More data on Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics

Re-reading Gibson.
If you want to play ICE like Bill, keep the following quotes from Neuromancer in mind:

With his deck waiting, back in the loft, an Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7.  They’d left the place littered with the abstract white forms of the foam packing units, with crumpled plastic film and hundreds of tiny foam beads. The Ono-Sendai; next year’s most expensive Hosaka computer; a Sony monitor; a dozen disks of corporate-grade ice; a Braun coffee maker. 

See? So my obsession with cassettepunk is pretty much spot-on. Ice on disks… how on earth can something as powerful and dangerous as ice fit on twelve disks? Simple. Here’s the reason:

“Just thinking out loud . . . How smart’s an Al, Case?”
“Depends. Some aren’t much smarter than dogs. Pets. Cost a fortune anyway. The real smart ones are as smart as the Turing heat is willing to let ’em get.”
“Look, you’re a cowboy. How come you aren’t just flat-out fascinated with those things?”
“Well,” he said, “for starts, they’re rare. Most of them are military, the bright ones, and we can’t crack the ice. That’s where ice all comes from, you know? (…)

“You got it. Corporate core data for Tessier-Ashpool S.A., and that ice is generated by their two friendly Al’s. On par with anything in the military sector, looks to me. That’s king hell ice, Case, black as the grave and slick as glass. Fry your brain soon as look at you. We get any closer now, it’ll have tracers up our ass and out both ears, be tellin’ the boys in the T-A boardroom the size of your shoes and how long your dick” 

Ice is made by Artificial Intelligences. But it gets better:

Case sighed. “Well, I got a user-friendly Chinese icebreaker here, a one shot cassette. Some people in Frankfurt say it’ll cut an Al.” 

Ice on cassettes. Of course. I know Godfather Gibson probably didn’t mean it that way, but that’s my selective interpretation of the source.

And ice can be brute force, or really sneaky:

“I did, once. Just an idea, back then. But that’s what ol’ Kuang’s all about. This ain’t bore and inject, it’s more like we interface with the ice so slow, the ice doesn’t feel it. The face of the Kuang logics kinda sleazes up to the target and mutates, so it gets to be exactly like the ice fabric. Then we lock on and the main programs cut in, start talking circles ’round the logics in the ice. We go Siamese twin on ’em before they even get restless.” 

Another fun fact: You don’t read dozens and dozens of brand names for ice. We know Gibson loves doing that, but NOT for ice, and icebreakers. Ice is monolithic, off-the-shelf, illegal drek hot shit, and so are icebreakers.

Which brings me to a conclusion:

In my cassettepunk Shadowrun games, I won’t be using any brand names for ice, not even different kinds of ice, as both Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2013/2020/3/Red are doing. Breaking or melting ice will be a single die roll, or, if it’s really tough, several dice rolls. The hacker/decker MUST be successful in every single roll, or the ice will do horrible things to him and/or his deck.

Time for an automated random table:

FKR Shadowrun: freeform decking, made interesting

My Shadowrun is the setting of the first edition. It’s cassettepunk. It’s the future as seen on 80s television. And it’s FKR, super minimal rulings.

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.

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.

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: