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Running on Italics: The Universe of Tomorrow [Runner]


Originally published at: http://stimhack.com/running-on-italics-the-universe-of-tomorrow-runner/

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love these articles, keep em coming!

I was impressed with y’all’s calm demeanor regarding bookmark. The relationship between max hand size, cards in hand, damage, and flatline has always been a bit vague flavor wise, so I though for sure you’d blow up at this card. I think it works pretty well in the sense that it simply points to the runner taking some time (installing it and drawing up and loading it) to be, shall we say, extra-prepared. in a general sense. I think the default state of a runner is seat-of-the-pants problem solving and figuring it out as you go - but it makes sense that some runners will be very organised and methodical. they might not move as fast, but they’re prepared when the worst is about to happen.

re: Fisk: Flavor-wise he feels strong to me. as an investor with some sway and some respectability it’s easy to see him putting pressure on a corp to “move things along,” even when it’s not actually to their benefit. I think even without the extra fluff (I honestly hadn’t read more than his name and title by the time he was released) he and his ability fit very naturally into the world.It’s too bad he sucks, but I think this character (and his mechanic) is one that makes a lot of sense in the world and quickly tells you who he is in the world (genius billionaire investment guru isn’t exactly an unfamiliar archetype to pop culture…)


Fisk made sense to me and I hadn’t read any of the flavor behind him. He’s a buisinessman who runs to mess with his competitors and his ability (reinforced by the card art on FIS, I love Howard’s face there) represents ‘helping’ them in ways that aren’t to their advantage. (How exactly this works is less clear, both flavor wise and actually in the game.)


Oh awesome more more more more more.

I think DaVinci may actually be pretty straightforward. It’s less like SMC than Savoir Faire with a splash of Technical Writer. SMC does all the coding itself. With DaVinci you have to know the code, DV just compiles and installs it for you. (Here I may be cribbing a bit from Why I Run.)

edit: Plus, of course, it also works on hardware, gene treatments, nightclubs, and people. Um. I guess the main thing I was going for before neglecting that crucial detail is that it’s a predictive helper algorithm like Savoir Faire, and it just generally becomes smarter and better connected as it spends more time snooping around corporate servers. You don’t need to handwave away any retroactivity; either it knows what you need better than you do, or it’s just getting increasingly good at procuring anything.

I’m not even gonna try with Bookmark, except for the art, which I interpreted as some kind of Augmented Reality deal. Like, that big glowy in-your-face thing isn’t the hardware itself, but rather your virt’s “Mount External Storage” icon.


The reason DDOS is Anarch (to my mind) is that it’s chaotic, unsubtle, and kinda democratized.

Can you see Gabe, professional thief that he is, doing the virtual equivalent of throwing meat at the enemy until they run out of bullets? It’s to wasteful, to crude, to confrontational.

Criminals are sneaky gits, and Anarchs just don’t give a fuck.


Ah but, see, I think this is a product of how the media now in our universe portrays DDoS incidents. We only hear about them when Anonymous uses them to deface a website, or when they do something big like the HBGary thing (mostly out of spite).

Truly, the majority of DDoS attempts along with those who set up and seed and control those botnets in the first place, are true criminals. They do it so they can break into servers, and exploit holes in the code, and get into banks and steal money, or steal identities and masquerade as other people for their own ends - all anonymously because the attack is coming from everywhere that isn’t them. To exploit password dumps and steal accounts and then sell them for money. This is the stuff of criminals, and, I think, the traditional use of botnets and DDoS. The stuff we don’t often hear about.

So yes, I definitely could see Gabe doing that. He would use precisely the right tool for the job and in some cases that may well be DDoS when it turns out that the server is vulnerable to one.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, have a look at the flavour on http://netrunnerdb.com/en/card/05038


There is a parallel universe where DDoS was a Criminal card, and everyone is sad.


I see where you’re coming from in terms of the applications of DDoS being (potentially) very crim, but I agree with crossbrainedfool about the method being “chaotic, unsubtle, and kinda democratized.” Sure, criminals can use it to make money, just as anarchs can use sneakdoor for a Bhagat run. But the sneakdoor itself is not very anarch.

And yes, Express uses zombies too, but if he’s making them one library computer at a time, it’s surely for something subtler and more precise–as befits criminal–than Noise’s horde. But the “in some cases, this is the best tool for the job, therefore crim” argument seems like it would make all cards blue. After all, nonsucky fracters are surely also the right tool for a lot of jobs, when are we getting some of those?


Ah, the “best tool” thing was more just countering the notion that Gabe, for example, would never use a DDoS. My argument isn’t that “best tool” immediately implies criminal - my argument is that specifically a DDoS, and what is required to carry out a DDoS (not to mention the mechanics of this particular DDoS in-game) all scream criminal to me.

I mean, I’m not sure where this idea that a DDoS is chaotic came from? It looks chaotic to the person under attack, but otherwise these botnets are cultivated by those who keep them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you can pay for the use of someone’s botnet and direct it at a specific target usually for the profit of the botnet owner, and the one buying the time. I mean, see http://www.forbes.com/sites/eliseackerman/2012/05/19/i-run-a-small-botnet-and-sell-stolen-information-ask-me-anything/#3eefda726371 (and source https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/sq7cy/iama_a_malware_coder_and_botnet_operator_ama/ ).

I’ll grant that it’s not subtle in intention sure, but I don’t think I can grant democratized.

EDIT: I should clarify that I can definitely see and understand the argument for an Anarch card called ‘DDoS’, and I understand why the groupthink could points us to a DDoS being inherently anarch. However, I think that card would have to look different mechanically.
To steal the thought from my co-author - “Anarchs pay alternative costs and suffer the consequences, they don’t avoid the problem” - so maybe something along the lines of
"Trash: Prevent all “End The Run” subroutines on the outermost piece of ice on any server for the remainder of the turn" or “Trash: For the rest of the turn, when making a run on any server bypass the outermost piece of ice. You encounter this ice after the run is completed” (though this is weirder for other reasons)


you summed up my feelings exactly; while the digital work of a botnet might be democratized, the human element is singular and often completely professional (albeit, y’know… criminal).

The articles you link are great examples of the truth of this type of attack: They are almost exclusively enterprise-for-hire type operations, and almost never the creation of lone whackjobs or activists, and they are almost never hastily abandoned by their creators after a single use. The fact that the card self trashes seems to intrinsically imply “horde for hire” to me (otherwise, why did the lone auteur hacker abandon their creation so hastily?), and anytime money is changing hands to enable more money to be made… well that’s your whole blue faction right there.

I can see this card being put into anarch, but in my mind it would be more of a re-usable tool, a pet project that perpetually softens servers before an attack. Maybe something along the lines of an installable reina or somesuch (which, I know, that’s xanadu already, but you get my point. I’m not trying to design new orange cards here).