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Sunny's Guide to Decking

FOREWORD: Been fielding a lot of questions from all you aspiring netrunners, so here's me thinking “I should put together a tutorial so help you!”

IF you find this helpful, do me a solid, get onto your pocket secretary or go to the bank and WIRE Sunny some nuyen, baby! <3

  1. “Cyberdecks 101” (What's in a Deck and why custom's best!)
  2. “Persona Chips, and YOU!” (How to understand your icon's potential!)
  3. “Why do I fumble everything in the Matrix?” (A treatise on buying programs)
  4. “The Gear Maketh the Decker” (Minimum gear requirements to jack in!)
  5. “Paydata for Fun and Profit” (How to snag paydata and not be flatlined!)
  6. “Hell is Empty and the Devils are Here”(fighting ICE and corpo spiders)
  7. “The Matrix Travel Guide” (A list of popular jackpoints and their danger levels - reviewed!)
  8. “There and Back Again” (A guide to how to logon to the LTG, the RTG, and move between hosts!)

In addition, I am ALWAYs happy to be going on the matrix dates and sharing what I know. I am always updating this document, so please MAIL me if you would like to contribute.

Also, feel free to send me mail or ask on the radio for my current commcode.

Your friend, Sunny

PART 1: "Cyberdecks 101" (What's in a Deck and Why Custom's Best!)

MPCP: the OS of your deck. It stands for Master Persona Control Program. The rating of this determines the rating of the big 'Attribute programs': Bod, Evasion, Masking and Sensors. You want a good MPCP because the total rating points you can distribute to your Persona programs are the MPCP x 3. Also your utilities have a max level of the MPCP, and each persona program can only be as high as the MPCP. So a MPCP of 8 can have Bod/Evasion/Masking/Sensors of 6/6/6/6, or 8/6/5/5 etc. It also affects your hacking (as does your Intelligence and certain 'ware boosts. Math SPU mmm… <3<3)

Hardening: Your 'Matrix Armor.'It increases your decks resistance to Black IC & Gray IC(including Black Hammer and Killjoy programs).

Active Memory: this is your deck's RAM. You can only run utilities in MP equal to or less than your deck's Active Memory. So if you're running your high level Sleaze program(which you should!!!), that can cost a lot of AM. you want to try to get this reasonable to be able to run a few utilities.

Storage Memory: Storage Space! Swapping a utility from Active to Storage doesn't remove it from Storage–you still need the space for them.

I/O Speed: Transfer rate of MP per combat turn. The faster this is the faster stuff gets transferred.

Response Increase: Matrix Reflexes, and really nice to have. Think of it as being like wired reflexes, but for matrix combat. The level of Response Increase can only be the MPCP/3, round down, so a good MPCP is crucial.

Reality Filters: The benefit of having a custom-made deck is that you can filter the matrix to make it easier to identify threats (NB: The S3 downside to reality filters are not coded.)

Hot ASIST/cold ASIST: Store-bought decks and ASIST headware only have cold ASIST. When you run hot, you use your full decker potential… but you also risk frying your brain. Hot ASIST's very illegal, so you know that it must be good.

Sunny's Deckbuilding Price List: 
persona programs and other software sold separately, 
& prebuilt/preowned/preloved decks available at competitive prices

Hot ASIST decks custom made to order, starting at 200,000 nuyen 
MPCP: 6+, Hardening: 4, Active: 1000, Storage: 3000, I/O: 240. 

(OOC: I mostly left this in as IC flavor.
Deck building is fun, if you're so inclined.
There there are many in-game who can potentially build for you. 
Also, please note, that I do not typically keep a stock of premade decks on hand.) 

PART 2 "Persona Chips, and YOU!"(How to Understand your Icon's Potential!)

Your deck can handle MPCPx3 points of Persona Chips. For example: 6 MPCP deck could have 6/6/6/0, or 6/4/4/4, or 5/5/5/3, etc. You need to install persona chips onto your deck, but you do not have to set them as default. These persona programs make up your icon and allow you to attempt actions in the matrix. Think of them as your vital statistics in the matrix.

