Advanced Slicing

These are the house rules for Computer Slicing:

Basics

When a character attempts to slice a network this is called “Slicing”. From the moment the character connects to a network until the moment they log out this is called a “Session”. During a session a slicer attempts to disable or bypass security programs, access the network’s directory of functions, and then take control of functions connected to the network.

Every Slicer must have a datapad (or a droid security interface if the slicer is a droid). Datapads have four different traits that can be assigned by a slicer by “loading” their datapad. When the datapad is off these four traits are undifferentiated, and the slicer can change them at any time.

Setting up a datapad for a session is called “Loading”. This involves the Slicer selecting what types of programs and functions they plan to use for their session. Loading is a full round action, and requires the slicer’s full attention. After loading the slicer can choose how to distribute his datapad’s traits among the following categories:

Attack: The Slicer’s ability to damage programs, disrupt functions, and hurt other slicers
Defense: The Slicer’s ability to block attacks and absorb damage
Stealth: The Slicer’s ability to avoid notice and bypass countermeasures
Processing: The Slicer’s ability to transfer data and perform operations

A typical datapad might have an attribute spread that looks like this: 2/1/-1/-2. This means after a loading action a slicer’s datapad might have abilities that look like: Attack +2, Defense +1, Stealth -1, Processing -2, if the slicer is expecting heavy combat against another slicer but no real data manipulation. On the other hand, a slicer who is planning to slip into a network unnoticed to steal some data might load a datapad like this: Attack -2, Defense -1, Stealth +2, Processing +1.

The bonuses and penalties generated by the datapad are added as an equipment bonus or penalty to a character’s Computer Use skill. Which attribute is used is determined by the type of action the Slicer is trying to take.

Data Combat

Combat in the Holonet works similarly to combat in the real world. Slicer’s and Intrusion Countermeasures (ICE for short) attack and defend against each other in an effort to wipe each other out. When the slicer is victorious security programs are disrupted and the slicer can reach deeper into a network to steal its wealth. When the countermeasures are victorious the slicer can be kicked out the network, have his location tracked, his hardware damaged, or even his life put at risk.

Each round a slicer can make one attack attempt. ICE can only operate reactively, so the Slicer always gets to take his action first, and if the ICE survives then it will take actions in response. First the character decides if he wants to disrupt the ICE or attempt to bypass it. To disrupt ICE the character makes an attack roll against the ICE’s defense, and if he succeeds the character inflicts d6 damage, plus extra damage equal to the slicer’s Intelligence bonus. If the ICE survives it will counter-attack, rolling against the slicer’s Will Defense + his Datapad’s current Defense ability. If the ICE successfully hits the slicer with it’s current attack it will perform whatever subroutines it has been programmed with.

ICE Subroutines can include ending the slicer’s session, tracing the slicer’s physical location, damaging the slicer’s datapad, or in some rare cases even causing feedback that can damage the slicer.

Network maps

Every network is represented by a series of cards laid out by the GM. Each network can be thought of as a table: Each column of the table is called a Node, while each row is called a layer. When a Slicer begins a session he will get to see a layout of the network, represented by face down cards laid out on the table. After seeing the map of the network the Slicer chooses which Node he wants to slice.

After choosing which node to slice, the character flips over the card on the first layer of the node, and chooses how to approach it. If the slicer disrupts, or bypasses, the revealed card then he can move on to the next one and do the same. This continues until the slicer’s session ends, or he reaches the finally layer of the node.

The final layer of the node contains a “Node Card” that represents what the node’s purpose is. A node may be a data archive, a security control system, or even something more mundane: like the controls for all the trash compactors on the detention level.

Node cards have a security rating, which represents how well the control software of the node is and how difficult it is for the character to slice his own code into the program. Typically the character makes attacks against this final layer of the node by rolling Computer Use + Processing against the node’s security rating. If successful the slicer can take complete control over any systems connected to the node, or steal data and money stored on the node.

