Matrix Rules

The Hacker

The Hacker’s arsenal includes a computer, specialized hacking software, and, foremost, a way to connect to a remote target computer, usually via the Net though direct connections, however unwise, can be made. A Hacker’s access to the Net is very important. To connect to the Net, the Hacker must have an LDL. LDLs are purchased from a Matrix Service Provider, though they, too, can be hacked. Connections between computers are relatively easy to trace. Each computer connection has a corresponding Trace Value from 1 to 10. Hackers generally make a chain of several connections before they proceed to their target computer. A SysAdmin wishing to trace the ultimate origin of the Hacker must trace every connection to find the source.

The SysAdmin

The SysAdmin is in charge of security for a Dataserver/Datafortress. It is their primary job to prevent Hackers from illegally gaining unauthorized access to restricted data. It is their secondary job to catch hackers who have already have. SysAdmins use their own computers connected to a Dataserver/Datafortress to execute software applications. The Dataserver/Datafortress itself uses software such as Codegates, Datawalls, and Detection software deter and identify hackers, yet allow authorized users in.

Deck Sheet

  • Make: Who made your deck.
  • Model: The model or type of deck. Most makers have more than one type.
  • Type: Type of interface jack used (can have more than one).
    • Gloves and Goggles (VR)
    • Datajack Cabled (C),
    • Wireless Datajack (W)
  • Power: How much muscle your deck has. This determines what kind of softs the deck can run. Rated between 1 & 5
  • Speed: How fast your deck can load and execute softs. Rated between 1 & 5.
  • Resilience: How resistant to intrusions and attack the hardware is. Rated between 1 & 5.
  • Codegate: The software level security. This protect your computer from external intrusion. Rated between 1 & 5. There is only one codegate.
  • Datawall: An additional protective layer around files, folders or databases internally. Rated 1 & 5. There are often multiple datawalls with in a deck or datafortress.
    • Datawall Strength (Resilience + Datawall)
    • Codegate Strength (Resilience + Codegate)
    • Deck Speed (Power + Speed)


Option Modification Notes
Outdated Gear -1 Your gear is old or out of date
Video Board & Voxbox If used with an assistant +1 die to all rolls.
VR Gym +1 die to all rolls Gloves and Goggles only.
HB Datajack -1 die to all difficulties -

Deck Types

  • Standard: These are your run of the mill out of the box cyberdecks. They generally have a power level between 1 and 2. Corporate issues may have a power rating of 3 but this is uncommon. They can run basic Stealth and Decryption programs but are unable to run anything else.
  • Combat: These decks are issued to SysAdmins protecting Datafortresses. They commonly have a power rating between 3 and 5, but sometimes higher. Combat decks are fast, agile and are able to run virtually anything needed. While somewhat limited in power, the Combat deck is high resilient to attack and virtually bug proof.
  • Custom: A modified combat deck or a custom build deck. It's power is usually no less than 4 and has a number of special features that make it unique. The only problem with custom decks is that they tend to be glitchy or burn out from running so hot.

Standard Consumer Decks

Make Model Type Jack Pow Spe Res Codegate Datawall Price
Madrigal Sensory Laboratories MSL "Prism" Standard VR/C/W 3 2 2 2 2 250
Sleek, black, and boxy, this cyberdeck is housed in a grooved black chassis constructed of some sort of steel alloy. The exterior of the device is practically featureless; only a datajack port and the Madrigal Sensory Laboratories logo are visible on its exterior. When a neural feed with the deck is established, however, a flap on the surface of the deck opens, revealing an attractive display of various connection statistics.
Pixel FPI "Pixellia" Standard VR/C/W 1 2 1 1 1 50
This plastic, electric-yellow box with rounded corners and large, simplistically labelled interfaces seems to have been made with a child in mind. Roughly the same dimensions as a trade paperpack, its cover has been adorned with a number of bright and cartoonish stickers, depicting smiling robots and easily-legible datapaths. A single neural interface plug, surrounded by concentric rings reminiscent of an archery target, encompasses the entire face of the deck.


