Episode 034: Matrix 101

This is Critical Glitch, a Shadowrun Podcast Episode 034

Your host, The Most Dangerous Man in Gaming – Tim Patrick

Co-Host, Mike “Cadre Elite” Messmer

Special Guest, Tony Gambino

We spent the day talking about the Matrix and all of the aspects that make it up since that is one of the areas that still seems to catch the most people. We look at the terminology of the Matrix from Devices, Host, Pans to MARKS and how a Decker procures them. We also look at the Grid Overwatch Division, and how they are cracking down on hackers. We even spent some time looking at Technomancers and how they can play a vital role in a successful run.

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16 thoughts on “Episode 034: Matrix 101

  1. I want to say a hearty thank you, thank you, thank you! I am a newb. I have not had a chance to play Shadowrun PnP until just recently, but i have ALWAYS loved the decker concept… even in SR1e… even though i never had anyone to play the game with me… that was the character i wanted to play. So, despite having read the rules a few times over… i only had a greyish vision of the Matrix… this really helped flesh it out for me.

    Thank you! 8)

  2. Well after I got my foil helmet put on snuggly, and was sure I wasn’t being mind probed by AR RFID chips. it was a very very informative episode. now I want to run/play a matrix only mission to have more experiance slinging code?!

  3. Knocked it out of the ball park on this one, guys. Great content and insight into the ‘trix and how everything relates to/from it. Loved the focus on the hows and whys over the crunch – and I gotta give props to those growing editing chops, Tim – It was condensed/paced very well!

  4. Great episode. Coming over from 2e to 4e to 5e I still struggle as a GM with separating the old Matrix from the new ones. For example how to the 5e Matrix Perception skill works? What a character gets and should be looking for. Or better yet, what kind of information to have planned out ahead of time for Matrix Perception tests? I would love a sample actual play with Matrix actions and how you “professional GMs” handle things.

  5. Are you 100% sure about the host dicepool calculation? Yes, certainly some Matrix actions have the host roll DRx2–particularly actions the host itself initiates–but why would the rule on page 237 re: using DR as a stand-in for attributes not apply?

    For example, Dodger is rolling his Hack on the Fly to get a mark on a host so he can enter. It’s a Rating 6 host with a Firewall attribute of 8. Hack on the Fly is opposed by Intuition + Firewall. A host has a Firewall Rating, but no Intuition, so the substitution rule from p. 237 comes into play, but just for the attribute it lacks, giving us 14 dice. (Otherwise, what’s the point of having an excessively high Firewall on a host? It serves as the Limit for two tests hosts will never make.)

    Conversely, once Dodger makes his way inside, the host’s Patrol IC (which shares the host’s attributes) makes a Matrix Perception check. That’s a Computer + Intuition roll. The host lacks both the skill and the attribute, so its DR is used as a fill in for both, giving us an example of when to roll DRx2 (12 dice).

    • Sadly one can never be 100% certain with out the author chiming in but here is where I made my conclusions from.

      Page 218 – 219 talks about the 5 things that make up the matrix.
      1. Persona
      2. Device
      3. File
      4. Host
      5. MARK

      Page 237 as you referenced says any device that does not have a mental attribute uses it’s device rating.

      Page 247 says its host*2 for ICE attacks

      So I can definitely see your point on using the host rating + the attribute for defense and host *2 for attack. This makes host even scarier and as a gm I like that a lot.

  6. Shortly after 14 minutes you say “to hack him you need to be on the same local grid” which I am very sure is plain wrong. You take all the modifiers you cite but grids have no impact on visibilit or hacking whatsover. Hosts limit the interaction with icons inside/outside without the rules specifying exactly what you are able to do but grids only matter in terms of modifiers.

  7. Another useful point to think about regarding how most everything (especially cyberware) is generally set up with wireless access is practicality for installation, repair, calibration, and diagnostics. In the case of cyberware, it would require more than simply sticking it into a meat body. It would require a full range of diagnostics and calibration steps that would need to be monitored and adjusted by someone (clinic technician) to get everything working correctly. The point made in the podcast about how everyone should just accept it is OK I guess, but there really is a practical reason for most everything being given matrix access beyond marketing (though that was an excellent point as well – if my FitBit does it today, why wouldn’t my toothbrush do it tomorrow?). Anyway, I love the podcast. Keep it up!

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