[RPG] How to deal with a Technomancer who uses a *lot* of sprites


We have a Technomancer in our party who has a bunch of registered sprites. When something interesting happens – let's say the characters fight some attackers off and send them running away – he simply unleashes all of his sprites to continue hacking the attackers, tracing them, etc. This can end up with 2-3 sprites off doing various things at once.

With Spirits this isn't so much of a problem – you can't send a Spirit to keep attacking someone as they drive down the freeway, as it's really obvious to observers what's going on, and there's a chance the spirit could get traced back to you. But with Sprites there's no such built-in limitation.

I don't have a problem with sending a single sprite after someone, but sending 2-3 just seems silly. On the other hand, I can't think of a reason why a Technomancer wouldn't do exactly that – there's plenty of downtime between games to register new services.

Is there an in-game reason for why a Technomancer wouldn't do this? And is there a better out-of-game way to handle it than just making a couple of dice rolls (Sprite's rating vs defenders skill, for example) to determine what happens? I don't want to tie up the rest of the players in a long matrix battle they aren't even there for…

Best Answer

Technomancers are powerful for three reasons: compiling new Complex Forms, overclocking existing Complex Forms on the fly, and sprites. Take a look at a Technomancer next to a pure hacker at character gen. Hacker's going to win the hack game every time. A TM needs to spend massive amounts of points into being good, because their abilities are spread out between complex forms and skills in both Registering and Computer related skills, where a hacker only needs Computer and Hacking. Because of this focus for hackers, though, TM's can specialize in getting a lot of little guys to do their job for them. But there are few things most TM's that start out don't realize about sprites that they get hosed on otherwise.

1.) Hackers can do this too!

I have a rigger that, more often then not, has to do four or five things at once. I can't expect my rolls to always be cracking enemy systems. I have to download that data, keep watch for new icons, protect my drones, ect. That's why Agents are there. In 3rd Edition, we had agents as well (can't remember what their names were) that were packaged programs that ran and did stuff for us. An agent counts as one program running on your system and can have multiple types of programs suite'd into them. The easiest example is an Anti-Virus scan. That's going to have a Analyze program, maybe a Scan program, and a Decrypt or Defuse program, in case of data bombs. You start that sucker up on your commlink and it goes to work protecting your stuff while you continue to work. Same as a sprite. And you can do this for much cheaper, again, then a TM can. A TM has to invest time and effort at it. You just have to drop some cred at the local Kong-Walmart and you got yourself the latest in Anti-Punk protection. And there is no harsh limit to the number of agents you can have running (it's measured by double your Response, but it's hard to hit that limit). At that point, agents are basically IC, and TM's and sprites have to deal with them accordingly if they want to ruin your day.

2.) Resonance leaves as much of a trail as hacking and astral magic does.

I don't know if this is full canon, but it makes sense to me. Each TM has Resonance. That means they are in tune with the Matrix realm. Now, while a hacker doesn't understand what Resonance is, that doesn't mean they can't see it. A glitch in a data stream, a tell-tail sign of icons being colored pink, maybe a small sound they can't stop hearing when looking at a data trail. A TM knows what this is without looking at it, but a hacker doesn't. A TM summoned that sprite, so it has some connection to him. A Trace program or similar tool can, with time and effort, find them the same as a hacker. If it's not by the rules, I don't see why it wouldn't be. TM's are very easy to pick out in crowds when you look close enough at their signature. Their icons just look too perfect, as if the Matrix conformed to them rather then the other way around. Because of this, they can be traced.

3.) You're not the only Technomancer around

TM's are not common, no. But thanks to Deus and a large number of Otaku back in the 2060's, we have a budding generation of wireless data heads running around the world. Anyone can be a TM. Your lunch lady, the guy that feeds the birds in the park, you. Anyone. Because of that, you're not alone. And this is a double edged sword. As a TM, you have other people that can do what you can do. You can learn from them. Or, you can get burned from them. And think of the Corp think. You think that the Big Ten won't capitalize on this? Hell, if they find someone that can do simple parlor tricks with mana in their enclave, they 'strongly suggest' them to go to magical schools. You bet your ass they're going to run TM's in their corp buildings. TM's are adaptable and can break or secure systems in ways Hackers have trouble accomplishing. They can move in and out of wireless systems with ease and can command drones all over the damn place without needing hardware.

4.) Remote services are your friend

This goes with number three, but if other TM's are out there...what's to say that the guy you're following doesn't have a sprite on a remote service? Mages do this too, with loaning out a spirit to protect someone. They give the spirit a command and say "Hey...make sure this dude is still breathing". Anything a spirit can do, a sprite can mimic. And that goes for remote services.

There are a lot of ways to get around TM's. Don't think they're the God Mode of hacking. They are just a different flavor of hacking. And while a TM will, ultimately, surpass a hacker by leaps and bounds if given enough Karma, it doesn't mean they are unstoppable.

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