Make Model Type Jack Pow Spe Res Codegate Datawall Price
Tanizaki "Phoenix" Combat W 5 4 5 5 5 3,000
Roughly the same size and shape as a thick frisbee, the "Phoenix" is anomalously constructed, even for a cyberdeck. A single plug for a neural jack rests in the exact center of the device, surrounded by a few rings of kanji script. The chasis itself is unfinished steel, rimmed by a thick strip of shock-resistant black plastic. The deck-statistics and a few status readouts are displayed on the underside of the device. Tanizaki's decks are the newest on the market and have made use of recent refinements in deckhardware to make powerful, agile decks that can take a beating. The "Phoenix" is commonly used by Comsec's elite as their base for their custom decks.
Sjeffor Workshop "Professional" Standard M/W 5 5 3 3 5 9,000.99
Navy-blue fiberglass encases this miniature cyberdeck, no larger in breadth than a pack of cigarettes. A few lines of Finnish scroll out in an artful italic along the base of the chassis, but no other features adorn the surface of the deck besides the neural jack at its crown. A tiny flap on the bottom of the deck can be removed to replace its lithium power-core. The Workshop is the deck used by most professional Matrix programmers. t's called a workshop because the OS comes bundled with Sjeffor's unique program building virtual workshop. A must have for the truly elite It's power level classifies it as a combat deck, to use it as such would be like sending a highly trained intelligence operator to the front lines. It offers the power, speed and security needed to create code in today's fast-paced and dangerous world. It has a lean codegate because these decks are rarely used outside the virtual labs. A tough datawall was installed so that if intrusions do happen your code is protected.
Astrix WG "Zeus" Server Combat C/W 7 6 3 3 5 7,000
|The WG server is more of a mainframe with a cyberdeck interface. The console-unit is the size of several large refrigerators. Reclining seats, seemingly built into the mechanism itself, are oriented around maintenance readouts and arrays of neural jacks that have been engineered to produce virtually any known form of I/O. From the top of the console-unit, clusters of thick plastic pipes recede into the ceiling, suggestion that the unit may be more massive still than this mere segment suggests. This server is the tac-nuke of combat decks. The thing can toss lethal softs across long distance calls like Zeus from Olympus and fry any would be hacked on any continent. All that power comes with a price though. These consoles huge and their workings complex. Astrix is known for their complicated, inefficient hardware design and their greed. They are always rushing product to market before it's ready. Not only is it insecure but it tends to break down or turn on it's owners, but when it works, it's a wonder to behold.


Make Model Type Jack Pow Spe Res Codegate Datawall Price
Stimulus Stimulus "Series III" Custom VR/C/W 4 4 4 4 4 500
A large white plastic box, about one foot by one foot, upon which the logo of Stimulus Cybersystems has been stamped. Instructions for the operation of the cyberdeck within have been pasted to the exterior of the box, along with a friendly message that warns the user: SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.
Realities Amalgamated CraySys "Metropolis" Custom VR/C/W 4 4 4 5 4 6,000
Roughly the same size as a tie-box, this Realities Amalgamated construction is housed in a chrome chassis, on the surface of which is embossed a holographic RA logo. Two chipslots are available on the front of the device, both sessions of which can execute in simultaneously parallel. A tiny label affixed to the back of the device reminds the user that this deck is the property of the Corporation, and is not for public use or sale.
MASTER RS-T VR1 "Matrix-Master" Custom VR 2 3 1 1 1 1,000
More a collection of connected objects than a single unit, this Matrix interface system consists of a vast, bulky headset, a processor/drive unit, a pair of gloves that bristle with circuitry, and a slew of intertwined cables that connect the lot. The serial number and bar code on the side of the processor unit suggest that this model was manufactured shortly after the fall.

