skill roll automatically alerts the system of the intrusion attempt. The system immediately launches an I.C. and triggers an alarm.
    Last edited by Gunmetalgames; 12-26-2018, 06:52 PM.

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  • Gunmetalgames
    commented on 's reply
    Yeah it's just a reference for me right now for stat purposes. The entry won't look that way in the book.

  • Erolat
    commented on 's reply
    Not sure I would put the "(A)" in the drone title. The description covers exactly what that implies and it makes it cleaner. It is also implies there may be a Basic(B) drone available. At least that was my first thought.

  • Soulsqueeze
    commented on 's reply
    Hi David. Where is this poll you are referring to?

  • Gunmetalgames
    replied
    Here is a new setting rule for 3.0 covering drones. It's a bit of a work in progress, but in general, I wanted drone use to be much easier to deal with than it was/is in 2.0. There will be a ton of gear tables dealing with upgrading drones, adding attachments for specific weapons and tech, etc.

    DRONES ARE YOUR FRIEND

    Drones are everywhere in 2095. They are used for delivery services, as messengers, and especially security, surveillance tasks. The average sprawler interacts with drones on a near-daily basis, and many own one. To reflect this, we take advantage of the Allies rules in Savage Worlds Adventurers Edition, allowing your characters to use any drones they own as allies. If your character has a Vehicle Control Interface implanted, her Leadership Edges apply to any drones she controls in combat.

    Drones come in two basic types: Basic(A) drones, and Smart drones.

    BASIC(A) DRONES

    Basic drones have animal-level Smarts. They do not have access to any Drone Edges. You can give Basic drones simple commands, e.g. “guard this door” or “attack that person”. In general, these commands should take an Action to execute. Tasks like guarding a position would constitute a Hold Action, and can last for as long as needed, though a Basic drone tasked with guarding a position would need more direction if someone actually attempted to move past it.

    Just like “human” allies, they have skills, which come in special modules. Each skill module provides a set of skills which represent the drone’s core programming, similar to Core Skills for a character (For more information on skill modules, see page XX). Basic drones may never have a skill module ranked higher than d6.

    Basic drones can shoot or wield any mounted weapons or activate any installed tech so long as they have the associated skill.

    SMART DRONES

    Smart drones are more expensive than basic drones, because their core processing units have Artificial Intelligence.

    Smart drones are artificially intelligent. They can have skill ranks higher than d6 and are only limited by the amount of cryptodollars you want to spend. Unlike, basic drones, smart drones can accept complex commands like “Shoot anyone with a security badge and assault rifle,” or “ Provide Covering fire at point X for 2 rounds, and then move to point Y and cover that position’.

    They can also have special Drone Edges applied to them (see page XX for a list of Drone Edges). Smart drones also have personalities. To determine a smart drone’s personality, use the table for allied personalities in the Savage Worlds Adventurers Edition core rule book.
    Last edited by Gunmetalgames; 12-19-2018, 05:45 PM.

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  • Gunmetalgames
    commented on 's reply
    Life Paths aren't simply archetypes; They are basic templates that you can use to define what type of person your character was before they started their professional lives. You should be able to take one of the life paths (or even design your own: there will be guidelines) and use it as a basic framework that best suits your character's background. In this way, you create a foundation that helps provide some focus for choices you make during character creation, such as the types of edges/hindrances, ability score builds, skill choices that best suit the type of character you want to play. I don't want to limit customization at all.

  • paladin2019
    commented on 's reply
    Lifepaths sound similar to SR Iconic Frameworks, giving extra character creation resources at the expense of some customization ability. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this. How else are we supposed to realize Molly or Turner? I'm looking at a lower powered variant, like if using a lifepath defaults starting characters to IZ2's Street Soldiers power level, please don't forget the Gutter Punks power level.

    If Lifepath is just a setting specific name for archetypes, nevermind.

  • Gunmetalgames
    commented on 's reply
    The Kickstarter will be some time in January.

  • Gunmetalgames
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks for your input!

  • Gunmetalgames
    commented on 's reply
    Not sure what you mean by setting variant. If you don't want a life path, don't take one.

  • paladin2019
    commented on 's reply
    Lifepath gives you character creation boosts like Iconic Frameworks in Savage Rifts, right? I'd like to see a setting variant where you don't start with a lifepath. Start as a normal power novice SW character; Bobby Newmark vs. Case, if you will.

  • mikeZekim
    replied
    I've had so many thoughts that I have been having a hard time organizing them.

    Thought #1

    Focus on the player characters and what they are to do in the world.

    Yes, this seems obvious, but I've seen way too many games become enamored with their setting details that the role of the PC is lost.

    My favorite example of this is Fading Suns. I was super excited when that game came out and I loved the setting. I loaned the book to a potential player and his only question after reading it was : "So what do the players do?" It was then that I realized that I didn't know either.

    Thought #2

    Savage Worlds is a game system design to produce fairly competent characters involved in activities that often lead to violence. The setting should reflect that. Again, obvious, but I've seen settings designed in such a way that use of violence was a rare exception rather than the norm.

    Thought #3

    Settings need fault lines that generate conflict. Again, this seem obvious, but a great many authors tend to tie-up all of their loose-ends and have conflicts be at equilibrium.

    Star Wars is a great example of a setting with fault lines. In the original series, there was the Empire, the Rebels, and Rogues (bounty hunters and crime lords). Even if the PCs tried living ordinary lives, the intersection of the three factions would lead to complications and thus adventures.

    Blue Planet RPG is another great example. That setting had so many fault lines running through it, I was able to write a 3-4 page "newspaper" as a handout before each session.

    One of my favorite fault line from IZ2 was the Russia/China conflict. The campaign that I designed for IZ2 (FATECore Edition) was the liberation of Siberia from China.

    Thought #4

    Groups need a reason to adventure together.

    Games like D&D and Shadowrun are great as it is easy to justify why a group of individuals routinely faces danger together.

    The further that one gets from a team-focused setup, the more difficult it becomes. I ran two different Dresden Files campaigns, and the hardest thing to do was find reasons for every single player to get involved in the current adventure.

    This was a problem with the original Cyperpunk game from RTG (aka Cyperpunk 2013). They had a number of different archtypes such as Rocker and Nomad that would make sense working together in a one-shot adventure, but not over a long campaign.

    Thought #5

    The Underground RPG had a really cool system that described the social-economic parameters of an area. Depending on the campaign, the area could be as small as a single neighborhood or as large as a nation. This allowed player a tangible way of changing the status-quo.

    A similar system could be developed for IZ3 and be tied to city trappings, allowing areas to evolve over time in response the characters' actions.

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