[RPG] Can AR decking be better than cold-sim VR

shadowrun-sr5

Reading the matrix rules, I'm rather surprised to see that when you use AR, you use physical initiative rather than Matrix initiative. So that means that if I've got wired reflexes (or its magical equivalent) and high Reaction, I might be better off decking with AR (which is suppsedly more distant and less immersive) than with cold-sim VR. And as a bonus, I'm protected against biofeedback. (Hot-sim VR still has the +2 dice pool bonus, so that at least provides some advantage over AR + wired reflexes.)

Is this correct? Isn't this rather odd? And how do other GMs handle this?

Answer: The (hopefully) correct answer is in the comments of the accepted answer: Wired Reflexes and other initiative boosters don't simply boost your physical initiative, they boost your initiative, so you get the bonus even in VR, while rigging, and possibly even in astral space.

Best Answer

Yes, it's totally correct.

It seems odd but simply because we don't picture a decker with an expansive augmentation and a deck. Not only you could make a decker with Wired reflexes and be really quick and avoid biofeedback, but why not be an Adept Decker? It is entirely possible and supported by RAW. Remember that wired reflexes add to your initiative. Not specifically to the Matrix Initiative, or Physical Initiative..it adds to all of them. The maximum you can roll is always 5d6 though.

The advantage of what you could call the traditional way is performance for the nuyen is better. Being a good decker requires a powerful (and expansive) cyberdeck and a DNI. Which usually requires having Priority A in resources (at least B). If you add wired reflexes, you're left with just enough to afford an average deck. And then the irony is you haven't pay your life style yet so you are a 400k walking beast with a super computer in his pocket who lives in a box in the street of Seattle.

Yes, the biofeedback can hurt you. Bullets are usually dangerous too. While you are in AR in the middle of the battlefield the GM can add a -2 penalty to every action you do because you're distracted.

In the end, in a cybercombat duel, I'd put money on the VR Decker with a good cyberdeck and skills rather than the guy with wired reflexes.