When the ICE on a layer is disrupted the card representing that ICE is turned sideways so that the slicer and the GM know that it can be bypassed. If a disrupted piece of ICE is attacked again while it is down then it is destroyed, and the card is removed from the map. If a disrupted piece of ICE is left behind then an enemy Slicer can resurrect it later or it will be reactivated if the Slicer ends his session. However, stopping to destroy every piece of ICE can severely slow a slicer down, forcing them to decide how aggressively they want to approach each node.

Actions

These are the actions that a Slicer can take each round:

Attack: Roll Computer Use + Attack against the ICE’s Defense rating. If successful, inflict d6 + Int damage on the ICE. If the Slicer fails then the current piece of ICE will run its subroutines. If ICE is reduced to 0 hp then it is disrupted. A Slicer can also choose to attack a disrupted piece of ICE, which will destroy the ICE completely if successful. Disrupted ICE cannot react to a Slicer’s attack even if it is not destroyed.

Tunnel: Roll Computer Use + Stealth against the ICE’s Awareness rating. If successful the character can bypass the ICE he is currently facing and move onto the next. If the Slicer fails then the current piece of ICE will run its subroutines.

Scan: Roll Computer Use + Processing against the ICE’s Awareness rating. If successful every piece of ICE on the node is revealed, and the current piece of ICE will not react.

Mine: Roll Computer Use + Processing against the ICE’s Awareness rating. If successful the identity of the node card is revealed, and the current piece of ICE will not react.

Spoof: Once all of the ICE on a node has been disrupted, bypassed, or destroyed the slicer can attempt to trick the node into accepting his authority as a legitimate user. The Slicer rolls Computer Use + Processing against the security DC of the node. If successful the Slicer can take control of any systems controlled by that node until he uses an action to do something other than control the node.

Transfer: Once all of the ICE on a Data Archive node has been disrupted, destroyed, or bypassed the Slicer can begin stealing data from the node. The Slicer rolls Computer Use + Processing against the security DC of the node. If successful the character will begin stealing data, and continue to steal data for as long as he continues to perform this action each round. The exact speed at which data is transferred is up to the GM, but the character should get pieces of useful information equal to his Processing ability (minimum 1) each round until there is nothing useful left on the node.

Arm/Disarm Data Bomb: Once all of the ICE on a node has been disrupted, destroyed, or bypassed the Slicer can plant a Data Bomb in the node. Roll Computer Use + Attack against the security DC of the node. If successful the Slicer implants a data bomb into the node that will crash the node and destroy any data on it the next time a character attempts to read a particular file or access a particular system chosen by the Slicer. This action can also be used to disarm existing data bombs that the Slicer discovers hidden in networks.

Create Subroutine: Once a Slicer reaches the final layer of a node he can create a subroutine to continue to control the node on his behalf. This requires a roll of Computer Use + Processing against the Security DC of the node. If successful the Slicer can perform Spoof and Transfer actions against the node as a swift action, as long as his datapad remains connected to the target network. However, this places a constant drain on the datapad’s processor: for each subroutine that the datapad is running all of the datapad’s attributes are reduced by 2.

Intercept: A Slicer can make a Computer Use + Datapad Processing roll against an opposing Slicer’s Will Defense + Datapad Stealth to determine the last action that the Slicer took within the Network. By using this action a Slicer can usually deduce what an opponent’s objectives are and attempt to disrupt them.

Fortify: A Slicer can give up his action each round to reinforce ICE on a friendly network. Each round that a Slicer takes this action he adds his Intelligence Bonus to the ICE’s Defense and Awareness. In addition the Slicer adds his Datapad’s Defense to the ICE’s Defense, his Datapad’s Processing to the ICE’s Awareness, and his Datapad’s Attack is added to the ICE’s Subroutine Attacks.

ICE Subroutines

Each time a slicer fails an action while facing a piece of ICE that program will react by targeting the character with whatever subroutines it has.

