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Shadows over Baltimore

Matrix Combat

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Whether you run afoul of Matrix gangers or trigger an intruder alert and sic IC or a security hacker on your tail, cybercombat will inevitably ensue. Cybercombat can take place separately from, or concurrent, with actions in the real world. Cybercombat follows the same procedure as other combat. Cybercombat occurs in real time, so it follows the same three-second Combat Turn.


Matrix Initiative

If cybercombat is occurring at the same time as RL combat, Matrix combat Initiative and actions should be integrated with the RL action. Nothing thrills a hacker like cracking open a secure network while his shadowrunner comrades blast away at security guards all around him.


Augmented Initiative

If you’re using augmented reality, you’re acting at regular meat-body speeds—use your physical Reaction and Initiative as normal (see Initiative). You can choose between interacting with the physical world or the augmented world (the Matrix) with each action.


Virtual Initiative

If you’re operating in cold sim virtual reality, your Matrix Initiative equals your commlink’s Response + your own Intuition attribute. You also get an extra Initiative Pass (two total).

If you’re running with hot sim in virtual reality mode, your Matrix Initiative equals your commlink’s Response + your own Intuition attribute + 1. You get two extra Initiative Passes (three total).


Though Matrix Initiative is concurrent with physical Initiative, any actions you take using your Matrix Initiative can

only affect other things in the Matrix, unless you’re rigging (see Rigging and Drones) and interacting with the  physical world through a device. If you want to interact with the physical world rather than the VR Matrix, you need to either go offline or concentrate on your meat body and spend a turn using physical Initiative (with a hefty –4 dice pool modifier because you’re still bombarded with VR signals).


Agent, IC, and Sprite Initiative

Agents, IC, and sprites have an Initiative equal to Pilot + Response. Because they act at digital speeds, they receive two extra Initiative Passes (three total).


Matrix Attacks

Icons assault each other in cybercombat by spending an Attack Complex Action to target another icon with a hostile program, such as Attack, Black Hammer, or Blackout. To attack another icon, make an Opposed Test. Hackers attack using Cybercombat skill + attack program rating. Agents, IC, and sprites attack using their rating + attack program rating. The defending icon rolls Response + Firewall. If the attacker scores more hits, the attack succeeds—note the net hits. Otherwise the attack fails.


Matrix Full Defense

You can spend a Complex Action during cybercombat to go on “full defense,” same as with regular combat (see Full Defense). When defending with Matrix Full Defense, add your Hacking skill to the defense roll. IC, agents, and sprites add their rating when they go on full defense.


Matrix Damage

The Matrix damage inflicted by a program is equal to its rating in boxes. So an Attack 4 program has a base Damage Value of 4. Net hits scored on the attack test are added to the DV. Note that Attack programs just inflict Matrix damage to the target icon. Black IC programs attack users through their simsense link, however, so they inflict damage directly to the user’s Stun or Physical Condition Monitor. Black IC programs also have other effects, noted under Black IC Attacks, below.


Damage Resistance

Matrix damage to an icon from an Attack program is resisted with a System + Armor program Test. Damage from a Black IC attack is resisted with Willpower + Biofeedback Filter. Deduct each hit scored on this test from the modified Damage Value; any DV left over is applied to the target’s Matrix Condition Monitor.


Matrix Condition Monitor

The Matrix Condition Monitor measures the amount of Matrix damage an icon can take. This Condition Monitor has a number of boxes equal to 8 + (System 2, rounded up). When all the boxes on the Matrix Condition Monitor

fill up, an icon crashes. If your persona icon crashes, you are immediately disconnected from the Matrix. If you were operating with a VR interface, you suffer dumpshock when this happens.



Anyone who is dumped from the VR Matrix suffers a nasty system shock. The base Damage Value for dumpshock is 5S for cold sim users, 5P for hot sim users. Resist dumpshock damage with Willpower + Biofeedback filter rating.

If you are dumpshocked, you will also suffer disorientation in addition to the damage. For (10 – Willpower) minutes you will suffer a –2 dice pool modifier on all actions.


Black IC Attacks

Black Hammer and Blackout are programmed to create dangerous biofeedback at BTL overdose intensity to VR users. In order to maximize the effect, they also subvert the sim interface and jam the connection open, making it impossible for the user to log off and difficult to jack out. Once Black IC is used to make a successful attack on

the target (even if the hit does no damage), his connection is jammed open and he cannot log off that node until the

Black IC is crashed. Any attempt by the user to jack out takes a Complex Action. In addition, the user must engage the program in an Opposed (Willpower + Biofeedback Filter) vs. (Black IC rating + Response) Test. If the Black IC scores more hits, it prevents the user from jacking out. Users who jack out immediately suffer dumpshock.


If Black IC fills the character’s Condition Monitor and knocks him unconscious, it keeps the connection open. At this point, the system security may leisurely trace the user’s connection. It is common practice to delete any data the hacker may have stolen off his commlink, or send a security hacker to search the victim’s node for evidence. Damage from Blackout will not overflow into the Physical Condition Monitor; it stops inflicting damage after rendering the target unconscious. Black Hammer overflows the Condition Monitor just like other damage. Overflow Physical damage represents increased levels of brain damage. At the gamemaster’s discretion, if the user survives the experience, he may suffer aftereffects such as neurological damage that produc es memory lapses,  hallucinations, tremors, phantom pain, migraines, or similar conditions.


Simultaneous Combat In Multiple Nodes

It is possible that an unfortunate hacker who is accessing multiple nodes simultaneously may come under attack in different nodes at once. In this case, the hacker merely rolls Initiative once—it applies for all concurrent combats. The hacker can also only focus his attention on one combat at a time, and must designate which at the start of each Initiative Pass. For the rest of the pass, he cannot defend against attacks made against his persona in the other combat(s). If he goes on full defense, those bonuses only apply to the combat he is focused on at the time.


Also keep in mind that any Matrix damage inflicted in one combat affects his persona in all combats.

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