The NAME of the ICE is all I have. Its function isn’t predetermined. I prefer it that way because it leaves room for creativity.
How do I make decking (“hacking” in other cyberpunk games) make interesting?
I use random tables. Tables are your friend, especially in freeform games.
In my game, I’m using my ICE generator table:
And then, I simply drop a few dice on a sheet of paper:
Now I take a pen and group the dice together. That’s purely intuitive.
The circles are computer sub-systems, or something. Each sub-system has to be hacked into seperately. Once you’ve hacked into a sub-system, you have access to its contents.
There is ICE. There’s always ICE…
So what I do is, I look at what ICE I rolled… for instance, this:
…and then I compare the numbers I rolled on the dice with the the numbers I rolled on my ICE table.
That way, I get an assortment of ICE that might be present in the sub-system:
In my Shadowrun, White ICE checks your identity and alerts other ICE or sysads, Gray ICE attacks your cyberdecks and utilities, and tries to crash or destroy stuff, and Black ICE attacks your mind and body directly, trying to kill you or fry your brain.
So, taking a look at the ICE present in the sub-systems, I (hopefully) come up with some ideas of how they work:
The Medium-strength gray Flip Flop in the top circle: It’s medium strength, so I roll 2d6 vs. your 2d6. It quits and reboots ALL of your running software repeatedly, trying to overload your deck. I’ll also roll a d6, and a 1 indicates that the Flip Flop destroys a piece of software or hardware.
The Very Strong gray Probe in the circle on the left: It’s very strong because I rolled two sixes. I’ll roll 2d6+3 against your 2d6. This Probe does indeed, remove tiny pieces of code (a few zeroes here, a few ones there) from your active software, thus crashing it.
The Medium-strength Solar Flare ICE in the circle on the right: I’ll roll 2d6 vs. your 2d6. This Solar Flare tries to blind your deck and software by reducing the system’s signature very rapidly. Don’t ask me what that means technically. I just imagine all the visuals getting brighter and brighter, in a fraction of a second. It might even fry a chip or two on your deck: 1 on a d6.
The Mil-grade Sparker ICE in the same circle: Uh-oh, military grade. If you don’t roll a 12 on your 2d6, it’s got you. Sparker overheats your deck by sending massive amounts of requests. It’ll fry a component or two of your deck if I roll a 1 or 2.
So, my final system map looks like this: