[RPG] Is it unrealistic not to bring a decker / hacker to shadow runs


I'm going to host a Shadowrun game soon (have played a bit before, ages ago). It is going to be a second RPG alongside our regular group so we want to keep the time to get into the matter very low. Because of that I tend to not allow decker.

In a world so dependent on computer technology and the matrix I have some doubts if it is realistic to not bring any to the "average" shadowrun (entry game runs) though. I thought about a decker NPC but I'm not really satisfied – the group shouldn't rely on a single character whose actions and successes are determined by the GM. I also want to avoid including them on the opposition side too much.

How to solve this? More classic defense lines such as wired fences that can set off an alarm but do not require hacking? Cameras that simply record and are not observed live (sounds a bit ancient)?

For context: We play the third edition.

Best Answer

I think deckers are like rogues in D&D. You can live without them, but your life is much easier with one. In my group right now I have 2 Street Sams and a Healing Mage. They use contacts and pay people to erase footage and digital evidence but eventually they could need a hacker. In that situation you do what most shadowrunners do: you hire.

You can make an NPC available for a cut and have the decking moments be short but dramatic and useful to the story. You don't have to actually roll anything. Just streamline the hacking parts and have the decker say: "F*ck, I made a mistake. It will take time and guards are coming." Use the NPC decker to create rhythm and tension. Make him useful but in a realistic way. You can roll the dice if you want but you don't have to — you're the GM.

That's what I plan to do if my players try to find a decker.