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Repeaters and range question

Having a repeater allows an authorized hacker connected to the repeater to make quantronic attacks as if they were in the same zone as the repeater.
Repeaters can be physical objects to be deployed in a physical location, or they can be programs deployed in a quantronic network space.
The “Tag” breach effect allows the hacker to track the tagged target and use the tagged target as a repeater.

My question is now, at what range is such a repeater - a physical or quantronic one - reachable for the hacker character?

We had some situations, where a hacker had tagged (as by the breach effect) an NPC. Some time later he wanted to use this NPC as a repeater to perform hacking attacks in the local zone where the NPC currently was. But this NPC was at that time far away in the same solar system, but nowhere near the current location of the hacker - and the quantronic network connection to this place would be unreliable or even non-existent for lengthy bits of time.

Should a hacker be able to use a repeater - especially one by a Tag breech effect - at any range, planetary, interplanetary, or even intersystem range?

I am a bit confused how to decide such an attempt of using a repeater that is far, far away - physically and quantronically - by a hacker character. I’m incined not to allow any access beyond extreme range in quantronic zones, as - so my reasoning - the hacker wouldn’t even be aware of the repeater anymore, if it left this range (of more than 3 zones from the hacker).

What do you think? How would you handle such an attempt to access a repeater that is astronomical distances away?

Technically it is possible to use a previous target as a repeater, and there is actual rules regarding hacking and range. Basically the distance increase the number of quantronic zone a hacker as to travel in order to get to his objective. As a rule of thumb the closer the better, same building is good, same city is ok, same planet is hard, same system but other planet is very hard, inter system is only possible for panO and yujing military officially and require special access. Aleph faction probably has the same capability but not in an official manner.
I think that in order to use a target as a repeater over long distance, i would add several complication. First : time. The longer time past, the higher the chance for the intrusion to be detected, patches etc. Second : the type of quantronic zone the hacker wish to access relative to the NPC and the infected gear. I would not be very keen to allow the repeater to be used to hack thing in it’s own vicinity, only quantronic zone the npc has actual user access(or higher access).

I would also use the actual infowar rules, not the simple hacking one.

A thing to keep in mind is, if you have access to a Repeater that generally is the point that you start counting range from, no matter how far off the repeater itself is. Generally the idea is that reaching that repeater is a no-brainer for your average Hacker, the difficulty comes in getting a repeater in place in the first instance.

In regards to the use of an “old” repeater a good rule of thumb is to remember that a Breach can be restored after a little bit of downtime, say after a scene is over. Even bad guys have this option, though in some cases it pays to consider how and why a Harm was applied and if a person would notice they needed to purge the effect.

Imagine a Trooper Guard whose system has been Tagged, they might not notice this for some time. But eventually they shut down their commlog for maintenance or a system firmware update and at that point consider that the Breach is gone.

Other things to keep in mind is that the net in the Human Sphere is nearly free of light-lag for communications, even intra-system comms are very quick, the aleph book talks a bit about this (as well as providing some examples of data-networks) and that physical location is different from quantronic distances and again a repeater (even one from a breach) is generally considered more or less equivalent to an access point and thus again is easy access.

Finally, if a player is considering tagging people to use at future dates, its often better to instruct them to use a Breach/Tag to then hack a system and install a backdoor with full authentication levels which should decay much slower than a Tag access would.

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In case of a long distance hacking I would say that your hack doesn’t start at your repeater, since you have no direct access to it. I would follow the rules about hacking distance and impose 3 zone to cross before accessing the repeater in case of intra system hack.

Hacks start at an Access Point, a repeater under your control can function as an access point. You then move through a data network in the same way that you normally do for zones with the usual implications for range modifiers.

If you talking about factoring in range, then generally that happens prior to the Hack itself when you are trying to locate an Access Point that you otherwise don’t have authentication for in which case a GM picks an arbitrary number between 3 and 8 based on how hard they want locating the access point to be, then the range modifier is added as per the Remote Access Point table (Corebook p.116).

Base + Remote Modifier becomes the momentum value needing to be conquered by a Analysis or Hack check. This sets the Difficulty of the very first Hack to get into a system in a quick and dirty way of doing so without a GM needing to prepare a full network diagram going from you to your target.

You can apply that method to remotely accessing a long distance repeater or tagged Commlog assuming the target of the tag hasn’t made an Absterge.

After that check is made your “Avatar” for lack of a better term is located at the access point and moves on from there as if they where in that location, becoming the new 0 point from measuring range for launching Infowar attacks/actions.

@Raith That is probably the solution I will apply. - I expect the distance from hacker to repeater having an influence, even if the quantronic network density is very high. It should matter if the repeater is on board of a spaceship far out of orbit compared to a repeater simply in another big city on the same planet.

So making finding/accessing the repeater a separate action, necessary to succeed to start the actual hacking attempt, sounds very plausible to me.

This thread is slightly older, but it is the first relevant thread to pop up on “Infinity RPG repeaters” search, so should still be relevant.

Repeaters and Access Points are being conflated here, but they are not (always) the same thing. A Repeater lets you hack as if you were in the Repeater’s zone, an Access Point is your starting point for a deep hack. You are always aware of your Repeaters and their location. You may have to do a scan to find an access point within your Repeater’s range, however, but you’d be at a Close range towards it. There is never a roll to find one of your own repeaters, you’re always aware of it.

So let’s say you’re trying to get into a database to steal some data. You figured out the database is connected to the office terminals through a secured line. You ask your Infiltrator to drop the Repeater in that office room, making you able to hack as if you were in that office room (no matter if you’re half a city away). Then you hack into the office terminals (which likely require a password, after all), and that becomes your Access point. From there you move through the secured link to the database, hack yourself access there, get the info and get out.

If you Mark a comlink and make it a Repeater, then you count as being in the same zone, and you can make it into an Access Point because it is connected to the network, but it is an access point because it is connected to a network and you have access to it. It is not an Access Point because it is your Repeater.

The Remote Access Point table is not a difficulty modifier table. You can only hack in the zone you are in, so you never get distance increases to hacking. That table shows how many zones should be between your access point and your goal if the GM wants to/needs to improvise a hacking scene. You can make a D(0) Analysis test to decrease the number of zones you need to hack through with momentum, symbolizing you discovering more efficient routes to the functions you need. But it has nothing to do with distance modifiers.

So it goes like this:
1: Get into Close range of a viable Access Point either physically, or through getting a Repeater into the same zone. Either way, you need to be at Close range to it.
1a: Hack access to this access point if it is secured.
2: GM determines the amount of zones between you and your target. Amount of zones = Security Rating + Remote Access Point modifier based upon the distance between your Access Point and the Target (so it pays to be closer). Let’s say the Security Rating is 3, and my target (the database) is in the same building. That makes it 3 - 1 = 2 zones between me and the database. I could roll a D0 Analysis check here to try and reduce this number of zones (down to 0 if I roll well, which would mean I can jump straight to step #5) but I won’t for this example.
3: Move to the next Quantronic Zone. If there’s security, hack it first. You are at Close range to the next Zone since you’re treated as being “in” your current Quatronic zone. Your physical position does not matter. If there’s ICE, hostile hackers or Security Geists, deal with them before moving on to the next step (or deal with them).
4: Repeat #3 for however many zones you need to cross. 2 in this case.
5: You have arrived in the zone that contains the database. You can now Hack yourself Super-user access to get permission to see/download the data. You are in its Quantronic zone, so no distance modifier!
6: Mission successful, time to jack out.

So, TL;DR:

  • There are no distance modifiers to Hacking. You are either at Close range and able to hack it, or you can’t hack it and need to get closer to it. Which you can do by moving there physically, getting a Repeater there, or starting at a closer Access point and moving through Quantronic zones until you get there. But it needs to be linked up to the same network as something you do have physical or Repeater access to for that.
  • In deep-hacking (so outside of AR) your zone is your Quatronic zone, not your physical location! Access point physical location only matters for determining how many quatronic zones you have to cross, not for distance modifiers.
  • Repeaters can help you gain access to Access Points, and a Marked device can be an Access Point, but isn’t necessarily. The guards’ commlinks could be a closed network that only connect to one another, and not to any overbranching security system, for instance. In that case, Marking the comlink won’t get you into the security system… unless the guard walks into the security room, then you can use the commlink as a Repeater and hack into that zone and use it as an Access Point from there. (It does not matter if the guard moves away again after this, your (quatronic) location will already be the security room.)

No distance modifiers for your Repeaters is not OP, because of the difficulty of getting a Repeater so far away from you in the first place, without it being just Reset, or found and shut down. There are tech savvy people in every organization, they will find even a stealth repeater on their daily searches within a few or even one day. Also, remember that a Repeater is an Access Point to your gear, too! A hacker who leaves an active Repeater on an enemy base without severing the connection deserves to be hacked by a team of security hackers, they’d have all the time in the world to gather up and get ready to smoke every bit of tech you have, determine your identity, location, etc… :stuck_out_tongue:

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Fantastic answer, clarified a lot for me.

I’m still lost in a lot of things in the game, it has very different paradigms, and it doesn’t have an easy language for me, I’m not a native English speaker.