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TOOLKIT

What is a toolkit?

A toolkit is a collection of programs that help a decker break into a system. You don't have to have a fancy array of hacking tools to break into a site - but they can make life a lot easier. Do you really want to try and capture network packets and decode the hex values by hand? Thought not.

A toolkit should be thought of as a collection of programs - some legit diagnosis software, some downloaded from hacker sites and others home grown from security bulletins. It should not be considered to be a large program that you install to "hack the Net". A toolkit is basically a hacker's bag of screwdrivers, spanners and - where needed - a bloody big hammer.

It will help you break into systems and due to it's amorphous nature it is not possible to buy a copy off the shelf. A good toolkit will take a significant amount of time to amass. keep in mind that there will be a constant battle against vendors who will be writing patches and bug fixes to stop you getting in. This means that a toolkit needs to be maintained as it becomes less effective over time.


RULES, RULES, RULES

Before we dive in, there are four ground rules to keep in mind:
  1. The toolkit's rating may not exceed the host system's power less the operating systems' requirement. So, if you have a power 5 laptop with an OS requirement of 1, then your toolkit rating cannot exceed level 4.

  2. A toolkit adds +1 to any hacking tasks per two strength points (ie: intrusion, bluffing or decking rolls, etc). This bonus may NOT exceed the user's skill.

  3. A toolkit's rating degrades at -1 per D3 months due to software patches (ICE) and system upgrades. A toolkit's strength may drop to zero. This affects options your options.

  4. A toolkit may be enhanced by new programs or by improving the existing code.

  5. Toolkits use up 10 MU of storage memory per rating while a toolkit option uses up 5 MU of space per rating.

Enhancing a toolkit

Do it Yourself:

This requires 120 programming hours and a very difficult [25] programming roll to increase the toolkit's strength by one point.

Networking & Net Searching:

Alternatively, contacts (decker) or streetwise (net) may come up with some wares. All rolls should be difficult [20] or more and take a minimum of 2D10 days investigation (the referee rolls at the end of this time).

A fumbled rolled could lead to a duff copy (downgrade toolkit?); infection from a virus or even a police sting (rare).

Should the decker succeed, they must roll over their toolkit's rating on a D10 for the code to be of any use. If the that roll is below the toolkit's strength, the patch or new program is of no use.

Initial Toolkit

Starting characters have no basic toolkit or computer hardware. It may be developed, or purchased, during the game or bought with character points during character generation.
  1. Computer systems can be purchased at an equivalent of 1 CP to $1000.

  2. Toolkits cannot be bought with money, instead they must be developed or sourced. They cost one character point per rating.

  3. Toolkit options can be bought with character points, with one character points buying two ratings of toolkit options. (Round all costs up). Shrunk options cost one character point per rating.


TOOLKIT OPTIONS

Toolkits are not uniform and vary wildly. Deckers often improve their kit's coding, or add minor upgrades to it. An option is a specialisation of a particular function of the toolkit. Thus, some deckers have systems with good ICE breakers, others can kill subprocesses at a blink while the hunter softs are unshakeable in their data tracking.

Every system has one resource point per system power rating. Options use up a certain number of resources, depending on their strength. Options add to the decker's skill rolls, this is in addition to any toolkit bonus!

Options take about ten minutes per rating to install, fine tune and get to grips with. Once installed, they may be unloaded and reloaded on an sucessful computer operation test (difficulty 14 + twice the option's level as a difficult rating). This takes half a minute per option rating to carry out although a fumble will cause the system to crash! Failed unloads can be attempted at a cumulative +2 penalty and means starting the unloading process all over again. Remember that options take up 5 MU of storage memory while versions that have been shrunk take up 3 MU.

Getting Options

Toolkit options can be obtained in one of two ways: getting them from other people, or making your own. Writing your own tools will get you some streetcred within the decker community - but only if it's good stuff. :-)

Improving Options

Option Rating:

A decker can increase the power of an option by simply increasing it's rating. This can be done with a streetwise test (as above), or by recoding the option. Improving an option can be slightly more tricky. The difficulty rating is 20 + double the option's current rating and this takes 10 programming hours per rating. Furthermore, if you didn't write the original, add 20 programming hours and +4 difficulty as you're working with another person's code.

Option Size:

There are only so many options a toolkit can maintain. A very difficult [25] programming roll and 20 man hours will halve the resource point cost for that particular option. Finding a shrunk option is a very difficult [25] streetwise task requiring 2D4 days. Unloaded shrunk options only use up 3 MU per rating as opposed to the usual 5 MU. Loaded shrunk options use up half their usual resource cost in RP.

Sample Toolkits

Listed below are a few example systems with toolkits installed. Note that the system power to run these systems is one higher than the toolkit. This because the computer's operating system reduces the amount of resource points available. In these examples the OSs used have been OpenX Workstation (uses 1RP) and Xen Workstation (uses 1RP).

Rating
Power Required
Options
RP Left
Bonus
Size
Cost (CP)
2
3 or more
None
0
+1 decking / intrusion
20 MU
(2 x 10 MU)
Two CP
4
5 or more
Coding - rating 2
0
+2 decking / intrusion
+4 to programming
50 MU
(4 x 10 MU
+ 2 x 5 MU)
Six CP
5
6 or more
ICE breaking rtg 2 (shrunk, uses 2 RP)
Databasing rtg 1
Personality
0
+2 decking
+4 intrusion
+3 library search
70 MU
(5 x 10 MU +
2 x 5 MU x
+ 2 x 5 MU)
Eleven CP