Upgrade List

Stat Increase =Y= Max
Power +1 200 x rating S/4 C/Cs 5
Speed +1 200 X rating S/4 C/Cs 5
Resilience +1 200 x rating S/4 C/Cs 5
Codegate +1 150 x rating S/4 C/Cs 5
*Datawall +1 100 x rating S/4 C/Cs 5
  • Datawalls are individually programmed and protect a specific partition. Improvement of one datawall does not improve another.


There are several different categories of software:

  • Decrypters - one of the two anti-ICE softs, decrypters deal with opening or breaking codegates.
  • Intrusion - the other white anti-ICE soft, intrusion softs are used once you get inside. They open or break into datawalls.
  • Stealth - required on any netrunning adventure, stealths attempt to hide you from the eyes of the System.
  • Shields - firewalls and other countermeasures that protect deck and user from the anti-personnel softs.
  • Anti-Personnel - deadly softs designed to attack either the deck itself, the deck's OS or the operator himself.

Example Software

Note: these are just examples of some of the software floating around the Matrix. Codegates get updated and data walls get stronger so softs is constantly customized or written anew.

Type (Name) Action Icon SysReq: Pow/Spe Cost
Decryption (Wizard’s Scroll) Power +2 to defeat codegates. Glowing parchment 3/2 200
Intrusion (Hammer) Pow +2 to defeat datawalls A rusty, household hammer 3/3 200
Stealth (Cloak) Spe +1 die against detection software. A black, plastic cloak 4/3 300
Shields (Lid) Res or Stamina +1 die against Anti-softs (non-lethal) A trashcan lid 2/2 100
Anti-Person (SciFi Pistol Power + 3 in damage to operator 50's chrome laser pistol 5/4 500


Utilities - Utilities are programs that help the Hacker in between runs. Though most don’t provide any practical application during the run, they’re nonetheless essential applications for the upkeep and preparation of a hacker’s computer.

Type (Name) Effect Icon Price
Restore Utility (ReRezz) Slowly restores destroyed programs. Red cross 130
Recorder Utility (Instant Replay) Records activities of current Hack for replay later. 180
Virus Protection Utility (Gatemaster) +1 diff on attacks against user's softs. Pink gem 150
File Protection Utility (Electrolock) Further protection to a datawall. Keypad Lock 200
-1 to speed while this program is running.
Compression Utility (Packer) Reduces program size by 1/2. Takes 2 turns to unpack. Compression machine. 140
Backup Utility (Backup) Creates copy of the contents of a harddrive. File cabinet 140
VR Map Utility (Cartographer) Supplies complete system map of VR interface. +3 dice on navigation in the Matrix. Sextant and chart 200
Utility Package A grab bag of the above in one package. Saves money. Brown paper box 1000

Steps in Cracking a Datafortress


Most jobs require research. This is like casing a house before a break-in. Research involves asking around or observing the Datafortress to determine strengths, weaknesses and the level of effort the job is going to require. This will also help you determine if you are going to need custom software to get the job done.

  • Roll: Intelligence + Research. Difficulty ranges from 4 (start-up) to 10 (Comsec) depending on the resources and security of the target.
    • Success: Each success on the roll gives you a single -1 to the difficulty on a single roll (one per success, they do not stack) on an other step in the cracking of the Datafortress OR can be traded to the ST for intel on the Datafortress (like are they using custom software, why have hits failed in the past). Keep in mind much of this research is time sensitive and is subject to change as technology is upgraded. Generally, hackers take about a month to do what they do, but sometimes jobs require more.
    • Failure: You get nothing. Try again next week.
    • Botch: Someone on the inside gets wind of what you are up to and the Datafortress makes changes in response or maybe you spill cola all over yourself and fat finger your notes. You have to start over from scratch.

