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Counteracting IDS Penalty

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  • Counteracting IDS Penalty

    How is a hacker meant to overcome the large penalties of high tier IDS? Even with a d12 in hacking, hacking into a tier 5 is extremely difficult as you have to roll a 12 (or ace your wild die a couple times) to succeed.

    I don't see anything in equipment that gives bonuses. There is one piece of cyberware that gives a +2 to Hacking. The Cage Breaker edge lets you ignore 2 penalties but only works over WiFi. The Cutter Edge does the same but only works for accessing the system and not on any rolls once you're in.

    Is this intentional? Do you not want players to ever become "elite hackers," or am I missing something?

  • #2

    So sorry for the late response to this,. I haven't been healthy lately and it's disrupted a great many things.

    One thing you should understand, is that it should be extremely RARE for characters to encounter a system/TAP with Tier 5 IDS. Those are legendary, deep down the rabbit hole systems. The people with that kind of security in their heads have the kind of power and influence that can affect entire nations. The point is... your characters don't commonly encounter this stuff, unless the GM is not a nice guy. Real-world examples of systems that might incorporate Tier 5 IDS are the Stock Exchange,Major Banks, Telecoms, and other, similar corporations. NASA, the NSA, CIA, and any other DOD or Homeland security-related computer systems. Presidents, Prime Ministers and other heads of state have this security in their TAPS, as do their body guards.

    Characters who actually pull off a Hack on those systems even once are generally speaking, lucky. Characters who can routinely punch through Tier 5 IDS are beyond elite. They are ghosts.

    In interface Zero, Elite hackers can routinely take down Tier 4 IDS.

    Now on to the penalties. Yes, they are definitely high. I just used the basic penalty progression that Savage Worlds uses to determine it. The edges and cyber can help, but don't forget the Due Diligence Plugin on page 123:

    Due Diligence
    In real life, hacking doesn’t just happen overnight. It often takes weeks and even months to get to the point where a person is ready to hack a system. A hacker might need to engage in a variety of activities such as phishing, dumpster dives, deepfakes, and other social hacking techniques. This takes time, and most importantly, it often requires a physical penetration of the location to install the malware. Of course, the amount of time involved doesn’t work for most scenarios in a roleplaying game, especially a cyberpunk game where characters have access to advanced technology capable of slicing through powerful encryption like a hot knife through butter. The simplest way to handle information gathering is to use the Networking rules.

    As written the rules don’t necessarily reward a character for their work in a tangible way. By that I mean characters still need to make their skill checks to resolve a hack, and since the rules for hacking don’t change, neither do the modifiers. So, it might seem as if the character did all that investigative work for nothing. Consider using the following rules to reward a character.

    Modifiers to Hacking rolls: Reward characters for their efforts by giving them bonuses to skill rolls during a hack based on the amount of information they obtained during the Networking phase. As per the Savage Worlds rules, each success and raise on the Persuasion or Intimidation roll grants an additional piece of information; the more raises the character gets, the better the reward.
    1. One piece of information: The character gains a one-time +2 bonus to Hacking rolls made to gain access to a computer system.
    2. Two pieces of Information: The character gains a +2 bonus to two skill rolls of their choice during any phase of a hack.
    3. Three Pieces of Information: The character gains a +2 bonus to all skill rolls made during a hack.
    4. Four or more pieces of Information: The character gains a +2 bonus to all skill rolls during a hack and may spend a Benny to automatically succeed on a single skill roll during any phase of the hack.
    Note: The hacker does not have to be the one doing the Networking. A more sociable teammate could handle that task.

    Those can help. Sprites can also support hacking rolls, and if you use programs, there are some that help with hacking rolls, too.


    • TheChemist
      TheChemist commented
      Editing a comment
      As always, thanks for the insight. I hope you get back on your feet soon.