04/03/2019 Update: We're alive and kicking
over 1 year ago
– Thu, Apr 04, 2019 at 12:24:44 AM
I'm sorry I didn't put out an update last month. We've just been keeping our heads down and working. I'm not ready to send out surveys yet, but it'll happen soon; I just want to make sure I'm getting the best (and most accurate) shipping costs before I lock everything in. It's a very important part of this process, and I can't afford to mess it up.
In other news, I'm still fiddling with the hacking rules, but a bunch of other material has been submitted and is ready for editing. I have 99% of the world chapter for the Core rules done, most of the Campaign themes, races, origins, and three major sections of the gear chapter finished and ready for editing/play testing.
We're still working on city trappings. NPC's haven't been done yet, and there are other elements of the GM chapter we haven't touched, like Savage Tales and NPCs.
Edges and Hindrances haven't been done yet, because pretty much everything else has to be in place before we can start looking at ways they can be used in the final systems and setting.
There has been some discussion about the Plot Point Campaigns, but I'm waiting to get the entire world section done before we deal with them. Obviously I have my own ideas, but the foundation needs to be in place first.
I've order some art based on things I've been seeing in the manuscript, but I won't do full orders until the book is ready. Here's a little teaser, though:
Finally, here's the new IZ logo, done by one our our backers: the very talented Leon Marais.
over 1 year ago
– Fri, Mar 01, 2019 at 12:06:33 AM
Wow, I’m floored.
I’ll admit, this Kickstarter was something I was very concerned about, coming back to the community after six years to do another one, even though I hadn’t completed the stretch goals for the first. I honestly didn’t think this would even reach it’s funding goal, not to mention cross 60,000 dollars and get just as many (actually a handful more) backers as the first one. It’s really hard to wrap my brain around that. The only thing I can really think to say is what I’ve been saying all along. Thank you.
No, seriously, THANK YOU.
Your generosity, your love for the game, your continued trust in myself and the team is humbling, and I don’t take this sort of thing lightly. We intend to bring you some of the best cyberpunk material out there, and I’m so glad you chose to come along for the ride.
Those of you who have backed before can attest to the fact that I often share the team’s design work with you before it’s completed, and we’ll continue to see that happen, because this is your game, and we want you to be happy with the design elements that are going into Interface Zero 3.0.
Some of you have asked if we’re going to do this for Fantasy grounds, and the answer is absolutely, YES! I won’t promise other character builders though. I got burned on that a while back, but I have a good working relationship with the people at fantasy grounds and don’t expect any problems there.
As for the Corporate Profiles book. Yes, we’ll be doing some small supplements for that as well and might do an omnibus of those at a later date. Corp supplements are one of the things that have been sorely missing from IZ, and I want to rectify that.
So, strap in, everyone, the Kickstarter may be done, but the ride is just beginning. I’ll post more updates soon!
02/26/2018: About Hacking
over 1 year ago
– Thu, Feb 28, 2019 at 10:46:02 AM
Hacking the coffin shack’s network was easy enough; Iron Sprite port-scanned it and, finding the exploit she was looking for, ran a HaXXomancer password cracker. A couple of seconds later she was into the network and mapping the active nodes to find the coffin shack’s security systems and locations of the guards.
Strange. The intel that Null.SET sold her indicated the place was supposed to have a four-man security team, but Iron Sprite could only find two active nodes; one matching the bruisers guarding the main entrance to this rat hole and one node for the sysop. Plus, the target of the rip-N-run was a low-level yakuza courier. Iron Sprite figured the coffin shack would be filled with bodyguards, but after pinging the nodes again…nope. Just the two bruisers sitting on their—
“Let’s go!” Frankie_Fraggem’s grating whisper was like a scream over the cryptolink connection that Iron Sprite had installed in her team’s TAPs.
“Shut your pie hole Frankie and let Iron Sprite do her job!” Killswitch and Frankie_Fraggem got along like a wet cat and a rabid dog in a cage together, but they were pro when they needed to be.
“Both of you shut up and let me suss this out,” she said. Something didn’t track. “Wait...” With a few gestures on her hyper GUI, Iron Sprite ran a traceroute on the system and found the problem. The only data packets coming to and from the network were hers. No activity from the sysop. She was in a honeypot—a fake shell meant to trick her into thinking she was logged into the correct network, when really, it was just a subdomain meant to trap her.
“Shit!” Iron Sprite dumped her connection to the fake shell and ran a stack trace on her TAP, cursing again when it finished. The damned brainer running security for the coffin shack dropped a blackRAT into her system.
“Pull back guys! We’ve been burn—” Her voice was drowned out in the hail of gunfire as bullets ripped into her arms and legs. She turned to run but stumbled and fell to the wet concrete in the alley behind the coffin shack. The blackRAT must have crippled the processors on her cyber legs; they were like chrome logs hanging from her waist.
The security team came out of nowhere. Six of them with automatic weapons, bearing down on her. Damn. They must be running some serious HR masking software to be able to hide their presence like that. Iron Sprite focused on the leader, letting L.O.S.T auto ping him so she could cut through the firewalls and disable the IBIS system linking the rent-a-cop’s assault rifle to his TAP. The guy froze for a second, tapping the rifle as if it failed to fire.
The next second a booming sound erupted in Iron Sprite’s ears as the man was blown black from Killswitch’s shotgun. Rough hands grabbed her shoulders and started pulling her backwards.
One last scan of his TAP revealed a cryptolink connecting the down—but not dead— security guard to the rest of his team. Iron Sprite smiled and uploaded a blackRAT of her own. The trojan spread to every team member and auto-executed a logic bomb. She smirked as Killswitch dragged her away. She could almost hear the neural processors being fried in their TAPs as the guards simultaneously dropped to their knees—white knuckles clutching their heads in agony...
“Let’s get outta here!” Frankie_Fraggem yelled just as the black van pulled up behind them with a screech. The bar doors swung open and a short, balding rhino hybrid jumped out and helped her in.
“What the hell happened!?” The hybrid asked.
“We were set up, Torque.” She looked at the team and cursed. “Let’s go find Null.SET. We need to have a little chat.”
COMPUTERS IN 2095
In 2095, everything is computerized—even you. Your Tendril Access Processor connects you to the world around you in such a way that you are no longer separate from the things you interact with; you are one with them. Indeed, from the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you are digitally interacting with your environment in some way shape or form.
Open your eyes, and your TAP’s Graphic User Interface(GUI) flickers to life in front of you. Stats quickly flash across the GUI; things such as your R.E.M. patterns for the past 30 days, your current heart rate, blood pressure and other vitals, the time of day, current temperature in the room and the weather outside. With a simple voice command, you can turn on the lights, and start a pot of coffee or tea.
Another voice command overlays a multitude of virtual icons on your TAP’s GUI that can be interacted with through voice or hyper touch, like text messages, browsers, games, apps, etc. A simple gesture brings up a hyper panel in your field of vision, showing you the latest news. With another gesture, you can slide that glowing, digital panel left or right and bring up yet another hyper panel listing any text or voice messages you might have; and it goes on and on throughout the day, each place you go, each person or thing you interact with offering an array of choices in terms of connectivity.
Hyper Reality, Near Field Communications (NFC) and Line of Sight Triggers (LOST) make all of this possible. Line of Sight Triggers turn your eyes into targeting sensors. If someone or something you look at has a microprocessor installed—which is nearly everyone and anything in 2095— it will show up your field of vision as a Hyper Reality Object (HRO). If you are close enough to the object, the Near Field Communications technology in your TAP pings the device. Depending on the object’s security protocol, it will automatically access and allow you to interact with it through your TAPs GUI.
The Tendril Access Processor (Dubbed Interface Zero by those who created it) represents a fundamental shift in how we perceive the world, a technological marvel on par with the invention of the integrated circuit board or the telephone. But there is a very real danger with such technology.
Your ability to interact with everything also means everything can interact with you.
For most sprawlers, this isn’t a big deal; they go through their lives blissfully ignorant of the dangers Hyper Reality presents. That graffiti you just passed? It contained a trojan holding a worm capable of sifting through your banking data, your Myface friends list, those nude selfies you shared with your girlfriend but never deleted. Luckily the malware was some low-level flash and burn code written by some punk banger lookin’ to gain some rep with his set. Your custom firewalls stopped it in its tracks.