Establishing An LDL Chain

  • LDL Trace Rating - Generally Hackers use a chain of remote server connections to interface with the target system. Once a chain of connections has been established, the Hacker may use the same chain indefinitely unless access is revoked by the remote server’s Net Access Provider. SysAdmins must trace each connection to determine the Hacker’s LDL and thereby his location. Sysadmins often revoke access to these remote servers in order to eject a Hacker from their system and establish a trace. Once access has been revoked, the Hacker must re-establish a new chain. As a general practice, SysAdmins revoke status as they discover links in the chains. While it doesn't offer much in the way of capture, any breakage in the chain disconnects the Hacker from the system. Teams of hackers often create multiple chains of protected links preventing SysAdmins from instantly disconnecting attackers. This requires a certain amount of organization however on the part of the hackers. The maintenance of this link is also why hackers often work in teams.
  • Roll: To create the chain, Intelligence + Hacking vs the server's Codegate. Two successes are required to create a link. Each link adds one to the Hacker's LDL Trace Rating. Ratings range from 1 to 10. A successful LDL chain means to trace you the System has to deal with your LDL rating in hops.
  • Tracing an LDL chain requires an Intelligence + Computer - the hacker's Cloaking software. Three successes are required to trace each link in the chain. Access can be revoked with a Intelligence + Computer vs 5. Unless they are actively guarded by other hackers LDL links are easy to revoke. Hackers often have "squires" or apprentices guarding the LDL chain.

Decryption Of the Codegate

First and foremost, the Hacker must get authenticated access to the Datafortress.

  • Roll: Power + Decryption vs the System's Codegate. Number of successes is determined by the datafortress' Elegance rating.
    • Success: the Hacker has fooled the Code Gate into allowing unauthorized access to the server.
      • The Hacker is still susceptible to Detection software, however. For successes gained above the Elegance rating of the datafortress, the Hacker gains a round of detection free hacking time. These success determine how often the detection software will examine his login. So if the the hacker rolled 2 successes above and beyond what he needed, he would have 2 rounds to locate and extract the data before the detection protocols re-examined his credentials. If it takes him longer than two rounds he may have to take further anti-detection measures.
    • Failure: the Hacker still has no access to the server. He may of course try again. Repeated failed attempts will cause any Detection Software to alert the SysAdmin to the attempt who may use Detection software to initiate a trace to locate and/or monitor the possible Hacker.
    • Botch: Something terrible has gone wrong. Either he has been detected, he's contracted a virus or his LDL chain has been unknowingly traced.

Datawall Intrusion

Once authenticated the hacker may now attempt to locate and extract the data or information he is seeking from the server.

  • Roll: Intelligence + Computer vs 7 (modify as needed). The number of successes required is determined by the type of data sought.
    • Success: you located the data.
    • Failure: you couldn't find it. Roll again at +1.
    • Botch: You've been detected. Roll anti-detection measures.
Successes Data

|3||Inter-Office Memos (E-Mail)||

5 Promotional Material(such as VR advertising sims and Web Pages)
7 Business Records
9 Financial Transactions
11 Grey Ops
15 Black Ops

Once the data has been located the hacker now has to enter the Datawall to extract the data.

  • Roll: Power + Intrusion vs. Datawall.
    • Success: The number of successes required to clear the Datawall varies from system to system and is up to the storyteller. It's usually determined by the type of data (see below for a good rule of thumb.) Once the Datawall has been cleared the information within is now for the hacker's taking. Keep in mind that there are often multiple Datawalls in any given system so you may have to make more than one intrusion roll.
    • Failure: If unnoticed, try again. If noticed, either a SysAdmin or an Anti-Personnel Program has been notified of the Hacker’s presence and will attempt to apprehend or discourage him, proceed to Combat!
    • Botch: You've been caught. Time to dump and run.

The Take

Once inside, you have free access to the data. You can destroy it, sabotage, steal it, copy it or make changes to it. Keep in mind that copying the total email for the last 10 years may slow things down so a smart hacker will want to be strategic in how he approaches this.

Getting Out

  1. Cover your tracks. Failing to log off or being cut from the line means that the SysAdmin can still trace your location. Be sure to always log off properly. View the contents of any file you download, but be wary of the filehistory: don’t dilute your data!

