Basic Intrusion Attacks agains an Enemy

I’m planning to run the quick start adventure and I’m having trouble with a few concepts.

I get how attacks work in general. Warfare: You shoot or punch the enemy. Psywar: You intimidate the enemy. But how exactly does the basic Infowar Intrusion attack work against normal enemies (like guards)?

  • Can it also be used to take them out?
  • How would a hacker do that? Assuming she has a hacking tool, can she attack an enemy at Close range?
  • What is being hacked? The enemy’s cube or its comlog?
  • How is the enemy defeated? When inflicting wounds they are dead or incapacitated. Mental damage maybe makes them run away or cower in fear. In any case, they are out of the picture. But what do Breaches do?

It took me a bit to figure this out as well…

The idea is that people are so “connected” in the Human sphere that when you use a Infowar Attack you are shutting down all their gear to the point that they gain Technology Paralysis, they just don’t know how to deal with a world where nothing they normally do works as it should (as a rule of thumb if a character uses mostly Non-hackable Gear they shouldn’t react in this way), guns can’t be fired because the grip doesnt recognise its owner, a guard can’t get thier visor to work and takes it off to check why its not functioning etc.

Its sort of a foreign concept for “us” given how many things we do on a day-to-day basis that still have manual actions to perform, but in the future of INFINITY everything is automated and/or linked to a Commlog.

Speaking of Commlog’s, that basically what your Hacking, Cubes can’t be hacked directly in most cases (their is stuff that lets you do so, never use these on your players) take out a Commlog and essentially your cutting off a “Sense” that’s just as intrinsic to a denizen of the Human Sphere as any of the 5 classic senses.

Having said that, its also good to remember that When a Character (or Nemesis) takes 4 Breaches, they are no longer able to take actions that rely on their personal network, they can still do mundane things like use a Door Handle, the 5th breach burns it out or completely suborn that system. In neither case does it stop them from moving about, it just means they are completely defenceless against further strikes from Infowar and you can do a lot to a person without a Firewall in INFINITY. In general such a person will surrender/flee/become unwilling to act against the attacker rather than you say, uploading ALL their personal data to Maya or emptying their bank accounts or getting them blacklisted on a government website etc.

In terms of Troopers and Elites the idea is that this just happens faster and they aren’t as willing to push the boundaries as much as a Character/Nemesis will.

And finally, you don’t need a Hacking Tool to make Infowar attack, everyone’s Commlog has a basic hacking function, re: Basic Attack Table (pg 100, Collectors). Hacking Tools essentially are housing for Programs, Programs add specific/special breach effects and special actions you can take in addition to the basic commands, aka Guns and Bullets for Hacking

Hope some of this helps.

  • Raith

Thanks for this detailed response, it helps a lot actually. So you use your own comlog to hack another person’s comlog, basically just like in movies you are using your mobile phone to hack someone else’s. OK this makes sense now.

And since most equipment is not “Non-Hackable”, it can be shut down as a result of a Breach. “Technology Paralysis” is a nice flavorful phrase to describe what happens to someone. While temporary, they are out of the picture.

1 Like

Right, and if someone actually has a full on Hacking Device its essentially a “professional” tool. To use a movie analogy its the type of Hacker that then pops open a laptop and hooks it up. Though in this case outside of Ariadna… its probably just a function on a Commlog anyway, if you have a look for Infinity Concept arts there are some that show off what various hacking devices look like. But those things are meant for the battlefield, not the average off-the-cuff Hack.

@Shran keep in mind the GM’s guidelines for Harm effects. Generally the person inflicting the Harm gets to determine the Harm effect. Use this as an opportunity for your players to be creative. If they inflict a Breach, have the player creatively describe what they do to the NPC’s commlog to remove them from the scene.

Just to be clear inflicting breaches via hacking usualy isn’t enough to put down someone. It shut down many of it’s equipements and allow you to take control of his personal network, allowing you to use them as a repeater. An ennemy will be crippled, maybe panicked, but still able to fight in many ways, from knife to weapons put in autistic mode if he has the time to do so.

@Chronic, thats correct in terms of PC’s and Nemeses, but against Elites and Troopers 2 or 1 of any type of injury Harm/Breach/Metanoia takes them out, which I think is what the OP was asking about.

If such where to remain Combative after taking more than the usual injuries a GM should probably be paying the Reinforcement Heat cost to explain thier willingness to continue.

Yes exactly. The original question was regarding “normal” colorless enemies. But it’s good to know that you can’t (digitally) hack a player or Nemesis to death (except maybe for creative uses of Harm effects). So thanks all for the feedback.

Are you sure? I actually play it this way but always thought it was an house rule.

