I want to be a Netrunner

Jun 30, 2010
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CyberPunk 2020 had some pretty interesting net-runner rules. I like them but as part of a group, a single netrunner, just didn’t mesh well in the setting within the group I played. The system overall was decent but tedious. Character construction was lengthy and the combat system seemed overly involved. The lack of instantaneous death made it feel like people could play walking tanks. My players did.

Back to Net Runners. Times have changed quite a bit. The ‘Net isn’t quite as evolved as the game stated but the prediction of attacks, hacking and internetwork connectivity is growing. War is evolving from a front line, metal on flesh situation to network based attacks on infrastructure. If you can win a war by disabling critical infrastructure, why bother with the meat and metal?

Most current penetrations are nothing more than taking over your parent’s computer and adding it to a bot net. Multiply that by thousands and you have massive computational horsepower at your disposal. Not just for sending and receiving messages for a DoS attack but for anything you have in mind. Breaking crypto. Hiding your network identity. What if they get sophisticated and use massively parallel, non centralized algorithms? It may be already happening.

No computer on the ‘Net is safe. I don’t care what operating system, browser, or protection scheme you choose. Everything is exploitable given sufficient effort. Vile sounding isn’t it?

To me, it screams game but not a traditional RPG. The MMOG model fits much better than table based. If the mechanics were codified and published, could you provide a completely defensible node on the Internet? How about a team of experts attempting to do the same? Toss in Zero-Day exploits you cannot overcome is the rest of your network up to the challenge? Would you try? Or hire the service out?

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