If you have gotten this far and the data stashed or crashed, getting out is easy, you merely disconnect your LDL chain and your free to go. Doing so will trip the detection and the System will know someone has intruded (and thus investigate and make changes). If you wish to "log out" you can roll an Intelligence + Computer vs 6. Only one successes is required, but failure will provoke a detection contest. Botching means you've screwed up and have been detected. Combat!

Detection and Counter Detection

The Datafortress and/or Sysadmin roll to notice intrusions in the system.

  • Roll: The System rolls Intelligence + Computer while the Hacker rolls Power + Stealth. The first to get 3 or more successes over the other wins the contest. If there is a tie, the tie is broken by the deck speed. Keep in mind that System may have more than one operative searching at one time.
    • If the Hacker wins/System Fails: the Detection Software has detected no unauthorized activity but may attempt to re-validate the user after an interval of time.
    • If the Hacker fails/System Wins: the Detection Program has detected unauthorized activity. Proceed to combat.
    • If the System Botches: the detection software believes the Hacker is an authenticated user and will not attempt counter measures against for the scene unless the Hacker himself botches.
    • If the Hacker Botches: something really bad happens as determined by the ST.



Roll: Wits + Speed
Loser declares first, Winner acts first. Therefore, if the loser is launching an Anti-Personnel Program towards the intruder, the winner may either activate a suitable defense or take a chance and attack the loser first.

Combat Options

  • Anti-ICE Attack (Codegate) - An attack on a soft itself in order to corrupt it and render it unusable.
    • Roll: Speed + Computer vs the victim's Codegate.
      • Damage is rolled via Power + Anti-personnel. Each success wears down the victim's Codegate by one. Once the Codegate is down, the attacker can begin attacking the software or the user himself.
  • Anti-Personel Attack - This attack goes directly for the user's brain, sending a surge of deadly EMF waves over the Matrix to scrambles his brains.
    • Roll: Speed + Computer vs the diff determined by the soft.
      • Success: Damage is Power + Anti-personnel. It is soaked by Stamina + Resilience vs 6.
  • Anti-Soft- This attack targets the victim's software in order to corrupt it and render it non-functional.
    • Roll: Speed + Computer vs the diff determined by the soft.
      • Success: Damage is Power + Anti-software. It is soaked by the Datafortress vs 6. Each success reduces the Datafortress around the software
  • Anti-System Attack - This attack attempts to cripple the victim's hardware, sending a surge of deadly EMF waves over the Matrix to fry the deck.
    • Roll: Speed + Computer vs the diff determined by the soft.
      • Success: Damage is Power + Anti-system. It is soaked by the Computer + Resilience vs 6. Each success reduces the deck's Resilience by one. Once it reaches 0, the deck is non-functional.
  • LDL Trace - An attempt to trace the physical location of a Hacker and arrest him.
    • Roll: Wits + Computer - Stealth softs.
    • If successful, the Detection Software has located one link in the LDL chain and may shut it down. Generally, what is done is a link is located and only shut down once the next link is found. Clever Sysadmins often locate all the links and shut them down at once, depending on how much time they have. The last link will allow the Sysadmin to know the physical location of the Hacker and dispatch a Metsec team to arrest them.
    • Failure: If unsuccessful, the trace has failed. The Detection Program may attempt to trace a connection each round but at a +1.
    • Botch: The Sysadmin has made a huge mistake and may not trace the LDL chain again this scene.

