- Technomancers also have the ability to create semi-autonomous
entities out of the fabric of the Matrix—digital creatures that answer to the technomancer’s beck and call. These sprites are viewed as pets or unusual virtual friends by some technomancers, while others view them as spirits of the machine. Hackers and other Matrix specialists are at a loss to explain the true nature of these constructs; to most analyses they seem to be unusual and complex programs that form out of nothing. Sprite icons range from the cute and animated to bizarre and esoteric designs.
- Like agents, a sprite’s datatrail also connects back to the technomancer’s
Technomancers maintain a mental link with their sprites as long as they remain online. This link allows them to communicate through the Matrix and send text, images, files, etc. For this reason, a technomancer will know if a sprite is destroyed, as the mental link will cease to function. If a technomancer loses his connection to the Matrix, however, he loses contact with his sprites. In this case, the sprites continue to operate. If the technomancer comes back online, he must make a Resonance + Intuition (3) Test to regain the mental link to the sprite.
Technomancers also have the ability to create semi-autonomous entities out of the fabric of the Matrix—digital creatures that answer to the technomancer’s beck and call. These sprites are viewed as pets or unusual virtual friends by some technomancers, while others view them as spirits of the machine. Hackers and other Matrix specialists are at a loss to explain the true nature of these constructs; to most analyses they seem to be unusual and complex programs that form out of nothing. Sprite icons range from the cute and animated to bizarre and esoteric designs. In game terms, sprites are very similar to agents (p. 227). Each sprite has a rating that is equivalent to the Pilot rating on an agent. For more details on the five types of sprites technomancers may compile, see p. 236.
To create a sprite, the technomancer first chooses the type of sprite (see Types of Sprites, p. 236) and the rating he wants for the sprite. He then expends a Complex Action. Compiling the sprite is an Opposed Test, pitting the technomancer’s Resonance + Compiling against the sprite’s rating. Each net hit scored by the technomancer allows him to demand one task from the sprite. A technomancer can only have one unregistered sprite in his service at a time; if he wants more, he needs to script a sprite for longer service (see Registering Sprites, p. 235). Compiling sprites is a draining task; technomancers suffer the effects of fading (p. 237) each time they compile one.
Sprites can be asked to undertake jobs referred to as tasks. A task is continuous service the technomancer asks, cajoles, or demands from the sprite. The number of tasks owed by the sprite depends on the number of hits gained by the technomancer on his Compiling Test. Sprites will perform the tasks they owe for up to 8 hours or until they complete all tasks. After 8 hours, sprites de-rez and fade away to static, no matter how many tasks they still owe. The only way to keep a sprite around for longer is to task it (see Registering Sprites). Sprites will only take tasks from the technomancer who compiled them, unless another technomancer spoofs an order (see Spoof Command, p. 224). Note that sprites are not vulnerable to spoofed orders from hackers—hackers simply can’t imprint their orders with Resonance like technomancers can. Like agents, a sprite’s datatrail also connects back to the technomancer’s datatrail. Continual use of a specific power, whether on a single target of group, counts as only one task. If the parameters of a task are changed, another task is used. Engaging opponents in cybercombat only counts as one task, regardless of the number of foes involved. Sprites must remain with the technomancer. If the technomancer leaves them behind in a node or loses online access, the sprite fades away until the technomancer calls them back. Sprites can be temporarily dismissed at any time and called back at a later point (within that 8-hour period); both requiring a Simple Action. Sprites can only access other nodes if they are accompanying or called by the technomancer, or if they are sent on a remote task. Remote Tasks: Sprites can be instructed to undertake a remote task in another node, sent to operate away from the technomancer. The sprite can only access public nodes or private nodes that it either has the passcodes to or can hack its way into with an Exploit complex form. Remote tasks forfeit any other tasks the sprite owes. Sprite-Technomancer Link Technomancers maintain a mental link with their sprites as long as they remain online. This link allows them to communicate through the Matrix and send text, images, files, etc. For this reason, a technomancer will know if a sprite is destroyed, as the mental link will cease to function. If a technomancer loses his connection to the Matrix, however, he loses contact with his sprites. In this case, the sprites continue to operate. If the technomancer comes back online, he must make a Resonance + Intuition (3) Test to regain the mental link to the sprite.
Registering is the method of compelling long-term tasks from a sprite. To register a sprite, the technomancer must enter into an uninterrupted full-VR “meditation” session with the sprite, disconnecting himself from all other peripherals. Registering requires a number of hours equal to the rating of the sprite. At the end of the procedure, the technomancer makes an Opposed Test pitting his Resonance + Registering against the sprite’s rating x 2. The technomancer needs 1 net hit to register the sprite, while additional hits add to the number of tasks the sprite owes. A registered sprite will not fade away after 8 hours, but will remain available to the technomancer until all of its tasks are used. A technomancer may have a number of registered sprites equal to his Charisma. Any attempt to register a sprite beyond this maximum automatically fails.