So, this is one of those areas that can been seen in a couple of ways,

According to the more general information on Harms and how they effect Troopers and NPC’s of lesser import…

"Many NPCs require fewer Harms before they have their systems destroyed, are incapacitated, or can
be forced to quit the encounter. Troopers, the least important NPCs, are taken out after the first Harm."

According to the damage table (And the accompanying text), Breach’s, Wound’s, Metanoia’s and Fault’s are all harms.

However, according to the specific information on Troopers in the Adversary chapter for setting up these sorts of enemies…

“Troopers can only suffer one Wound or Metanoia before being eliminated, or one Breach before their network is shut down.”

So, you can interpret that last one as only the network going down, but it still counts as a Harm and thus the Trooper is taken out. They just aren’t physically/mentally hurt by it.

The key thing to remember though is that Troopers are essentially just set dressing, feed them to your players, use Heat to bring in extra reinforcements and let them be taken down by the much more capable O-12 agents the system makes.

Its pretty easy to see where the confusion can be and where the idea that this might be an House Rule or an assumption comes from.

  • Raith
1 Like

From that description I would assume that Troopers are not “eliminated” (i.e. removed from the scene and not necessarily dead) when suffering a Breach and they can still act normally (unless the GM allows it of course). Nonetheless, hacking attacks may still be useful, because with their network shut down it would be hard to justify calling reinforcements using Heat. Otherwise a Trooper is likely to raise the alarm if not surprised.

The latter quote implies that they aren’t eliminated but the main rule on what a Harm does (again, breaches ARE Harms) specifically says a Trooper/Elite is taken out and becomes ineffective in a scene.

Either interpretation can work.

Consider which way you lean to be a good Difficulty Level modifier. If Troopers/Elites aren’t essentially incapacitated by a typical breach you are nerfing the effectivness of a Hacker character in a combat scene who doesnt have the right Device/Program prepared . And your also beefing up the Longevity of Troopers/Elites.

Its a good way to decrease the power-gap between PCs and thier opponents.

Now, personally I prefer the “Breaches takes out Troopers after 1 Harm” approach so that my Hacker characters can participate in combat with the same level of effectivness as a Talky Character or a Gunman.

I try to avoid just having my Hackers sit around twiddling thier thumbs while combat is happening as much as I can (similar I try to avoid Solo Hacking Scenes, I’d rather develop a Network for the Hacker to Run alongside of a Fight scene, but often you dont have that luxury with a spur-of-the-moment battle)

Well if it’s a valid way to see it. In the case of a breach not killing a minion, i’m gonna play the devil’s advocate. You could say that:
-a PC specialised in hacking shouldn’t be as effective in combat as a soldier or warrior. In my adventure there is an alternance between social hacking and combat, combat character aren’t very effective in hacking or social if they are specialised, should hackers be otherwise? In my case I try to alternate frequently between style and encourage my players to diversify their skills a bit.
-An hacker should prioritize targets providing a tactical advantage to his team, disabling com, weapon specialist, detonate enemy grenades.
-hacker could operate in cyberspace while players are in combat, cutting enemy call for reinforcement, clearing their way. Or combat characters could simply provide a diversion for the hacker.

I’m sure other people also have other way to play.

1 Like

Thats true, and I misspoke a bit earlier, to be clear, a Hacker in a Gunfight will generally be less immediately effective to the enemy than say a Gunman (The different Talents they possess make a dramatic difference in power scope). I meant more that this way a hacker can feel like they are having a visible effect in any confrontation.

As for operating in Cyberspace and essentially acting as crowd control. Yes, that is definitely a thing, but if I could use an example to illustrate why I allow a Hacker to “take out” a Trooper it is as follows…

  1. A guy with a Gun lines up on a trooper with another gun, pulls the trigger. Bang, dead Trooper.

  2. A Hacker without a Gun lines up on a trooper with another gun, hacks the troopers gun and stops it from working. Trooper then switches to a second weapon, or reboots, or draws a knife. Its then still up to the Hacker to figure out a way to stop that same trooper with a new way of attacking, or after the Hacker turned off the Troopers gun its up to another Gunman to then take them out.

Which is just as effective as that Gunman just acting twice with the Hacker just sitting back and doing nothing.

Essentially in this scenario the Hacker can DO a thing, its just relatively ineffectual for countering the badguy.

Now, against a Nemesis and even an Elite, sure. Thats why Elites need multiple Harms to take out, that give you room for multiple characters to participate in dealing with a threat that requires teamwork. In fact in the above example the Hacker is probably better off just assisting the Gunman, that way they may gain enough Momentum to make a Second attack in that first turn.

Troopers though shouldn’t have that level of difficulty to overcome, they should be easy fodder for anyone to deal with, which the rule that 1 Harm of any type is designed to replicate.

