Hacking Cogitator Network Rules
Deemed illegal in all regions of the Imperium but heretical in the eyes of the Mechanicus, Cogitator Hacking is the practice of breaching a cogitators networks through bypassing security features without legal permissions in order to alter, steal, destroy, or sabotage the machine spirits within. Hacking can be performed by anyone with training in Tech-Use, Forbidden Lore (Adeptus Mechanicus), and Logic. By linking the personal cogitator to another via cable ports or wirelessly the hacker attempts to use his knowledge of cogitator systems to intrude another. This can be done in either of two ways. The first, and most common is called “Runeclipping” and involves the use of a terminal interface in the form of a keyboard and visual display. An extremely inefficient means to hack a system it suffers a -20 to all Operation attempts.
The other option, known as “Communing” involves complete immersion into the cogitator systems via an MIU interface. This sort of link creates an almost complete virtual experience, allowing the user to interface with other cogitator systems through a virtually generated landscape where iconic symbols are used to represent network components. This sort of interface is commonly in use by Mechanicus priests and helps to improve the purity of communication between the priest and the machine spirits.
In both methods a Tech-Use roll is required in order to effectively access any cogitator system or its network. In either case, preliminary sacraments and prayers must be performed prior to making the attempt. Runeclipping is a slower method, and typically safer, requiring only sitting at a terminal that is connected to a given network that the Runeclipper wished to access. All Runeclipping takes the standard time requirements for completing their objective. Communing with a cogitator spirit is a far more complex matter, but one that is far more efficient than the slower method of Runeclipping. Being completely immersed into a cogitator network is a complete sensory experience. The Coummuner manifests into a virtual world called the Omniverse, the domain of the Omnissiah. All data within the Omniverse is given personas, avatars, and any modelled representations that the Cogitator has created in conjunction with the programming of the facilitating tech-priests. Through a full MIU interface the Communer flies through the Omniverse at speeds many times that of a Runeclipper that is tapping away at keyboard runes, staring at monitors with slow refresh and load rates.
In game terms a player that is Communing performs the safe functions as a Runeclipper but at half the time required and at -10 to all tests within the Omniverse. The unfortunate side to the improved speed of a Communer is that security protocols can lock them out of a system, trigger passive or active alerts, or harm them physically byattacking their nervous system through the MIU interface. Other MIU Communers may also be present within the Omniverse and may attack others that are identified as threats. Runeclippers on the other hand can only be locked out of a system if they foul up, likely setting off alarms.
For both Runeclipping and Communing use the following steps.
1. Perform initial rituals by performing the proper prayers as you connect your cogitator to another (Roll vs. Forbidden Lore (Adeptus Mechanicus)).
2. Connect systems, merge with the machine spirit (Tech Use) (MIU Interface only).
3. Mask your persona (Contested Logic roll vs. Cogitator system).
4. Perform Operations.
5. Disconnect from the Omniverse cleanly.
Perform Initial Rituals
Whenever you wish to begin a hacking session you will need to know the proper prayers and phrases in order to prepare yourself and the cogitators for connection. These ancient rituals are coveted practices typically reserved for the priests of the machine god but a clever rogue can learn them as well. Players will need to make a Forbidden Lore roll (Adeptus Mechanicus) modified only by situational influences such as fatigue, a wounded hand etc… Failure to make the test does not prevent access but will increase all Operation tests by -10 per degree of failure up to a limit of -30.
During the praying and chanting from the first step, the player must roll against Tech-Use to correctly connect to the system via the MIU interface. This is a very particular process that requires calibrating the players’ personal cogitator precisely. Failure prevents access, but will not setoff any alarms. The hacker then attempts to navigate into the system by breaching its external defenses by making a contested Logic vs. System Intelligence roll. The player may make any number of access attempts but the GM will have a preset number of attempts that the system allows for before an alarm is triggered and a trace performed, the system will also not be accessible though the hacker will not realize this. The hacker may attempt to determine the limit of failures by spending a Fate Point to reflect the immense difficulty in determining the networks internal operations before even having access to it.
The persona is your “footprint” within the Omniverse. As you perform Operations within the Omniverses’ networks the various systems keep records of your activities which are logged into a database later reference. Masking your persona helps to eliminate signs of your passage. Much like stealth you make a Logic roll and any attempts from other users trying to track your activities will need to contest your result. A new roll will be required for each new Operation you perform within a given cogitator network.
While within a system you may perform any of the following Operations. Typical Operations will take a base amount of time depended on if the hacker is Runeclipping or Communing. All actions within a network while Runeclipping are considered extended actions requiring at least twenty minutes with any degree of success reducing the time by one minute to a minimum of ten. For Communers the time is greatly reduced and operates in Structured Time with each action being performed within three Full Actions with every degree of success reducing the time by a half to a minimum of a Half Action. During the time in which a PC is Communing with a cogitator he will be unaware of what is transpiring in the outside world. If another player has a pict-recorder or Vox communicator the Communer can maintain a feed that allows them to observe what is going on. This can also be done through one servitor that is linked to the Communer. If the Communer has multiple servitors he will only be able to maintain a single feed at a time but may switch between them, giving each a commands. A Skull Servitor can assist a hacker as well offering a +10 to performing any Operations if it is also linked into the Communer or Runeclippers personal cogitator. Please note that all Operations are limited to a minimum or maximum modifier of +60 or -60. Also, if a hacker possesses the proper security “passwords” to perform any Operation he automatically succeeds.