You do not need to set these to load, these are different to utility programs. All you need to do, to use these chips, is INSTALL them on your deck. (See Sunny's Guide to Programming and Deckbuilding)

BOD: Protects your icon from damage. The higher, the more punishment your icon can take before getting dumped from the matrix.

SENSORS: Want to find anything, ever? The higher the number, the more you'll see.

MASKING: The higher the number, the harder it is for the host and IC to notice you… also makes it easier to hide from also other deckers. Bigger is better. The average of your MASKING persona chip and any sleaze program you are running is what determines your detection factor. You WANT a high detection factor. The higher your detection factor, the longer it is before IC notice you, Omae.

EVASION: Talk shit get hit. This is used in matrix combat.

PART 3 "Why do I fumble everything in the Matrix?"(A treatise on buying programs)

A common query I've heard is “why do my attempts to do ANYTHING in the matrix always fumble?” Assuming you've got the right aptitudes and skills and chrome and bioware, and that your deck isn't total drek, it is likely because you don't have the right utility programs installed and or loaded on your deck. Check below!

To use these programs, you will need to INSTALL the chip on your deck.

Then you will either need to set the utility program as DEFAULT outside of the matrix, or LOAD <filename> inside the matrix.

If you are looking for information on programming, see here.


MATRIX ACTIONS desired result Associated UTILITIES(S) Comments
Abort Host Shutdown Swerve Aborts Host Shutdown
Attack Attack, Lock-on run program
Analyze <host/security> Analyze
Analyze <IC/File/Subsystem> Analyze
- Armor Reduces Power of IC's atk
Combat Maneuvers Cloak, Lock-on, Attack(lock-on stops enemies from avoiding you!)
Crash Swerve Crash host. Makes IC weaker.
Decrypt paydata Decrypt Decrypt paydata
Disconnect N/A Dumps you from the matrix. OUCH.
Disarm paydata Defuse Defuses databomb
Evade Cloak Evades IC
Download Read/Write Download files, paydata
Locate <host/file> Browse If you already know the name, you can skip this.
Locate <ic> Analyze If they're hiding, find them.
Locate <decker> Scanner If they're hiding, find them.
Locate paydata Evaluate If you're looking for the money shot… Evaluate Utilities decay periodically, so you'll need to keep cooking new ones.
Logoff Deception Return to meat space without frying your brain. Can't use when fighting Black IC.
Logon <host> Deception Locate host name first using locate host
Logon LTG Deception
Logon RTG Deception
Make phonecalls in matrix Comlink Allows you to make phone calls and recieve phone calls.
Make it harder to be noticed/Raise Detection FactorSleaze Detection Factor = Avg.Sleaze+Masking
Redirect Datatrail Camo
Repair your icon Medic run program
Restrict icon Validate
Prevent Trace Camo
Parry Cloak Bolster matrix defenses
Position Cloak Improve chance to hit
Scan <decker> Scanner Get a more in depth look. See what they're running.
Trace MXP Browse
Upload Read/Write Upload files, duh

PART 4: "The Gear Maketh the Decker"

Hoi, Chummers! So first thing's first, if you want to be the novahot matrix cowboy/girl, the right gear is ESSENTIAL: a Decker without a Deck is hardly a decker at all! But, aside from the obvious, chrome and bioware can be very important. The rules for being in the matrix are different to in meatspace, yes! In meatspace, you have to rely on the strength of your body to do the heavy lifting. In the matrix your mind is your strength, and your willpower is how much you can resist being knocked about.


What Comment
Datajack ESSENTIAL: Neccessary to jack in
Math SPU Improves your hacking ability (hacking pool) by rating… also a clock!
Encephallon Improves hacking ability (hacking pool) by rating
Chipjack, SkillwiresDon't know how to deck? Don't know how to program? Just buy some ActiveSofts.


What Comment
cerebral booster II The first rating only makes you a little smarter. The second rating makes you even smarter and helps when you are having to think.

I recommend AGAINST getting a vehicle control rig when just starting out as the decker, as they are very distracting. (OOC note: having a vehicle control rig inflicts a penalty on your hacking pool.