Registered sprites do not need to remain in the technomancer’s presence; they may be placed on standby, fading away into the Matrix, until the technomancer calls them back again (each taking a Simple Action). Registered sprites may be a drain on the technomancer’s mental resources, if the gamemaster chooses, in the same way as bound spirits might affect a magician (see Bound Spirits, p. 178).
In addition to the standard tasks for which a sprite can be used, registered sprites can be used for the following:
Remote Tasks: Registered sprites conduct remote tasks just like unregistered sprites, but the sprite does not dissipate after 8 hours and so can continue on for some time. A registered sprite that still owes tasks will go on standby when it finishes its remote task, unless specifically instructed otherwise.
Loaned Tasks: A registered sprite can be ordered to obey the orders of another character (technomancer or not). The technomancer effectively grants one or more of the owed tasks to the other character. Naturally, a non-technomancer cannot use a sprite to learn, thread, or sustain complex forms, but any other task may be demanded from the sprite. Sprites loaned out to others will still obey the technomancer over the other character.
Assist Operation: A registered sprite can add its rating to any single complex form used by the technomancer. This assistance lasts for a maximum number of Combat Turns equal to the sprite’s rating; a Rating 3 sprite, for example, can add 3 dice to the technomancer’s Armor complex form for a maximum of 3 Combat Turns.
Sustain Complex Form: Any complex form threaded by a technomancer may be sustained by a registered sprite instead, so that the technomancer does not suffer the –2 sustaining modifier. One task is used up for each period equal to the sprite’s rating in Combat Turns that it sustains the complex form. A Rating 4 sprite that owes two tasks, for example, can only sustain a threaded complex form for 8 Combat Turns. The technomancer can take over sustaining the complex form as the sprite finishes this task (or at any time). If the sprite is destroyed in cybercombat, the sustained complex form ends.
Aid Study: Registered sprites can provide extra dice to help the technomancer learn new complex forms at the cost of one task. The sprite adds its rating in dice to the Extended Learning Test (see Learning Complex Forms, p. 233).
A technomancer can re-register a registered sprite, repeating the procedure in order to obtain additional tasks from the sprite. The process is the same, except that each hit (not just each past the first) adds another owed task, and the sprite cannot go uncontrolled.
Similar to spirits, most sprites resent an attempt by a technomancer to script it and force it into long-term servitude. If during the registering procedure the technomancer is knocked out from Fading or rolls a critical glitch, the sprite goes uncontrolled in the same manner as an uncontrolled spirit (p. 180). An uncontrolled sprite owes no further tasks to the technomancer. Though sprites are not (usually) as vengeful as spirits and will not attempt to kill the technomancer who tried to register them, they do tend to have a mischievous streak and will take the opportunity to wreak whatever havoc they can.
A technomancer can attempt to decompile a sprite (whether his or not), converting it back to the bits and bytes from which it was formed. Decompiling is an Opposed Test. The technomancer rolls Software + Decompiling versus the targets sprite’s rating (+ its compiler’s Resonance if registered). If the decompiling technomancer wins, reduce the tasks owed by the sprite (including those it is currently completing) by 1 per net hit. If the sprite’s tasks are reduced to 0, it will de-rez on its next action. Any technomancer on hand may attempt to compile it again before it leaves, bringing it back under their control. Whether he wins or loses, the decompiling technomancer must resist Fading as if he compiled the sprite.
Types of SpritesEdytuj
Sprites are sentient Matrix entities that come in several different forms. Each sprite has the powers below as appropriate to its type. A sprite has one optional power for every 3 full rating points, chosen by the technomancer when the sprite is compiled. All skills and complex forms are possessed at a rating equal to the sprite’s rating. Technomancers may compile any of the five types of sprites noted below.