Access Data-Vault: Any attempts at accessing any data not open and available to any user requires a Logic roll against the Systems Intelligence to successfully gain access to it modified by any additional security features.
Re-Program Network Protocols: A cogitator may alter the commands of external, automated features (Sub-Routines) such as a buildings proximity alarm systems, pict-recorder feeds, magnetically sealed bulkhead doors, lighting grids, power modulators, etc… This is not the same as taking control of the Sub-Routine, instead it simply alters its normal functions. For example, a security motion sensing turret is designed to go off if a target enters a proximity of 20 meters. A successful Re-Program Network Protocol roll would allow the hacker to alter it to another proximity range, or change it from firing upon unrecognized personnel to any personnel. For each Protocol a hacker can attempt to modify or stop the commands. Test against Logic vs. System Intelligence modified by the complexity of the modifications.
Manipulate a Data Vault: Once access to a Data Vault is made a hacker can make an attempt at altering the data, downloading it, transferring it to another network, or erasing it. Test Logic vs. System Intelligence modified by complexity of the data.
Perform an Inquiry: A hacker seeking any information that is contained within a network may do so by performing a search inquiry. Knowing how best to present the inquiry determines the quality of the results of the search. Test Logic vs. System Intelligence, modifier will vary depending on the inquiry statement.
Terminate a Machine Spirit: In essence this is crashing the system. By corrupting the coding of the machine spirit it eventually shuts down until it can be restored and repaired, if at all. All systems related to the network stop functioning completely. Test Logic vs. System Intelligence +60. Recovering a terminated machine spirit requires a contested Logic modified by the total degrees of success by which the crash was made.
Seize Control of a Sub-Routine: This operation allows the hacker to maintain control of a sub-routine personally. Thus, if a hacker wished to maintain control of an elevator to force the occupants onto a specific floor he could do so. During this time the hacker must maintain observation of the controlled sub-routine. A hacker can control a number of sub-routines equal to his Intelligence Bonus. Test Logic vs. System Intelligence modified by complexity of the sub-routine.
Install an Observer: A hacker may choose to simply place a machine spirit within a system to observe it so that the hacker may observe it at his leisure. An Observer could be positioned to take record of anyone accessing the system, it could record information about a sub-routines patterns and activities, or it can trace anyone that accesses the system that meets a specific criteria. Test Logic vs. either the contested score of the System s Intelligence to place an observer. In the case of a trace the Observer uses the Logic Score of its master vs. the Mask rating of the trace source.
Perform a Lockout: Hackers may lockout other personas within a system effectively kicking them out of the network and keeping treating them as an intruder. Contested Tests vs. Logic.
Personal Cogitator Qualities
All personal cogitators have varying levels of quality. Normal does not apply any negative or positive modifiers. Best Quality provides a +10 to performing any operation and successful lock out attempts cause 1d5 Insanity loss to the target if they are connected via MIU, +1 per additional degree of success. Best quality offer +10 to perform any operation and successful lockout attempts cause 1d5 Insanity and 1d10 Stun to the target MIU user with a +1 to Insanity and Stun Damage per degree of success. Best Quality personal cogitators also provide an additional sub-routine operation.
Each cogitator system is set up with a variety of defenses. Each cogitator network also possesses its own level of intelligence that serves as its skill value in attempts towards contesting intruder actions. A cogitators defenses come in three types: Check Points, Lock Outs, and Attack Protocols. The GM should establish the Intelligence of a system with a range from 20 to 60. A system of 20 Intelligence would be a simple home system that operates automated light and window, while a 60 would be state of the art networks suitable to high security Adeptus networks.
Check Points: These are any areas within the Omniverse requiring passcodes to access; every essential operation is contained behind a Check Point. Failure by two degrees elicits an alarm that notifies relevant personnel, Three degrees will additionally bring Attack Protocols; While Four degrees will also cause a permanent lockout from the desired operation, while six or more will cause an immediate lockout from the system immediately causing 1d10+System Intelligence Bonus in Stun damage and 1d5+System Intelligence Bonus in Insanity. In all cases of failure three degrees or more a trace is attempted by the system to locate the physical point of the intruder, test System Intelligence modified by user Mask rating.
Lockouts: Systems that successfully lockout an intruder may cause effects similar to those of a Best Quality cogitator.
Attack Protocols: Security machine spirits will intercept the invading hacker and lock him out of the network. Each Attack Protocol operates as a persona with all relevant skills equal to the Systems Intelligence. A given network may only have one Attack Protocol per Intelligence Bonus of the System. An Attack Protocol will move to intercept intruder or maintain its position dependent on its programming. Typically, an Attack Protocol will be assigned to the task when its particular area is not threatened and has at least a single choke point in place to protect its designated zone while it is gone. Movement it this regard is a full action per zone it needs to pass through.
Cogitator System Maps
It’s easiest for the GM to create a physical map of a network that will always consist of at least one Data-Vault and a Sub-Routine. Complex systems may have multiple data-vaults and choke points.
Adeptus Administratum Officio Network
System Intelligence: 40
Attack Protocols: 4/4