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Hacking question

I ran into this the other day and wasn’t sure how to handle it.

Let’s say a player is undercover and he wants to use the commlog of a couple guards to snoop and use as a repeater for the area.

The normal Infowar rules say that to do this the player must inflict a breech on the commlog in question. This introduces a couple of problems if the guard in question is just a Trooper.

  1. The Guard probably only has a few points of Firewall. Inflicting a breech will do so much damage that that guard’s commlog will go down.
  2. We’re trying to be stealthy here. The guard will likely notice that his commlog has been fried.
  3. A commlog that is down isn’t going to be very useful as a Repeater, which is why we inflicted the Breech in the first place.

Solutions I can see for this:

  1. If it’s not a full Infowar scene, allow a player to do what he wants to do (Tag a commlog, Snoop on commlog traffic, etc) without actually inflicting a breech. Just make it a D2 hacking check instead.
  2. The player in question should spend momentum to add “Nonlethal” to the breech so that it doesn’t bring down the network they are trying to hack.
  3. Since the guard in question is a Trooper and can only suffer one breech for being effectively removed from the scene, then inflicting a breech should be enough for the player to essentially conquer the guard’s commlog and do whatever he wants with it. For example, the player can make the commlog appear to the guard as if it’s functioning perfectly well, even though the player has full control of it. At this point the player could do anything on the commlog that would normally require a breech, but he doesn’t actually have to inflict breeches anymore. Essentially admin access. Depending on what the player is doing this could be considered a “Noisy” action and the player might have to make a Stealth roll for his hack to go unnoticed. This could also be applied to Elite NPCs if two breeches are inflicted on their networks.

I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

In this case just allow a single breach to allow the player to take over the comlog. If I remember correctly, suffering a full set of breaches means either the unit has crashed or it has been completely compromised by the attacker. It’s the latter that is the intent of the player so roll with that. Given the low impact nature of the scene, there’s no reason to introduce any further complexity.

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Inflicting Breech effects on a piece of equipment does not necessary mean that it shuts down - the hacker can choose from the different Breech effects and one of those is the Tag effect (acting as a repeater). So one Breech effect would suffice for what this character intended to do.

Regarding doing it unnoticedly take a look at the Stealth rules and the section on Quantronic Stealth in the core rules. - I assume the character starts the attack from a Stealth State of “hidden”. An attack is a “noisy” action, so you would need to spend 4 Momentum to make it a “silent” action (2 Momentum make a noisy action sneaky, 2 further Momentum make a sneaky action silent which allows you to keep your Stealth State). and keep your Stealth State still at “hidden” and perform it unnoticedly.

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I have little to add yet, but reading with interest. I’m new on here, so this is my first post.

I’m running an Infinity convention game at North Star on 11/12th May (Sheffield UK), and am a bit of a loss as to how a typical InfoWar attack would work across a multizone Quadronic network. I sthere a full example write up of such an attack that can help me decipher the rules, which I’m really struggling with?

First InfoWar attacks are up to Close range, this is one reason, why repeaters are so important. So to bring an attack range over Close, the simple way would be using a drone linked to your HD (Hacking Device) with repeater upgrade. If it small enough, it may reach Close range to attacks
And for an example, I would suggest Core Rulebook, page 119. Within the light blue sidebox named “Example Hack” is exactly this: an example hack!

@First_Age it can be a bit confusing, because really in my mind there are TWO types of Infowar attacks.

The first type of attack is when your character is physically there. So examples of this attack would be that you want to hack a trooper in Powered Armor to disable him, or there is a door right in front of you that you want to hack open. You are physically located in Close Range (or you have a friendly drone / repeater that can get in close range for you). You make your Infowar attack just like you would with a weapon, do damage, cause a Breech, and hopefully the enemy armor is disabled or the door is now open.

The second kind is I believe what you’re talking about. This is when you are not physically there. you’re moving through a quantronic network, hacking through various virtual quantronic zones that have no real parallel in reality.