OK. If you are looking for how to build a deck, see here. (OOC note: Khai's Guide to the Amateur Decker is perhaps an easier quickguide. Thanks Khai!)

Please review previous parts, but to summarise:

A cyberdeck Get as high a MPCP rating as you can. Store bought decks are OK, but if you want to maximise your success, you need to quit worrying about frying your brain and get hot ASIST. It's illegal, so you * know * that it must be good. Seriously, without hot ASIST you can't even hack at your best! Also, you're slower! Unless you love lag, go with a custom deck and hot ASIST. Want a custom deck? See part 2, above. Talk to Sunny, baby!
Persona chips At bare minimum you MUST have bod and sensors installed on your deck to even start your deck up. (The total ratings of all four programs cannot exceed 3x MPCP rating of your deck.) See part 2, above.
Programs Programs also known as Utilities are how a decker stands a chance at succeeding at things. Don't forget to install those, and perhaps consider setting your most used programs to default. For a description of what each of the programs do please see part 3.

PART 5 "Paydata for fun and profit" (How to Snag Paydata and NOT be Flatlined!)

Follow these steps to be on your way to raking in the nuyen.

  1. Read all previous parts of the guide, if you haven't yet.
  2. CONNECT to a matrix jackpoint. For example, the Seattle Library (see part 7) NB. if at any point IC turns up and you do not feel confident, LOGOFF(pain free) or DISCONNECT(owie). Discretion is the better part of valor.
  3. LOCATE paydata. If you fumble, keep trying. If you cannot find any paydata, continue to step 9. If you locate paydata, continue to step 4.
  4. ANALYZE paydata. This will tell you if the file itself is protected by hidden IC such as encyption IC or a databomb.
  5. DISARM paydata. Remove databombs. Make sure this succeeds. If fail, try again.
  6. DECRYPT paydata. Remove encryption. Make sure this succeeds. If fail, try again.
  7. DOWNLOAD paydata. If your storage memory is full, LOGOFF. UNINSTALL PAYDATA from deck. CONNECT again. The paydata will still be there. DOWNLOAD paydata.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7, moving onto step 9 once there is no more paydata to be found.
  9. LOCATE host <keyword> Examine the matrix around you, and look for anything that stands out. For example, in the Seattle Library matrix hosts, you will notice that the reading room, the forum and the library all stand out. However, sometimes the clues to identify host names exist in meatspace. Look around, and if all else fails… ask on the radio, Chummer.
  10. LOGON <keyword>, eg, logon forum etc.
  11. Repeat steps 3-7 until there is no more paydata to be found anywhere.

That is basically all there is to getting paydata. Selling paydata's another story. There's a dwarf out in West Tacoma named Krackerjack that buys paydata. He's on Crescent Street. The quicker you can get the data to him, the more he'll pay. He pays more for orange, red and black host data. But you can still make a tidy profit selling the easy stuff.

 Factors determining paydata value (in no set order): 

1. What security code (color) host did the paydata come from? 
(least valuable) blue < green < orange < red (most valuable)

2. How rare the data you're trading in is 
(eg, how much paydata of that 'color' has been sold to Krackerjack recently)

3. How 'fresh' the data you're selling is / how long since you downloaded it from the host

4. Your negotiation skills vs Krackerjack's negotiation skills

5. Your skills with data brokerage

NB: Previously I warned everyone not to crash the market, but with hindsight, I regret this as it was not my intent to scare deckers new to Seattle away from snatching a piece of the data-apple-pie. The market will fluctuate, and you won't always expect it. But equally, a correction usually occurs in a couple of days, and at worse you will only be receiving less money than you expected. There are diminishing returns on paydata. Which is good, otherwise some of you would never venture into meat space.


Part 6 "Hell is Empty and the Devils are Here" (fighting ICE and corpo spiders)

Well! I admit, I mostly think AVOIDING IC is the way to go. You just do not get much out of destroying IC. There's no special paydata for running your attack utility, as far as I know. There's minimal karma in it. And when you destroy an IC the security level in the host ticks up!

But inevitably the drek always hits the fan. I'm still writing this guide, and will update it soon.

But the gist is: You want as good a sleeze utility as you can get. You want an armor utility.

