Limitless Worlds

Limitless Worlds

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Basic Running System

And here is the draft system for net running! It's pretty easy since I treat running as more of a separate setting than one that requires a million rules. Still, I offer pretty easy to remember guidelines for all your running needs.


When you enter the IntraNet, you are navigating the nearly infinite digital space with your mind. Your body, as well as all your gear, is sitting in situ (hopefully in a safe place). That doesn't mean you are unprotected in the IntraNet, however. Your mind is convinced it still has all its gear, but it is instead a manifestation of your mind, rather than a physical object. Still, while in IntraSpace, your brain becomes a computer for all intents and purposes. That mentally digitized gun may not be "real," but it can still lay the smack down.

Running is handled exactly like normal, real-life street missions. You have all your gear, and you look like your normal self, though you glow slightly blue and look digital. The difference is that you are no longer in the realm of the physical, but of the mental. That means when it comes down to fisticuffs, you have to flex your grey matter instead of  your muscle matter.

This translates in a few ways. First, Strength is no longer used to determine melee attack bonuses and damage. Intelligence takes up that roll. Second, your Dexterity is no longer used to determine ranged attack bonuses and AC. That is now Wisdom's job. Further, like you saw in character creation, you have two new stats while running: your FC, or Firewall Class, that acts as your AC while in digital space, and your SP, or Stress Points, that act as your HP.

IntraNet combat works exactly like regular combat as well, though instead of fighting gangers and corp security, you'll be tangling with ICEs, worms and more. These programs can take up thousands of forms, similar to your Avatars.

In this way, IntraNet running is a good way to get away from the normal cyberpunk aesthetics for the GM. Want to do a fantasy dungeon crawl? Have the runners visit a IntraSpace that emulates a medieval town, where malware in the shape of a fell drake constantly frags the inhabitants.

"Dying" in the IntraNet

While exploring the IntraNet, if your SP ever reaches 0, you will become "fragged." Fragging basically is the break-up of your digital form, causing your mind to refuse a connection with the IntraNet, thus jacking your consciousness out of the Net and shoving it back in your body. You will be unharmed, but mentally, you'll be exhausted. Fragging occurs after 1 minute of reaching 0 SP, so the runner's partners have time to revive him before he is booted out. SP heals at the same rate as HP.

However, if you reach into negative SPs, that could be a serious problem for you. When you plunge down into the negatives, your mind starts reeling and trying to destroy the "infected" parts of your brain to revive you. Your consciousness stays in the IntraSpace as your brain does its work, and you must make a Will save to stabilize, similar to stabilizing physical wounds.

If you do manage to stabilize, you are fragged instantly and tossed back into your body. People with negative SP will not only be mentally tired, but they'll often be confused, confrontational, depressed and forgetful until
their brain manages to self repair itself. SP can also be restored through visits to a psychologist, often called "brain docs". These aren't so much licensed psychoanalysists, but more programmers who jack into your access port and try to root out malicious programs. Both natural and assisted healing at negative SP works exactly like healing similar HPs.

At -10 SP, the runner is fragged instantly, shoved into his body, and either becomes irreversibly comatose or incredibly insane. That means it's time for a new character.

It is important to stress that when you are in the IntraNet, your body must be safe. While running, you can easily be killed, kidnapped or worse. Further more, if you are unexpectedly jacked out, your conciousness will be stuck in the IntraNet as your body stays as a potato. You can rejoin with your body if you can find where it was transferred to, but that in itself is a whole other adventure.

Entering, Exiting and Moving in the IntraNet

The actual process of entering the IntraNet is fairly easy; find a safe and comfy place to rest, insert the Jack Wire into your access port, and sink into the Net. Where you arrive in the IntraNet is a different story. Every IntraSpace has an IP address, similar to current computers. If you know the IP number of the IntraSpace you want to visit, you'll arrive there with little complications once you Jack in. A good deal of IP numbers are easy to find, but some, such as the IP of a megacorp's stock portfolio, will be extremely hard to locate and may require real-life hacking and infiltrating to get access to.

Most IPs won't actually drop you inside the IntraSpace, but rather right in front of it. If you want to get in,
you'll have to do it the old fashioned way.

If you don't know the IP, good luck. The IntraNet is vast, some say infinite, and finding anything is a bitch. You may find what you are looking for by wandering, as similar IP addresses are placed close together physically, but don't expect to drop into an IntraSpace city and find a gun smuggler's hideout with no effort. If you enter the IntraNet without knowing the IP, you'll drop into your personal IntraSpace, which usually takes the form of an apartment.

Entering and getting place to place in the IntraNet is fairly easy, but exiting is a different story. As stated in the previous section, getting fragged is the forceful way to leave the IntraNet. The willing way requires you to go back to the IP you entered from. Yes, this means you can't just go to the IntraSpace's core, grab the data you want, and then Jack out. You have to escape with the goods. However, once you get back to the IP, jacking out is basically instant.

The Core

All IntraSpaces have something called a core. The core represents the source code used to write the IntraSpace, as well as the hard drive which contains the more important and hidden files. It also serves as the central processing power of the IntraSpace. If you want to modify or extract from the IntraSpace, you have to access the core.

Cores are usually centrally located, and are not hard to miss. The core is often in its own heavily guarded room, and the core's room itself is high vaulted and empty. In the middle is the core itself, a floating piece of geometry that constantly shifts and fluctuates with information and code.

Actually accessing the core is difficult, as the cores are fairly powerful AIs that will try to destroy the runners. Cores can be dealt with like any enemy, but these creatures are dangerous. Not all cores are insanely powerful, though; accessing the core of a digital coffee shop will usually only take a quick battle or round of negotiating. However, destroying a megacorp or government core will be a drawn out battle that may result in some fragging.

Once the core is defeated, runners won't have long until the core's back-up systems activate. These could be alarms, self destruct systems, or even a full reboot. Runners have a limited time to access or alter the information they wish, represented by an extended Intelligence check. Weak cores can take up to 20 minutes to activate their back ups, while powerful ones only need about 1 minute. This is complicated by the fact that more powerful cores will need more successes on the extended check to get the information you want. Once the runner does get what he wants, it's time to bolt.

Hacking in the IntraNet

Hacking with your Avatar in the IntraNet is fairly difficult, if not impossible. What an Avatar does to an ExtraNet is avoid, destroy and circumnavigate malicious programs in order to get to data files. However, most items in the IntraNet ARE programs. The Avatar simply doesn't know how to infilitrate individual programs to access their source codes.

Well, that's not really true. Not all Avatars can.

Some very illegal, very powerful and very expensive Avatars exist, and they are known as Devas. Devas are extensions of Avatars, so you can have a rank 3 Deva. Devas can hack items in the IntraNet, and the hacking functions just as Avatar hacking. Some things are too powerful for even the Deva to hack, such as an IntraSpace's core. What is hackable by the Deva is up to the GM.


  1. Does this system deal with the usual complaint about netrunning subsystems (i.e. it divides the party and, either way, one part ends up bored)? If so, how?

  2. I mean, the division of the party is really up to the GM and isn't really super influenced by mechanics. I was imagine Netrunning would be a full party endeavor, rarely dealing with just one person. The IntraNet would be a sub-setting, basically.