But as you said, a good GM with a Hacker in their Team should also be tailoring challenges in such a way that a Hacker will have other stuff to occupy themselves (a fight in cyberspace or a digital lock to hack so the scene can move) I just point this out for all those spur of the moment situations where the stakes aren’t that high (or the GM is unprepared) and things are exactly as they appear, a bunch of thugs running into a scene in order to get shot. In these sort of encounters its good that a Hacker can have an immediate, visible impact on a fight.

But, I’m getting sidetracked…

After having reread all this stuff on Harms and Breaches and how they apply is that in the Trooper rules, I realised I made a mistake earlier. These rules do not conflict with one and another, they are both 100% true.

In regards to “Troopers, the least important NPCs, are taken out after the first Harm” that is true, the combat section of the core book goes into how you incapacitate a enemy in a variety of ways (aka everything on the damage table). Its a bit illogical but as I mentioned earlier this can be seen a technological paralysis, malfunctioning gear making the target ineffective in the scene, or to use a couple of your examples you made, detonate their grenades or just providing a tactical insight to the scene that outwise makes the presence of the Trooper meaningless (maybe they come around a corner and another PC just takes them down instantly without a need for rolls etc).

But the information in the Adversary Chapters section on troopers is also correct, it’s just refering to something different than incapacitating an enemy. What it actually pertains to is that in addition to a Troope being taken out with a Harm they are also much easier to effect in other ways.

1 Attack will inflict a Wound Effect, 1 Psywar will inflict a Metanoia Effect and 1 Hack can Completely Shutdown a System.

This is for the purpose of all the specific Breach/Wound/Metanoia effects that you can apply to gain an advantage in a situation. Such as the “Tag” effect requiring a persons Commlog to have its firewall shutdown to apply. Its also present because a Trooper or Elite classification can be applied to Geists, Drone and just outright pieces of Machinery such as a Repeater Node attached to Maya.

Without the clarification from the Adversary Chapter it would still take the regular number of Breaches to do this. There are other similar Status effects that need this rule to work, a Trooper with 1 Metanoia will be much more easily convinced to introduce a character to their best friend the Hotel Cook, than a Elite is or a Nemesis would to their friend the Influential Senator.

So that’s how things sit with me on these rules, maybe its off base, but I feel like I have a much better grasp on why those 2 pieces of information seemed contrary now.

I think some of the ambiguity on Breaches eliminating targets comes from the variety of settings and NPCs in the game.

For example, I don’t think most GMs would let a Breach eliminate a Dog Face that was busy clawing your face off. Even if the Dog Face was a trooper, that might be a hard sell. The hacker would have to be pretty creative in terms of how the breach on the Dog Face is going to remove him from the scene.

On the flip side, if your players are in a full-blown Infowar scene, and are hacking a quantronic system fighting against Light AI’s and Security Geists, it makes perfect sense that inflicting a Breach is going to remove the NPC from the scene.

I think Raith has some great advice, and I agree with his general philosophy. Especially for troopers, a single Harm, no matter which type, should remove the trooper from the scene. This should also hold true for Elites most of the time but I think it depends on what kind of a scene you’re running, and how hackable the NPC is.

ALSO I think you could get creative with HEAT here.

Say your hacker inflicts two Breaches on an Elite trooper with a combi-rifle. The hacker has total control of his network, he’s lost all his comms, his Combi-rifle is non-functioning, etc. Normally you’d just remove him from the scene. But, if you want the hacker to get into some action… Pay 1 point of Heat, and have the trooper draw a sword, and yell, “You think I’m going down that easy!” and charge at the hacker in close combat.

My own explanation to deal with hacking incapacitating an ennemy is that the hacker disable every useful device while overloading their AR patina and playing strident noise via their comlog.
And when it cannot apply because it doesn’t make sense, i rely on “well you do something equaly geeky” because i’m lazy !

1 Like

Something like a Dogface chewing your face off I would generally say is just defined as a Non-hackable thing thus it can’t be effected in such a manner… which is what is happening in my current game by coincidence.

1 Like

You could also argue that since pretty much every object is hackable, inflicting a breach might be environmental damage.
Of course if your in a forest it sure doesn’t help.

At a pinch, if you want to be able to defeat Trooper enemies with a single Breach, do that thing from movies and TV shows where you hack their comms and fill their earpieces with really loud feedback: trooper drops to the ground clutching their ears, and is no longer in the fight.

Beyond that, when it comes to breaches and whether they take out an opponent/shut down a network, I tend to refer to the attacker’s intent - if they don’t intend to do harm, then those breaches are used to enter and subvert the target system instead of shutting it down.

1 Like

Yep the same if a player want a specific breach effect he must notify when doing the action. I’m not picky about hacking, if the player respect the baseline rules and have a neat idea i usually roll with it as long as the difficulty/time is balanced with the effect.

1 Like