These sprites are messengers and trackers, good for securely conveying important data through the Matrix. Pilot Response Firewall Matrix INIT IP R R + 1 R + 1 R x 3 3 Skills: Computer, Data Search, Hacking Complex Forms: Analyze, Encrypt, Stealth, Track, Transfer Powers: Cookie, Hash Optional CFs: Browse, Command, Decrypt, Exploit, Scan
Crack sprites are masters at finding programming flaws and exploits. They are useful as hacking aids. Pilot Response Firewall Matrix INIT IP R R + 1 R R x 3 3 Skills: Cybercombat, Electronic Warfare, Hacking Complex Forms: Analyze, Exploit, Stealth Powers: Suppression Optional CFs: Decrypt, Defuse, Edit, Scan, Spoof
Data sprites excel at finding and manipulating information. They make excellent searchbots and librarians. Pilot Response Firewall Matrix INIT IP R R R – 2 R x 2 3 Skills: Computer, Data Search, Decrypt Complex Forms: Browse, Edit, Transfer Powers: Steganography, Watermark Optional CFs: Defuse, Encrypt, Sniffer, Stealth, any linguasoft (see p. 321)
Fault sprites are designed to instill code errors and cause programs to fail. Pilot Response Firewall Matrix INIT IP R R + 2 R + 1 R x 3 3 Skills: Cybercombat, Hacking Complex Forms: Armor, Attack, Stealth Powers: Electron Storm Optional CFs: Black Hammer, Blackout, Exploit, Medic
Machine sprites are adept at manipulating devices. Of all sprites, they are the most likely to actually interact with the physical world via a device. Pilot Response Firewall Matrix INIT IP R R R + 2 R x 2 3 Skills: Computer, Electronic Warfare, Hardware Complex Forms: Command Powers: Diagnostics, Gremlins, Stability Optional CFs: Decrypt, Edit, Medic, Transfer, any autosoft (p. 239)
The following powers are available only to sprites, as noted in the individual sprite descriptions.
A sprite uses its cookie power to “tag” a target icon with a hidden piece of code that can be used to track the icon’s Matrix activities. The sprite must successfully beat the target in an Opposed Test between the sprite’s rating x 2 vs. the target’s Firewall + Stealth. If the sprite succeeds, the cookie code is embedded in the icon and will log each node the icon accesses, the details of any communications the icon engages in (who with and when, but not the actual contents), any programs the icon launches/interacts with, and so on. Use the net hits to benchmark the depth of the data the cookie accumulates (1 hit = bare outline, 4+ = detailed report). The cookie will end at a period ode (the sprite or the technomancer). Cookies may be detected with a Matrix Perception (4) Test and removed with a Computer + Edit (2) Test once identified.
The Diagnostics power allows the sprite to evaluate the inner workings of an electronic device. The sprite must be accessing the device in question. The sprite can then convey this information and assist someone using or repairing the device. Make a sprite rating x 2 test; each hit adds 1 die to the character’s test to use or repair the item.
This attack allows the sprite to engulf a target icon in a sustained barrage of corrupting signals. The sprite must first successfully hit the target in cybercombat; the sprite then swallows the target in a hail of digital pulses. With the first attack and each time the sprite gets an action, it inflicts (rating) DV damage with an AP of –2, resisted as normal. While engulfed, the target suffers a –2 dice pool modifier on all Matrix actions. The target may break free of the electron storm by taking a Complex Action and beating the sprite in an Opposed Response x 2 Test.
This power causes a device to mysteriously malfunction, or operate in some (detrimental) manner outside of its usual parameters. The sprite must be inside the device, or in another node to which the device is subscribed. Make an Opposed Test between the sprite’s rating x 2 and the device’s System + Firewall (or just Device rating x 2). If the sprite wins, the device suffers a glitch (see p. 55). The gamemaster chooses a malfunction appropriate to the device and situation, such as a jammed control, a looped signal, or a faulty reading. If the sprite scores 4 net hits, treat it as a critical glitch—the device crashes, burns out, or jolts its user with an electrical shock. If used against a drone or vehicle, this power can force the driver to make a Crash Test. The sprite’s rating serves as a negative dice pool modifier to the test.
The Hash power allows the sprite to temporarily encrypt a file with a unique Resonance algorithm, in such a way that only the sprite can decrypt it. The sprite must remain in the hashed file’s node; if it leaves, the file reverts to normal. If the sprite is killed, however, the hashed file is permanently corrupted and becomes worthless. Courier sprites often hash files that they are entrusted with, decrypting them once they have safely reached their destination.
The sprite can conceal a file or piece of data within a node in such a way as to make it invisible to searches and data mining. Data obfuscated this way is often hidden inside other items of seemingly irrelevant information. Concealed files cannot be found by standard searching. A Matrix Perception (4) Test is required to detect an obfuscated file within another file.
A sprite can use this power on the node it is in, or on any particular device, program, or icon. Stability prevents normal malfunctions or accidents from afflicting the target (both standard glitches and those induced by the Gremlins or Accident powers). Stability reduces a critical glitch to a standard glitch.
The sprite has an innate ability to confuse firewalls that detect the sprite engaging in illegitimate activity. Any time the sprite triggers an alert, the alert is delayed for (rating ÷ 2, round up) Combat Turns.
The sprite can “tag” a Matrix object or piece of data with an invisible marking that only Resonance-driven entities can see, just like a Matrix signature. This allows the sprite to secretly leave messages within the Matrix or otherwise mark Matrix objects.