But next time, who knows?
The point is simple, nakama. To survive in this brave new world, you need protection. You’ll want good firewalls, good anti-virus software, and not that megacorp DIGISHIELD crap that comes with the latest patch Featherstone tech sends every quarter—that stuff is full of senseware that makes you buy whatever they want you to or think however they need you to. No, you want someone to code top-tier firewalls and, perhaps more urgently, help you remove that ransomware you accidentally triggered on pornportal the other night.
In short, you need a hacker.
THE ROLE OF THE HACKER
Hackers play a key role in the composition of any party. They don’t necessarily do loads of damage like cyber monks, razor boys or rivet heads, nor do they command drones that help control the battlefield. Hackers can’t patch up a team member if they get shot, but when you need to shut down that Corps security system, suppress enemy communications, limit the opposition’s combat effectiveness by disabling their cybernetic implants or even crushing their TAPs; the hacker can do that… and more.
In IZ 3.0, we’re going with a very streamlined system for hacking. It all depends on when you are hacking, and what you are trying to hack. For 3.0, we want hacking to be quick and easy to do in any situation, with just a couple of die rolls. The system is designed to be cinematic, focusing on speed of play and fun rather than dealing with a ton of intricate rules. This is just an overview to give you insight into the process.
You might be in a bar looking to hack into someone’s Tendril Access Processor so you can get their personal information and maybe steal some cryptodollars from their bank account. In this situation, you make a Hacking skill roll with a Target Number of 4 modified by the security rating of the person’s TAP. This penalty can range from -1 to -4.
If you succeed, you gain access to their TAP and can do a number of things, like data mining to find personal information download data files, browser history, bank account info, etc. Failure allows the target of your hack to make a Hacking skill roll (Or Smarts roll if the person doesn’t have the Hacking skill) to see if she noticed the activity on her TAP. If you critically fail, the target of the hack automatically knows she’s been hacked and can launch any Intrusion Countermeasures she might have installed on her TAP, like trace programs or anti-viral software. This can lead to combat hacking (see below), or just get you shot in the face if the target figures out it was you.
Furthermore, each time you look for something, download something (like the person’s browser history), or upload something (like a piece of malware), you must also make a Hacking skill roll, with failure and critical failure having the same consequences as mentioned above.
Since you aren’t actually in combat this takes as long as the GM feels is necessary, usually anywhere from 3 seconds to a minute.
Hacking during combat is handled as above, but to keep things in line with regular combat, each use of the Hacking skill is an action performed at a -2 penalty to the roll. Penalties from wounds and conditions also apply to any Hacking rolls you make.
The biggest difference is that hacking is treated like a ranged attack. Just like other ranged attacks, there are different results depending on what type of weapon you are using. Some attacks you launch might do physical damage to the target or cause fatigue and conditions like distracted or vulnerable. Some attacks can shut down pieces of cybernetics, or weapons, and can even affect multiple opponents. Hacking attacks that cause wounds/fatigue, etc. can be resisted, just like damage from a weapon or psionic power can be resisted.
Hacking a Network
Hacking a computer network is always a dramatic task. The degree of complexity of the task depends on the type of computer network you are hacking. A WIFI network at the local coffee shop might be a challenging task, requiring 4 Task Tokens in three rounds, while a hack on the Kenta Cyberdynamics R&D network might be a difficult task which involves getting 6 Task Tokens in four rounds, and you have to make the Hacking skill rolls at a -2 penalty or risk triggering ICE. Any time you fail, the Network admins get a Hacking skill roll to see if they detect the intrusion. ICE may or may not be triggered. If you critically fail, ICE is automatically triggered, and the system goes on alert.
Once you’ve acquired the requisite Task Tokens, you’re into the network, and can do whatever it is you came to do, though each action you take still requires a Hacking roll at the same penalties (if any) as before.
And that’s it. That’s hacking in a nutshell. As I mentioned above, we want to make this as Fast, Furious and Fun as possible, while at the same time giving a person who plays the role of the hacker some fun things to do during the game.