ICE falls into three categories: Code Walls, Gates, and Sentries. Code Walls are extremely dense patches of encrypted data that block access to nodes. Gates are designed to challenge users to produce legitimate identification or block their access. Sentries are vicious semi-sentient programs that seek to hunt down slicers and bad code, and either destroy them or quarantine them from the rest of the network.

Walls will typically do nothing but slow a slicer down, or sometimes force him to end his session. Code Gates are easier to get through than Walls, but if a Slicer fails they will quickly end his session, and sometimes even try to track his real-world location. Sentries will actively fight a Slicer, try to track him, and in some cases they will also try to damage his data pad or cause dangerous electrical feedback that might even physically harm the slicer.

End Session: The most common subroutine, usually used by Walls and Gates. The ICE will make an attack against the Slicer’s Will Defense + Datapad Defense, and if successful the Slicer will be forced out of the network. The Slicer is free to make another attempt, but any ICE that was damaged or disrupted during his last session will recover all of their HP and reactivate, which can be both frustrating and time wasting.

Trace: A common subroutine used by most Gates and Sentries. The ICE will make an attack roll against the Slicer’s Will Defense + Datapad Stealth, and if successful will score a “Mark” against the Slicer. A Mark provides the network, and anyone allied with the network, a piece of information about the Slicer’s real location. Once a Slicer has a number of Marks on him equal to 5 + Stealth (minimum 1) then the network and anyone using the network will receive exact coordinates of the Slicer’s location.

Burn: A subroutine only used by nasty Sentry programs. The ICE will make an attack against the Slicer’s Will Defense + Datapad Defense, and if successful it will inflict d6 points of damage on the Slicer’s datapad by causing its control programs to break down and its circuits to overheat. When the datapad reaches 0 hp it will be “bricked” and it becomes a useless piece of duraplas.

Shock: An uncommon subroutine that is illegal in many systems, and only used by the nastiest Sentry programs. The ICE will make an attack against the Slicer’s Will Defense + Datapad Defense, and if successful it will inflict d4 points of damage on the Slicer’s datapad, and a violent explosion of electrical energy that will inflict d10 electrical damage on the Slicer. If this attack does maximum damage it will also overload the dataport that the Slicer is connected to, forcing them to end their session and find a new dataport to access.

Datapads

Datapad Ability Spread HP Int Init Cost
CorCom PDX-0 0/0/-1/-2 5 4 +0 100 Cr
MicroData CX-1 0/0/-2/-2 6 4 +1 120 Cr
MicroData C-100 2/1/-1/-2 8 6 +0 1000 Cr
Versafunction 12 2/2/-2/-2 8 6 +0 1000 Cr
Kuat Systems D-12 2/1/-1/-2 8 6 +1 1200 Cr
Czerka PD-1200 4/0/0/-2 10 8 +0 2000 Cr
CorCom CDX-11 2/1/1/0 8 10 +1 2500 Cr
Kuat Systems DX-29a 2/2/0/0 8 10 +2 2500 Cr
Czerka PD99X 6/0/0/-2 10 12 +1 5000 Cr
Versafunction 20 3/3/-1/-1 8 12 +1 5000 Cr
Czerka PDX-DX 6/2/0/0 12 14 +2 10,000 Cr
Kuat Systems DP1000 4/3/1/0 10 14 +4 10,000 Cr

MicroData is one of the largest producers of computers in the core region. Known for “cheap and cheerful” designs and well balanced functionality.

CorCom, or Correllian Communications, make a wide variety of very flexible systems that are useful for many different functions.

Kuat Systems datapads are known for flexibility and responsiveness, in the hands of an operator with keen reflexes they are one of the fastest operating machines on the market.

Czerka Droid Brains is a division of Czerka, and is known for their extremely “single-minded” machines. Their datapads excel at performing a single task, and tend to be very tough, but are not very flexible.

Versafunction datapads are good at juggling two separate tasks evenly, but are not as well rounded as other systems.

Advanced Slicing

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