Standard Datafortresses

Datafortresses have the following attributes:

  • Detection: number of "passive" dice the System has to detect intrusions.
  • Codegate: how hard it is to enter the System.
  • Datwalls: the range of strengths of the datawalls with in.
  • Elegance: how well put together the system is. This determines how careful a hacker has to be when hacking your system.
  • Mundane Systems - These systems generally have one professional System Admin and a small team of underlings to assist. They may have a contract with Comsec but are considered unimportant and expendable.
    • Detection Soft: 4
    • Codegate: 3
    • Datawalls: 1-5
    • Elegance: 2
  • Grey Systems
    • Detection: 5
    • Codegate: 4
    • Datawalls: 3-7
    • Elegance: 4
  • Black Systems

Detection (Strength 4, MU 5, $720)
Anti-System (Strength 3, MU 2, $570) Grey Systems Only
Anti-Personnel (Strength 4, MU 4, $6750) Black Systems Only
Total (MU 11, $8040)
Sample Computers
1 - Minor business or personal system (grey info)
Statistics: POW 1 (1 CPU, -2 POW) , MU 40, Speed 0, $4000
Example: DataTerms, Minor Personal Information, Palmtops, Portable Computers.
2 - Major business (grey info) or personal system (black info)
Statistics: POW 3 (1 CPU), MU 40, Speed 3, $16,000
Example: Business Accounts, Secret Personal Information
3 - Major business (black info) or Megacorp system (grey info)
Statistics: POW 6 (2 CPU), MU 80, Speed 6, $32,000
Example: Alternative Accounts, Customer Sales Information
4 - Government (grey info), Megacorp (black info) or Criminal system (grey info)
Statistics: POW 9 (3 CPU), MU 120, Speed 9, $48,000
Example: Police Files, Sabotage Information, Holdings Information
5 - Government (black info), Orbital (grey info), or Criminal system (black info)
Statistics: POW 10 (4 CPU, -2 POW), MU 160, Speed 10, $54,000
Example: Black Op Files, Internet Account Holders, Face Bank Accounts
6 - Orbital system (black info)
Statistics: POW 12 (4 CPU), MU 160, Speed 12, $64,000
Example: Agora Mecca, Cyber Circle Lunar, Ishima Orbital Databases, Artificial Intelligences.

Standard Datafortress Software

  • - Mundane Systems
    • Detection (Strength 4, MU 5, $720)
    • Total (MU5, $720)
  • - Grey Systems
    • Detection (Strength 4, MU 5, $720)
    • Anti-System (Strength 3, MU 2, $570)
    • Grey Systems Only Total (MU 7, $1290)
  • Black Systems
    • Detection (Strength 4, MU 5, $720)
    • Anti-System (Strength 3, MU 2, $570)
    • Grey Systems Only Anti-Personnel (Strength 4, MU 4, $6750)
    • Black Systems Only Total (MU 11, $8040)

Example Datafortress Ratings

  • 1 -Minor business or personal system (grey info)
    • Statistics: Power 2 Speed 2, Resilience 2 Codegate: 2 Datawall 2 $4000
    • Software:
    • Example: DataTerms, Minor Personal Information, Palmtops, Portable Computers.
  • 2 - Major business (grey info) or personal system (black info)
    • Statistics: Power 3 Speed 3 Resilience 3 Codegate 3 Datawall 3 $16,000
    • Example: Business Accounts, Secret Personal Information
  • 3 - Major business (black info) or Megacorp system (grey info)
    • Statistics: POW 5 Speed 5 Resilience 4 Codegate 4 Datawall 4 $32,000
    • Example: Alternative Accounts, Customer Sales Information
  • 4 - Government (grey info), Megacorp (black info) or Criminal system (grey info)
    • Statistics: Power 6 Speed 5 Resilience 5 Codegate 5 Datawall 5 $48,000
    • Example: Police Files, Sabotage Information, Holdings Information
  • 5 - Government (black info), Orbital (grey info), or Criminal system (black info)
    • Statistics: Power 7 Speed 6 Resilience 6 Codegate 5 Datawall 6 $54,000
    • Example: Black Op Files, Internet Account Holders, Face Bank Accounts
  • 6 - Orbital system (black info)
    • Statistics: Power 8 Speed 9 Resilience 8 Codegate 6 Datawall 8 $64,000
    • Example: Agora Mecca, Cyber Circle Lunar, Ishima Orbital Databases, Artificial Intelligences.