Overview and History[edit | edit source]
The Matrix is an interlocking system of computers, called hosts, linked together by grids - the world telecommunications network. Most computer systems throughout the world are accessible via the Matrix, assuming you have authorized passcodes or can hack your way in. A Matrix user can theoretically connect to a host on the other side of the planet within seconds. The human mind cannot directly comprehend the flow of data in the Matrix. If users were restricted to old-tech tools, the system would be unmanageable. Artificial Sensory Induction System Technology (ASIST) however, opened up the possibilities of Direct Neural Interface access to computers and the Matrix was born. Everything in the Matrix is graphically represented and if a user is authorized to view a file, they take a microsecond-long trip through a computer generated landscape to find it right where they expect to.
...Of course, Shadowrunners who have their own reasons for being inside a system can take advantage of the same technological advances.
To connect to the Matrix, people use cybernetic interface devices known as cyberdecks and cyberterminals. All such devices have a fiber-optic cable with a standard data plug like those found on home telecom systems. The deck or terminal connects to its user either via an electrode net that slips over the head or with a direct cybernetic interface via a datajack. Once activated, the deck or terminal overrides most of the user's own sensory information and replaces it with an electronic simulation of the Matrix. After a second of disorientation, the decker appears in the Matrix at the point where the cyberdeck tapped in.
The Matrix in Shadowrun Gameplay[edit | edit source]
The Matrix is a second dimension that game play can take place in with a focus on some of the more tech savvy shadowrunners. Deckers can jack-in to the matrix from a terminal and take advantage of any weakness in the system they find there, providing unique and sometimes necessary advantages to the player.
Network Nodes[edit | edit source]
Network Nodes are the interconnected rooms that make up the matrix. These rooms are connected to one another by Portals that allow the decker to access deeper parts of the system. However, these Portals tend to be inaccessible at first, as a system sensing intrusion will likely send ICs to deal with the intruder. Once the ICs has been dealt with, the Matrix Nodes found in the room may be hacked and the Decker may progress further into the system.
Portals[edit | edit source]
Portals are what allow a Decker to traverse Network Nodes. If these didn't exist, your Decker wouldn't have a whole lot to do once he gained access to a system.
Matrix Objects[edit | edit source]
Matrix Objects are Props used for processing interactions from within to the Matrix to the meat world. These objects when hacked tend to have beneficial effects to the Decker's team, such as opening doors, accessing security cameras, and taking over turrets. Some may even hold lucrative paydata or other valuable information.
Alarm Level[edit | edit source]
Alarm Level is referred to as Heat in the Level Editor and Trace in the game GUI. This level is used for the when trigger "On Dimension Heat Threshold." This can be used to sic Black ICs on a pesky Decker that has made his way too deep into the system or have meatworld response to a detected Decker intrusion. The value starts at whatever it is initially set to in Scene Properties.
In Dead Man's Switch and Dragonfall, system Trace levels increase automatically every round, as long as the decker remains in the Matrix. In Hong Kong, system Trace levels increase only when ICs detect the decker's persona.
IC[edit | edit source]
Intrusion Countermeasures (ICs) are your standard enemies found within the Matrix. IC comes in several flavors and serve different functions. Note: Watcher ICs are only found in Hong Kong. Also in Hong Kong, all movement is in real-time unless the persona is engaged in combat or spotted by a Watcher IC.
- Watcher ICs move around nodes on a guided path. They have a cone of vision that lights up the floor tiles in front of them. When a player persona enters this cone, the Watcher will move to that persona and quickly increase the system Trace level (+20 per round) until defeated. Once the system Trace level has reached the maximum, Watcher ICs will disappear and be replaced by other (usually Black) ICs.
- Blocker ICs are stationary ICs usually placed around a Matrix object to prevent access to that object until it is destroyed in combat or removed via a code matching minigame (hacking; covered in greater detail below). Failure to crack the minigame will increase the system Trace level (+20 per failure). Blocker ICs can be forced open with a significant increase in Trace level (+50). In Hong Kong, the Blocker IC Rating determines the difficulty of the minigame. Also, the Blocker IC can only be destroyed in combat if the system Trace level has reached the maximum.
- White ICs shows up pretty regularly when a Decker has made their way into a system. These will come in different styles that cover the removal of the Decker from the system to buffing/debuffing other entities in the system. White ICs do damage to the decker's persona. In Hong Kong, White ICs increase the system Trace level slightly (+5 per IC per round).
- Black ICs, on the other hand, tend to appear when a Decker has overstayed their welcome (or the system holds data deemed so valuable that the administrators do not want to take any chances). Black ICs are super charged compared to their White IC counterparts, and have the looks to match. They do direct damage to the persona's host body, making them priority targets to be taken out. In Hong Kong, the System Response Level will determine the number of Black ICs spawned when the system Trace level has reached the maximum.
Hacking Minigame[edit | edit source]
- The minigame is divided into two parts:
- The first part is matching number codes, up to 7 times. The first two number codes consists of 4 digits each, the next two codes are made up of 5 digits each, the third set of two codes have 6 digits each, while the last code has 7 digits. Matching a number code will grant you more time for the second part of the minigame. Whenever you are comfortable with the amount of time accumulated, you may proceed to the second part.
- The second part is matching symbols. The Blocker IC Rating determines how many symbols there are in the final code; a rating of 9 means that the final code has 9 symbols. The final code itself is obscured. From time to time, snippets of the code is revealed. To crack the code, select the correct code from the list of options given before time runs out. Note that if a wrong selection is made, a new code is generated, and the list of options will be regenerated as well.
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