Spoilers for the Quantronic Heat adventure below…


If you have access to it, I would suggest reading through the Quantronic Heat adventure. Part 1 has a pretty good example of a quantronic network laid out. None of the zones on this diagram have a real-world equivalent. EDIT - well I take that back. The “Dr. Hart’s Apartment” node obviously is the zone in Dr. Hart’s apartment. Then in this example, there are two of BlackThorn’s repeaters, which are physical objects. One has been physically placed inside Dr. Hart’s apartment, and the other is in the Thaler corporate security office. Finally there is BlackThorn’s personal datasphere, which is her actual network.

Blackthorn%20Example

There are three things to remember.

  1. All quantronic attacks take place at Close range. So you need to move through the network to find your target and be in the same zone as it is to attack it.

  2. You can “see” a number of zones away equal to your Analysis expertise. So you can see the zone, and you can see anyone who is in that zone (such as the target that you want to hack).

  3. Any zone that has a Firewall (a secured zone) blocks your line of sight. You’ll need to gain access to these zones before you can enter them. So in this way the target of your hack can “hide” behind secure zones that THEY have access to but the player might not.

It’s not a play-by-play example but I think reading through the full description of the Quantronic Heat network might help you out.

A thing that always confuses me is the use of IC in such a case of a multi-zone quantronic network.
Can you attack a firewall securing a zone without having to overcome a running IC program?
If so, when does an IC program actually come into play?

@FrankF It helps me to think of IC as Difficult Terrain for quatronic zones. Just how in Warfare, Difficult Terrain prevents you from entering a zone, or has some kind of effect while you’re moving through it, IC does the same thing for quantronic zones.

If you have a secure, Firewall zone in front of you, you can attack that zone to brute-force your way in (per Authentication Hack on pg 117). If you cause a breech, gain authentication, but you haven’t entered the zone, so the IC doesn’t come into play. Next turn though, when you enter the zone without making a hacking test to bypass the IC… you’ll set it off.

Thank you @FrankF and @Murrdox for your insights. I’m sure I’ll bluster through even if I don’t get a lot of it right. I’m running the AWOL adventure and don’t want the InfoWar elements to make the convention slot sag.

There’s a lot going on with Infinity, perhaps just a touch too much for me due to me bringing it off the shelf for one shots. With regular play I’d probably get on top of it.

Would you not see the IC being in effect before entering? Or is IC always considered “invisible” until you enter a zone that is protected by IC?

That is especially important for those IC programs that present false content of a zone or even a maze to lose yourself in. How would a hacker entering such a zone become aware of this kind of effect caused by the IC?

Per the Core book:

Blockquote
IC programs are often concealed, requiring a
successful scan (using an Analysis test) to detect
their presence.

Typical rule of thumb that I use is that all IC is concealed by default, and that the Analysis test to detect them is equal to the difficulty for bypassing the IC. For example, a zone protected by IC-2 RedTape would be a DC 2 Analysis to detect, and a DC 2 Hacking test to bypass. That’s just how I run things though. If you want to be really mean and put up a IC-4 Black ICE, it might be a little cruel to your players to also make it DC 4 to detect it in the first place. Maybe bump it down to a 2. After all, it’s probably more fun for everyone at the game table if they have a good chance of detecting it and defusing it than if it’s more likely they have no chance to find it, and they have no choice but to stumble through it and take a lot of damage in the process.

For all the IC programs, the fact that you can’t detect them is often the entire POINT of having it there.
Two exceptions I can think of would be that the person WANTS to mark the zone as particularly dangerous to ward off potential hackers. For example, placing Black-ICE guarding a zone but not hiding the fact that it’s there might scare people from even attempting to enter it. The other exception would be if the hacker in question is setting up security in a hurry and didn’t have time to hide the IC. For example, if a hacker is sending his Remote out to scout ahead, he might put Crybaby on it very quickly to alert him if an enemy tries to hack it, but he might not have time to conceal the IC.

So basically, before you move into a quantronic zone… make sure you use Analysis to scan it for IC!