Make sure you have a matrix attack utility. Some people claim that cloak and matrix evasion is useless, but I have found it helpful.

RUN ATTACK <ic> as soon as you can.

Don't forget to EVADE/PARRY/POSITION to maximise your combat chances.

And if it is looking bad? Get out of there, Omae.

LOGOFF if you can, but if you cannot… DISCONNECT will dump you from the matrix, but a bit of dumpshock's better than getting your icon and utilities shredded.

Below is a snippet of a datafile on some of the hosts in the Seattle LTG and the Tacoma LTG. As you look around the LTG you will see many more obvious hosts.

Physical Location Host danger level Comments/paydata value
Library Nil. The milkiest of milk runs Everyone knows this one. Data sells for 1000-2000 nuyen
Dantes' Danger! Iceman doesn't like it when you go looking for paydata :(There is actually IC protection here that will shred your icon if you're an idiot and go in without being protected. I mostly use this one to jack into and the LOGON to LTG and go about my Biz elsewhere.
Nybbles n Bytes Nil to Low. Not connected to the Tacoma LTG. Data sells for 1000-2000 nuyen
Tacoma Junkyard Low. You can get IC if you aren't careful.
Tacoma MallLow. Plenty of IC, but they won't shred your proggies.Lots and lots of paydata. Data sells for 1000-2000 Nuyen.

"There and Back Again" (A guide to how to logon to the RTG, the LTG, and any connected hosts!)

In the section about Utility Programs you can see the list of every action you can take in the matrix, that I'm aware of.

The following is an explanation about what you can do with LOGON.

As you know, one CONNECTs to the matrix at a Jackpoint (see the travel guide for some hints about Jackpoint locations).

Once you are in the matrix, you can do so many things. But something you might want to do is travel somewhere else.

This is where the LOGON command comes in useful, and why your deception utility is so important. When decking, we are convincing the matrix that our credentials are legitimate (Most normies actually pay for their LTG/RTG subscriptions. Did you know that? But you and I, we know that's a waste of money. Also. Well. Traceable. And the last thing a decker needs whilst busy with the biz is being traced.)

  1. So! Clever smarty pants might try to CONNECT to the matrix at a Jackpoint unrelated to where they are going to go to work. And there's nothing wrong with that – that means you don't have to get into Mitsuhama HQ to get that sweet, sweet corporate paydata. There are downsides, of course.
  2. In this example, let's say the decker CONNECTs to one of the jackpoints in the Library.
  3. They then use LOGON LTG to connect to the Local Telecommunications Grid. The Library, being in Seattle, is connected to the Seattle LTG.
  4. They then could use LOCATE HOST <keyword> to find the telephone number of any host connected to the Seattle LTG.
  5. Once you know the phone number, a decker can use LOGON HOST <phone number> to attempt to fool the host into letting them in.
  6. But if they wanted to connect to a host, say, in Tacoma, they would need to LOGON RTG, the Regional Telecommunications Grid.
  7. They would then need to LOCATE HOST TACOMA to find Tacoma's LTG, and then LOGON <phone number>
  8. Once in Tacoma LTG, they can LOCATE HOST <keyword> to find the address of any host on the Tacoma LTG. For example, 'LOCATE HOST Nybbles' should result in finding that host's phone number.
  9. They can then use that phone number, eg, LOGON <phone number>, to connect to that host.

See? Easy, Omae.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some downsides to jacking in from a remote device rather than a legal console.

You may notice that it is much easier if you jack directly into the terminal in question, especially when dealing with orange and red security hosts. Also, your I/O speed and bandwidth are limited by the Jackpoint you are using. Also, as your icon traverses the matrix, you keep your security tally with you. This means that the further you are from your intended destination, the more actions you have to take to *get* to your destination, and the more chances that the host will be set on alert.

Whatever you are up to, I do recommend throwing some nuyen at a street samurai to watch your meat while you're decking, especially if you decide you will bypass some of the matrix heat by sneaking into Novatech in meatspace.

OOC: Don't be afraid of crashing the market. It will occur when lots of pay data is traded, but the market will recover eventually.
sunnys_decking_guide.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/21 15:57 by